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_President Trump is visiting the border and bringing with him a dark cloud of self-made disasters for communities, economies, asylum-seekers and our region; see our statement here.
_SBCC Co-Chair Johana Bencomo of Comunidades en Acción y de Fé New Mexico eloquently states how decisions about how to deploy resources humanely cannot be left in the hands of CBP because the agency’s culture is rooted in impunity and violence.
_Dear reporters, you don’t need a flak jacket when visiting our safest-in-the-nation border communities, “Because. The. Border. Is. Not. A. War. Zone.”
_SBCC steering committee member Christina Patiño Houle of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voices Network notes how the upcoming 2020 Census is an opportunity for border voices to be heard.
_Watch this powerful short video about the construction currently underway through critical wildlife habitat in South Texas.
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_King of Fools. Frankly, for border communities we’ve been subject to the folly of the King of Fools himself this week, with President Trump making (then walking back from) threats to shut the U.S.-Mexico border completely, to cutting aid dollars to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, to a false characterization of the border as a category 5 hurricane. Wait, what? This downward spiraling rhetoric can only be trusted by, um, fools? It also seems half-baked because a complete border shutdown would be a catastrophic event for the U.S. economy and cutting aid would make the situation for refugees from the Northern Triangle of Central America a million times worse. Thankfully, after much pushback and input, including from leadership on his side of the aisle, Trump backed off of the idea to shut down the border, but then made a laughable suggestion that he would give Mexico one year to solve the problem or else the U.S. would impose tariffs. ‘Cuz that just makes a lot of sense??? Let’s just hope he also backs off the threat of cutting off aid to the Northern Triangle.
_Spending folly. So, seriously, how does the administration justify plundering congressionally appropriated military funds to build a senseless and harmful wall? This article notes how top brass in the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Armed Services committee have no reservation to call this diversion a foolish idea because it will deeply affect “readiness.” Pound foolish? Meanwhile, we joined the ACLU and the Sierra Club to file a preliminary injunction against the government to stop this unilateral power grab. Our joint statement can be found here and this story quotes yours truly. It is the nature of every person to error, but only the fool perseveres in error_Cicero.
_Not funny. Trumptator and his cast of characters continue to layer on the false narrative about a border crisis_not just to get more dollars for border wall and militarization, but to also eviscerate two significantly important laws that are crucial for protecting immigrant children: (1) the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) for Unaccompanied Children and (2) the Flores Settlement Agreement. By claiming that these are contributing to the humanitarian crisis at the border, Trump is demanding Congress pass laws that eliminate these key protections. While this might make sense on the surface_thanks to orchestrated, small-violin histrionics_here is what they are really asking for: permission to lock up children longer than 20 days (one day would be one too many) and to be able to quickly deport children to countries further away than Mexico and Canada, robbing their due process right for a hearing. A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees_William Blake.
_Free speech woes. The University of Arizona police filed misdemeanor charges against three students who protested the presence of Border Patrol agents on campus, sparking a free speech controversy. In solidarity, Arizona State University followed suit by protesting Border Patrol agents on their campus. We don’t think that chanting “murder patrol” is as offensive as the fact that since 2010 more than 80 people have died at the hands of Border Patrol agents_without a single agent held accountable_including in the tragic killing of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez (¡Presente!). This OpEd might shed light on why students might be upset at seeing armed and uniformed Border Patrol agents on campus and why these charges should be dropped. If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear_George Orwell.
_Help us stop this fooling around. DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen sent a letter to Congress asking for immediate action to address a “dire situation” at the border, including new authority to immediately deport unaccompanied minors back to their home countries. Please help us push back against supplemental funding for an already over-resourced agency and against legislation to terminate protections for unaccompanied children and families. Call your congressional members now and tell them DHS has more than enough funding to address the humanitarian needs at the border_they’re just not prioritizing these funds wisely. Congress must uphold our values and defend the critical protections enshrined in the bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) and the Flores Settlement Agreement.
border_lines is published every Friday for your reading pleasure. If you’d like to submit an item for inclusion, please email Vicki B. Gaubeca at [email protected], by Wednesday COB.