_For more than a decade, border walls have caused (and will continue to cause) harmful flooding, jeopardizing border communities and wildlife alike.
_Instead of wasting billions on a wall, we could restore borderlands harmed by drought related to global warming (and help save the planet) by using taxpayer's money on a small but innovative fix like this.
_Read this statement from senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that takes Department of State Secretary Mike Pompeo to task for diverting millions of dollars allocated to foreign assistance to pay Mexico to deport migrants to third countries. Seriously?
_Be sure to watch DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s testimony in the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee annual hearing on so-called “Threats to the Homeland,” next Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 8:30 a.m. EST, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, SD-342 (or view the livestream).
_Let the cameras roll! We’d like to thank Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Filemon Vela (D-TX) for advancing an important tool to strengthen accountability and oversight over border and immigration enforcement agencies by introducing a bicameral bill that would require the use of body-worn cameras by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. The bill_which was the result of years of our advocacy_also requires DHS to develop policies that protect privacy and store videos adequately. Body-worn cameras are considered a best practice among law enforcement that can help lower the number of use-of-force incidents, as well as reduce the number of complaints against officers, increase transparency, and provide supplemental evidence in criminal cases. If passed, the bill would expand the body-worn camera program for CBP, and begin a pilot program at ICE. For a PDF of the bill language and a summary of S. 3538 and H.R.7028, go here. Our statement can be found here. We also add our kudos to Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) for introducing a similar bill in March 2017. Picture perfect anyone?
_A royal mess-up. An internal, independent investigative agency of the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), issued a report that clearly showed the royal mess-up of Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, which resulted in children being torn away from their parents. The DHS OIG found that, while DHS knew full well the consequences of this policy, there was absolutely no plan to reunite kids with their parents. Although DHS said they had a “central database” of separated parents and children, the OIG found that there was no such tracking mechanism in place. In some cases, DHS officials avoided reuniting some family members because they didn’t want to do the extra paperwork. Border Patrol jailed about 35% of separated children for more than 3 days in holding cells that have no bed, no medical services, are freezing cold and have lights on 24/7. One child spent 25 days (!!!) in a Border Patrol holding cell without a bed_way more than the allowable 72 hours. Small, non-verbal children were also not given wristbands to help officials later identify them with their parents and ICE failed to reunite parents with their kids before deporting them. CBP also blocked asylum seekers at ports of entry, forcing some of them to cross in more remote, riskier areas. How messed up can this get?
_ICYMI: In a spectacularly quiet fashion, Congress passed (and President Trump signed) a Fiscal Year 2019 budget that included a new budget for five government agencies and a continuing resolution that will keep spending levels the same as 2018 for seven agencies_including for the Department of Homeland Security_until Dec. 7. So, now what? In short, this maneuver postponed the debate on controversial items until after the midterm elections, including the one around funding Trump’s vanity border wall. Right after Nov. 6, regardless of the outcome, we’re fully expecting the conversation to turn to a wall funding battle. We’re ready. And we’re especially ready to show just how destructive, harmful and dumb the idea of any more wall is to border communities, our environment, and our wildlife. So, bring it.
_Sign and circulate our petition. Help support the use of body-worn cameras by ICE and CBP agents by signing our petition and by calling your congressional members and asking them to co-sponsor the bill. #HoldCBPaccountable #RevitalizeNotMilitarize
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.