Loose Screws

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_Starting April 20, there will be nationwide screenings of The River and the Wall, a film about the human and environmental impacts of the border wall by conservation filmmaker Ben Masters.

_SBCC co-chair Johana Bencomo of Comunidades en Acción y de Fé is featured in this story about how Las Cruces, New Mexico, is caring for families released into their community by Border Patrol.

_SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee spoke about why people from Central America are seeking asylum during a community forum in Ramona, CA.

_We couldn’t agree more with this op-ed written by national ally Marielena Hincapié at the National Immigration Law Center; trading the rights of one group while exposing other groups to harms is a trap that divides and harms our community.

_For some good news, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled against Trump’s 2018 lawsuit against California and upheld Senate Bill 54, also known as the “California Values Act,” which bars local police from helping federal officials in the separation of families in California.


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_Loose screws. Anyone can plainly see that Trump’s cruel and shameful immigration deterrence policies are not working, will never work and, in fact, are only screwing things up even more for everyone. Border crossing wait times have skyrocketed, local businesses on both sides of the border are suffering, the quality of life for border communities is declining thanks to hyper-militarization, and asylum seekers are being held in limbo in Northern Mexico. For example, more than 400 people are waiting in Nogales, Sonora, for weeks, sometimes months, to simply present and make a case at Nogales ports of entry, as noted by SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative. In another disgraceful turn of the screw that adds a fresh layer of misery on the lives of people fleeing violence and poverty, the Trump administration issued an order that makes it even harder for asylum seekers to post bail, increasing their chances for being held indefinitely in immigration detention. And yet, more asylum seekers are continuing to seek safety at our borders. I don’t know about you, but we think it’s time for a new strategy. We need a more holistic approach that better addresses why these folks are coming and a humanitarian response that offers a fair and orderly process for asylum seekers. For example, see Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) recs. Oh, and btw, we also don’t need screwball, gun-toting militia members in our communities thinking they can do a better job of making us feel unsafe. If only we could deport them back to Minnesota.

_No screw left unturned. Abundantly clear this week has been Trump’s penchant for screwy, questionably legal orders that have been thankfully ignored by White House staff, but we can’t really count on DHS officials to do the same thing. We also learned that he may be suffering the delusions of a dictator when he encouraged DHS leadership to break the law while promising a presidential pardon to protect them from serving time in jail, resulting in congressional outrage. Isn’t it obvious by now that Trump may think he’s above the law?

_Detention $$ is the name of the game. Right now, ICE is holding in detention a daily average of nearly 50,000 people when, technically, they have congressional approval to hold only an average of 45,274 people per day in fiscal year 2019. Yet, Congress seems intent on bailing ICE out. Prior to this fiscal year, ICE was only approved to hold an average of 40,520 people per day. To understand why this is happening, read this investigative report here. Now, CBP wants to stand up two tent cities to hold asylum seekers at the southern border. Instead of spending billions of dollars on a harmful wall, why can’t Congress and Trump figure out a way to better invest these taxpayer dollars in a humanitarian response to the families fleeing violence at our southern border? Penny wise, pound foolish?

_No surprise here. We were not surprised to learn this week that the Trump administration has completely ignored input from federal biologists on the harmful effects of a border wall. “Data” is a four-letter word for Trumpologists. In the meantime, if you’re interested in seeing where the government has prioritized harmful and dangerous new border walls, view this map developed by Defenders of Wildlife that illustrates how critical habitat will be affected. In sum, an overall terrible idea.

_Follow the money. Want to learn what corporations are making tons of dinero on the backs of immigrants and border communities? Check out this web site put together by the American Friends Service Committee, one of our member organizations. This story exposes the companies that line their pockets with border wall gold. Is this ‘merica’s new gold rush?

_In-district visits. Here’s a gentle reminder that congressional members are in-district through Friday, April 26. Let us know if you have had a chance to meet with your congressional members to demand a more strategic and compassionate response to the families seeking protections at our border, and to #RevitalizeNotMilitarize our border communities.


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.


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Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.


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