Love in the time of COVID-19

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_SBCC co-chair Johana Bencomo of New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (CAFé) advocated for the City of Las Cruces to provide much-needed assistance to vulnerable immigrant families who were excluded from the most recent federal COVID-19 response funding package to help cover rent/mortgage payments, utilities, and food delivery services, among other items.

_SBCC steering committee member Lilian Serrano of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium talks about the urgent need that inspired the launch of a relief fund for immigrant families in San Diego during the pandemic; please consider donating here.

_SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee expressed concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus in three San Diego area migrant youth shelters.

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_Love in the Time of COVID-19. During these harrowing times of a global health pandemic, our response should be more love for one another_not more hate_and especially as we work to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus and support families reeling from the economic impact of this pandemic. This is why border communities are alarmed by the Trump administration’s persistence on cruel, anti-immigrant policies. Instead of following a comprehensive and compassionate approach (and one that makes public health sense), Trump is putting the lives of millions at even greater risk as he continues to build more miles of his vanity wall, deploy more troops, and operate interior checkpoints, forcing families across the southern border to make the impossible choice between accessing crucial healthcare or getting deported (see map with checkpoints and hospital locations). We issued this statement to name all of our concerns, as well as our recommendations to immediately halt enforcement activities in the border region that put everyone at greater risk, including closing Border Patrol checkpoints far from the actual border to ensure our communities have access to adequate health care services should they need to leave their homes. “Where there is love, there is no darkness” _ Burundian proverb

_Wall = Public Health Threat. Trump is wrongly speeding up wall construction along the border--claiming falsely that a wall will help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. We’re not falling for it. We know the real reason is to selfishly fulfill a campaign promise before the November elections. More importantly, he is placing our communities and workers alike at risk when his administration refuses to cease the construction of the wall. Arizona border communities are concerned the construction will speed up contagion in their communities as hundreds of out-of-state construction workers descend on their small communities, staying in their few rural hotels and violating the “stay at home” directive by gathering in large groups_which prompted public health specialist Gail Emrick to write an OpEd calling for a halt of border wall construction. New Mexico communities, like the small community of Columbus, New Mexico, are concerned for similar reasons. As SBCC steering committee member Kevin Bixby of the Southwest Environmental Center noted, “This is unconscionable. We should use the billions of dollars for medical devices like ventilators, not to build a wall.”  Meanwhile residents in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas, worry about surveyors entering their private property in the middle of a pandemic. We clearly didn’t need yet another reason_on top of the harms to our environment and wildlife_to stop this dumb and lethal border wall, but here we are. Members of Congress are speaking out too.  Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and fellow House Armed Services Committee members have called for a halt to wall construction and to instead focus resources on the immediate needs of health and safety.  What is it going to take to put a stop to this now ridiculous public health threat?

_Expulsion Revulsion. Not only is Trump completely disregarding the public health harms caused by his cruelty against immigrants and their families, his administration is engaging in a new revolting process of rapid expulsions where people, including asylum seekers and children, apprehended by Border Patrol are “expelled” to Mexico hours later_blocking any access to the legal process to request asylum and ignoring safeguards set forth for unaccompanied children under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). (Wait, in a former age, wasn’t that the so-called “catch-and-release” practices conservatives loathed? . . .  Just saying.) This new practice is not only reprehensible, it violates our country’s asylum laws. Making matters worse, court dates under the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols have been postponed, making almost 60,000 people wait even longer in Mexico in untenable situations. To better understand the plight of asylum seekers, check out The Way of the Asylum, a community experience of artistic compassion and empathy that aims to open and move hearts and inspire people to act in the name of justice during Easter. Love in any faith. That’s what it’s about.


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


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