_Our deadly border policies killed a baby and a teenager this week —a toddler's body was found and three people, including two children, are still missing after a raft carrying nine people capsized while crossing the Rio Grande river near Del Rio, TX, an area of the river swollen with spring runoff.
_SBCC steering committee member Kevin Bixby of the Southwest Environmental Center invites you to attend “The Face of Climate Change,” a photographic exhibition at the Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico, taking place May 1 through June 14.
_SBCC steering committee proxy Amanda Munro of the Southwest Environmental Center in New Mexico notes how Homeland Security’s unilateral waiving of laws that are intended to protect the environment, health, and historical treasures of border regions is a singularly bad idea.
_Myopia dystopia. Just when you think we can’t possibly get any lower in the downward spiral towards a myopic dystopia, we witnessed this week a $4.5 billion supplemental funding request for fiscal year 2019 from the White House that was blurred in its vision, if not downright blind. The request included $3.3 billion to Health and Human Services to increase capacity of shelters for unaccompanied minors to 23,600 beds, $1.1·billion for “border operations,” and $178 million to deploy more military to the border and increase prosecutions of migrants crossing between ports of entry. We joined the Defund Hate campaign in rejecting the request. Instead of providing a common-sense, orderly and humane response that would address the root causes of why folks are coming to our border to seek protections, Trump made a short-sighted request that will result in, para variar, only exacerbating the situation and make children and families suffer more. Worse, the administration is portraying this request as a humanitarian response when only a teeny amount of it ($10 million) will go to providing food, shelter, clothes, diapers, baby formula, blankets, and showers. Double-speak, anyone? Jumping on the double-speak bandwagon are Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Henry Cuellar with their introduction of the so-called Humane Act, which does nothing of the sort because it would inhumanely eviscerate laws meant to protect children from the damaging effects of detention. Maybe we should again flag Rep. Cuellar’s possible motives. Shameless.
_Humanitarian blindspot. The $1.1 billion supplemental request for Department of Homeland Security “border operations” would be used for new tent cities, makeshift facilities, and detention beds that will jail children and families together (as if this were a good thing); a pilot program to convert Border Patrol agents into asylum officers (the equivalent of training wolves to guard sheep); new retention bonuses for Border Patrol agents; and funding to continue to ramp up deportations. It would also include more taxpayer dollars to the Department of Justice to further criminalize migration and to the Department of Defense to further militarize our border communities. For reals,THIS is what is being qualified as a humanitarian response? Why not dedicate instead the $1.1 billion to all the amazing community-based non-profit orgs in southern border states that have been shouldering the responsibility of caring for asylum seekers released into the community and making sure they get to their loved ones and friends while they await their court hearings? An even better idea would be to take the billions that Trump is wasting on a harmful border wall and give that money to those community-based organizations. Oh, wait, that would make too much sense, right?
_Robbing Peter to pay Paul and Joe and ??? Talk about some real loopholes, Trump is taking “fool” advantage of the fact that there is no one at the helm at the Department of Defense (DoD), so he can pilfer military accounts to build a dangerous and harmful wall. But, get this, he’s now behind a Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget request, that asks $7.2 billion in military construction funding that would “backfill” the $3.6 billion stolen from military programs as the result of the fake emergency declaration made in February and add another $3.6 billion to fund additional miles of border wall built by the military, all while circumventing congressional approval and limitations placed on the construction of more border wall. Wait, isn’t that a bit like a military dictatorship? Congress should respond with a resounding “no.”
_Zero heart. Trump again hacked away at current asylum laws when he issued a memo that heartlessly proposes charging asylum applicants for the privilege of asking for protection and limiting their ability to get a job while they wait for months, possibly years, for their immigration court proceedings. These proposed changes would literally endanger the lives of asylum seekers per this analysis by Human Rights First. Furthermore, Trump’s cruel policies are placing the lives of children at risk per this report issued recently by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). It’s gotten so ridiculous that even asylum officers are feeling the pain.
_This land is truly your land. Want a reminder as to why we need to seriously push back against the racist and oppressive vision of Trump’s administration along with a reminder to where we aspire to be? Check out this version of “This Land is Your Land” by Sharon Jones, dance along, and get to sharing the truth about border communities and immigrants with your elected officials. #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 Vicki@alliancesd.org, by Wednesday COB.