_Before taking Memorial Day recess, 213 House members (23 Republicans and 190 Democrats) signed up for the Queen of the Hill discharge petition that, if passed, would bypass House Speaker Paul Ryan and force a vote on four DACA-related bills_all but one with potentially more border enforcement.
_We’d like to thank the three Texas House Democrats, whose districts are actually on the border, who are refusing to sign on to the Queen of the Hill petition, flagging a well-founded concern the strategy may result in funding for Trump’s vanity border wall.
_SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee was quoted in this heart-wrenching story of CBP arresting and deporting a terminally ill grandfather of U.S. citizens back to China.
_The Border Patrol union has called the deployment of National Guard troops to the border a “colossal waste” of money and we agree_but probably for different reasons.
_It’s happening: Join us at the “All Against the Wall” protest, Saturday, June 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. by emailing Sonya Kumpuckal at our member organization Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC) for more information.
_Not their finest moment. Recent headlines about Border Patrol agents have illustrated the need for more accountability and oversight of this rogue agency in our communities. The most egregious incident was when a Border Patrol agent in Rio Bravo, Texas, shot and killed a young female immigrant who was part of a group of migrants who were allegedly attacking the agent with “blunt objects.” A bystander who took a video of the incident contradicted this official account by saying the group was only hiding in the grass. A Facebook page posted this moving tribute to the deceased while Univision reported that the victim was Claudia Patricia Gómez Gonzáles from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. At press time, we were unable to independently confirm her identity from CBP or the Guatemalan Consulate. The FBI and Texas Rangers are investigating the incident. We issued a statement, noting how this incident underscores the need for agents to follow best police practices and wear body-worn cameras. QEPD.
_Estuvo muy mal. In a blatant example of racial profiling, a Border Patrol agent stopped two U.S. citizen women in Havre, Montana, and asked them for their identification after he heard them speak Spanish as they were shopping in a convenience store. Kudos to Ana Suda, one of the women, for getting part of the interaction on video. Border communities, like many in the U.S., are vibrant with diversity, multiculturalism, and fluency in beautiful languages, including el inglés. Don’t use that against us.
_Utterly shameful.The ACLU reviewed 30,000 documents that were in response to a federal public records request and published a report that compiles complaints made under the Obama Administration by unaccompanied immigrant children who said they were repeatedly beaten, sexually abused, and deprived of food and medical care by CBP officers and agents while they were held in short-term custody. "It’s terrifying to think that the horrible abuses described in these documents can continue and perhaps worsen under the Trump administration," said SBCC ally Astrid Dominguez of the ACLU Border Rights Center. "It’s unacceptable that there are no mechanisms in place to shed light on CBP’s abuses and ensure accountability."
_Cluster court. The ‘zero tolerance’ policy announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not only resulting in children being torn away from their parents, it’s also wreaking havoc and possibly due process concerns in San Diego federal courts. The dehumanizing effects of this policy have been felt for a while now in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which is part of the Border Patrol El Paso Sector and is the only sector that claims 100 percent prosecution of apprehended adult migrants. Judge Robert Brack, the Las Cruces federal judge who presides over the highest number of these prosecutions is clearly fed up with it, saying “I have presided over a process that destroys families.” SBCC steering committee member Johana Bencomo of CAFé agrees, "We're just this rural community with some of the highest prosecution rates. That is Brack's legacy, no matter how you spin it." Clogging up the federal courts with misdemeanors is really not a good use of taxpayers money.
_The Ultimate Sacrifice. This Memorial Day please remember all those people who died in the armed services protecting our nation’s values of justice, equality and freedom, many of whom were members of our border communities and immigrants. Also, thank those who are willing to put their lives on the line for this country, including the 850 DACA recipients currently serving.
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.