_A big thank you to the ACLU for filing a lawsuit challenging the expedited removal of asylum seekers, which strips them of their right to counsel; ever heard of due process?
_We’re not saying that there isn’t a need for civilians_such as health professionals, social workers and trauma specialists_to be handling the needs of asylum seekers at our southern border, we’re just saying they shouldn’t be under the Border Patrol umbrella (per a quote from yours truly) in this article.
_Meanwhile, asylum seekers, including children, are waiting in the cold in Ciudad Juarez in tent camps across from El Paso, Texas as victims of Trump’s cruel and inhumane border policies.
_Hundreds of local advocates with environmental, indigenous and humanitarian organizations showed up in downtown Tucson to protest the construction of Trump’s devastatingly harmful vanity wall in Arizona.
_If you’re in Arizona, consider joining a protest of the implementation of an insidious incarnation of the misnamed Migrant Protection Protocols in Southern Arizona, on Monday, Dec 16, 4:30 p.m. Arizona time, at the Federal Building, 300 W Congress, Tucson.
_Only half lethal? How would you feel if a doctor said that your cancer diagnosis was only “half lethal” (like “half pregnant”). That’s what this week’s border wall news felt like. On one side, we celebrated two rulings in separate federal district courts, ours (filed with the Sierra Club and the ACLU) in the 9th Circuit and another filed by Protect Democracy (with the County of El Paso and Border Network for Human Rights) in the 5th Circuit, that consistently said that Trump’s emergency declaration was unlawful, and blocked the Administration from looting $3.6 billion in military construction funds to build the lethal wall. This is a big yay for us! But, these rulings are appealable by the government and the blocked funds represent only a third of the $10 billion Trump had at his disposal for wall construction. As this updated report notes, since Trump took office, Congress has given him more than $3.3 billion for wall construction. Adding this to the money pilfered from the Departments of Defense and Treasury, the Trump Administration accumulated $10 billion to spend on border walls, dwarfing the $2.3 billion spent on border barriers from 2007 through 2015. But then we learned that Congress is poised to lessen the sting of the rulings by agreeing to grant him yet another $1.4 billion in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget negotiations and_worse_will not place any restrictions on his ability to plunder other accounts for detention bends or to build his border wall_which means Trump can definitely rob more much more dinero unencumbered. Why is Congress kowtowing to Trump and completely ignoring the harms to our communities? Do congressional members not see how border walls are spreading like a metastatic cancer in all four border states, robbing us from our lands, dividing our communities, worsening dangerous and life-threatening flooding, endangering wildlife, and wasting taxpayer resources? While Congress might think $1.4 billion is a teeny concession, for us it’s terminal. What we truly need is infrastructure and investment, not militarization and isolation. We need a #NewBorderVision.
_Catch of the Week. The Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Defense announced two investigations into Trump’s use of the military and military funds at the border that make things seem even fishier. The first investigation_which was at the urging of Rep. Raúl Grijalva and several nonprofit groups_will evaluate the use of the military at the U.S.-Mexico border. We joined a press release issued by Rep. Raúl Grijalva congratulating the decision. The second investigation will look at the way Trump awarded $400 million to Fisher Sand and Gravel under “fishy” circumstances (sorry for the pun. Not).
_Children Protections Needed. The American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) US-Mexico Program_a member organization of our steering committee_released, on International Human Rights Day, “Children at the Crosshairs of Immigration Enforcement,” a report that documents numerous cases in San Diego County where children were harmed by CBP and ICE enforcement actions. One case, for example, described how U.S. citizen children, primarily of indigenous descent, were detained by CBP at a Southern California port of entry and falsely accused of being smuggled by those traveling with them. The report came as the government arrested doctors who were trying to vaccinate children in detention against the flu. It is inexcusable that authorities are not held accountable when they inflict emotional, physical or psychological trauma on children. Please pick up the phone and call your congressional representative to tell them these agencies despicable actions need to be defunded. We need a #NewBorderVision.
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.