_Our very own SBCC Co-Chair Johana Bencomo spoke with MTV News to explain the negative impact of border militarization and how it goes beyond the Trump administration — check it out here.
_Good news out of San Diego: the first person subjected to the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program to be granted asylum was released into the U.S. in a test case for how successful asylum claims will be handled under this terrible and inhumane policy.
_SBCC Steering Committee member Amanda Munro discusses the devastating impact of using sodium cyanide bombs on the wildlife of the southern border.
_Poetic injustice. When it comes to the rottenest of rotten rhymes, the worst poem award should go to Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli, who offered a new version of the Emma Lazarus poem The New Colossus, which graces the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired and your poor,” he said, and added, “who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge." The comment followed the introduction of expansions to the so-called “public charge” rule, which aims to cut legal immigration by making it easier to reject green cards and visa applications for families using certain safety net programs. This new rule would make struggling families choose between making ends meet at a critical time in their lives and their legal status. Fortunately, the new rule has already been challenged by 13 states. The public charge rule was drawn from the same Trump playbook as all of the nasty immigration and border militarization policies: that immigrants and people of color are not welcome here. As far as poet Cuccinelli goes, we would tell him to keep his day job_which is supposed to be helping immigrants integrate into American society_ but he’s terrible and unpoetic at that too.
_Your money transfer. While you were sleeping, the Trump administration was trying to transfer money to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by pulling funds out of other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) accounts so it can bankroll its ever-expanding obsession to arrest, detain and deport immigrant families. It is the administration’s latest effort to circumvent Congress to fuel its deadly border policies and deportation force. Last year, the administration transferred millions of dollars from different sources to ICE, including funds that were supposed to go to FEMA (during hurricane season, mind you) the Coast Guard and even airport security — and that’s not counting the billions of dollars Trump is trying to redirect from the Pentagon to build his deadly wall. DHS funding will come up for a vote in September when it runs out of money as Congress struggles to avoid yet another government shutdown. Meanwhile, ICE continues to act under a culture of impunity: an ICE detention center guard rammed his truck through a line of peaceful protesters, and (shocker) he wasn’t arrested. Gotta stay woke people!!
_ El Paso Strong. Our hearts are still aching from the loss we experienced last week during the horrific El Paso shooting, and we mourn the 22 lives lost to this senseless crime and pray for those still recovering. In a time where unity and the embracing of our diversity can only make us stronger, the Trump Administration continues to exploit hate and fear for political gain. From inciting xenophobic tensions with his “send her back” remarks towards Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)_ which the shooter chillingly echoed, to spreading misinformation about crime in El Paso_and resorting to name-calling when members of his own party pushed back_it’s clear that Trump’s current focus is stoking political tensions for his campaign. El Paso Hospital staff even noted an “absence of empathy” from the President throughout his visit. El Pasoans deserve better than this trite reception from our national leaders, and all borderlanders deserve better than the hateful rhetoric and dangerous and deadly border policies that have implicitly green-lit criminal violence, like this horrific shooting. We deserve to be heard, we deserve to have our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness honored. We deserve a #NewBorderVision, one that upholds public safety, protects human rights, and welcomes people at our borders, no matter where they come from. May we always find a shared strength in our vibrancy and diversity.
_Remembering those lost. The southern border region is a place of hope, encounter, and opportunity, but decades of enforcement-only policies like Operation Gatekeeper, which will see its 25th anniversary this October, have pushed desperate people seeking safety deeper and deeper into dangerous wilderness territories, where they become lost, and even die. On the International Day of the Disappeared_observed on Friday, August 30th, 2019_the Southern Border Communities Coalition and Colibrí Center for Human Rights have partnered to remember all of the lives lost on the southern border due to decades of harmful militarization and enforcement-only policies. In communities across the borderlands and beyond, we are organizing a national day of action and vigils to demand justice for disappeared migrants and their families. But we can't do this alone. Help us honor those lost by hosting a vigil in your community, and stand in solidarity with the families of those who have been lost to the militarization of the southern border. Together we can honor those lost, and work to #RevitalizeNotMilitarize the southern border.
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.