_We are grateful to our colleagues at the ACLU and the Texas Civil Rights Project who joined others in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s illegal expulsion of unaccompanied children and others seeking protection at the border.
_SBCC steering committee member Ricky Garza of the Texas Civil Rights Projects notes that the Trump administration is still taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to force landowners into giving up their lands to build his deadly vanity wall.
_Check out this upcoming global webinar, “Walls Must Fall: Ending the deadly politics of border militarisation,” Wednesday, June 17 at 4 pm Easter by registering here.
_Pups over people? To be completely clear, we’re dog lovers. But it was both infuriating_and yet not surprising_when we learned that a Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit found that Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of Border Patrol, violated the law_and worse, subjected vulnerable children and families in their custody to despicable and dangerous conditions_when it took emergency humanitarian assistance funds explicitly appropriated by Congress to improve the health and safety of children and adults in their custody_and instead spent it on dog food, riot helmets, dirt bikes and ATVs. Read the GAO’s findings here. To prioritize dogs, ATVs, and dirt bikes over human lives is the definition of depravity, and shows the institutionalized racism and neglect towards immigrants at CBP. This ranks high on the list of the many reasons why CBP_the largest law enforcement agency in the nation who has a long and tawdry history of abuse and police brutality against people of color in border communities_cannot be trusted. On the list of the agency’s misguided actions is their deployment to Washington, DC and other cities to address peaceful demonstrations against police brutality. People should be on red alert about this deployment because_unlike other federal law enforcement agencies_CBP presumes to have limitless power, which is unacceptable and dangerous. SBCC director of communications Hiram Soto wrote this opinion about this danger in a (Spanish language) column here. Even lawmakers are questioning their role. This is total mission creep by a notoriously unaccountable, abusive agency. Another curious example is noticing how a CBP police tactic we have seen for decades in border communities, known as “dusting,” where helicopters fly low above groups with the intention to disperse them_often resulting in people getting lost and dying in the extremely arid and remote regions of the Arizona desert_was also a tactic used by National Guard during the demonstrations in Washington, DC. Anti-blackness law enforcement brutality is rearing its ugly head at the border and nationwide. We’re glad these agents are being withdrawn from Washington, DC, and hopefully elsewhere; but for now the cat is out of the bag (we are cat people too). The Border Patrol wants to become a national police force, and we should all be worried.
_Wall Sprawl. Border communities really, really don’t want or need any more of Trump’s lethal border wall sprawl and we’re wondering what it’s going to take to stop its relentless construction. At risk are the health of our communities, the protection of our endangered species, and the sovereignty of our tribal nations. This is why we were glad to see the powerful resistance against the wall by county leaders in Zapata County, Texas, and by tribal leaders of the Tohono O’odham and Cocopah tribal nations in Arizona. What was even more ridiculous is DHS’s request for private contractors to offer “improved” border wall designs that prevent breaches, which seemed like an admission by DHS that their walls are, in fact, penetrable (i.e., “18 breaches in the San Diego area during a single one-month period last fall.”). So, here’s a suggestion we’ve made many times before: take the money you’re spending on an ineffective, destructive wall and use it instead to build improved ports of entry (that would be a plus for our economy) or invest in health care, schools, and job-creating green initiatives. #RevitalizeNotMilitarize our communities.
_Asylum policies gone awry. The Trump administration has made no secret of its intent to gut asylum and immigration laws, in spite of the fact that newcomers make a huge and necessary contribution to our culture and economy. The latest, most recent attack includes this regulation that would go into effect 30 days after a “so-called” public commentary. Here is a personal testimonial of a 13-year-old girl who was expelled without due process that further illustrates why it is necessary to push back against the evisceration of our long-standing asylum laws. Enough, already.
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.