Re-thinking our borders

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_ICYMI, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that stopped Trump’s transfer of Pentagon funding to build a border wall (yay!); here is our statement.

_SBCC steering committee member Lilian Serrano of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium praised the SCOTUS decision that helped keep the citizenship question off of the 2020 Census, a question that would have resulted in the under-participation of mixed-status families and non-citizens.

_SBCC ally Cynthia Pompa of the ACLU Border Rights Center writes about how migrant children continue to die in U.S. custody and the urgent need for stronger oversight measures to hold DHS agencies accountable.

_SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative is quoted in this story about how decreasing numbers of asylum seekers at the border may be due to the summer’s “brutal” weather.


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_Re-thinking our borders. Most people who live along the U.S. southern border love its deep cross-border ties, vibrant and diverse cultures, and multilingual communities. It is truly a place of encounter, hope and opportunity. Unfortunately, it is also a place that has experienced decades-worth of border enforcement-only policies that have endangered the rights and lives of newcomers and the 15 million people that call the border region home, making us less safe. Under Trump’s administration, anti-immigrant policies have gotten exponentially worse. At our nation’s southern doorstep, refugees, including children, from around the world have been denied entry, locked up in horrific conditions that include overcrowded and unsanitary cells for days, where they are mistreated and sexually assaulted by border guards and provided inadequate or untimely medical care_which has resulted in seven child deaths since last year. Enough is enough. The time is ripe for a New Border Vision, which we developed_along with a group of human rights experts_to become a new model for border governance that expands public safety, protects human rights and considers life paramount, and welcomes people at our borders in a manner consistent with our national values and global best practices. Keep your eyes peeled as we start to widely disseminate this new vision, which started with a telebriefing (listen to a recording and read a recap here). Next week, we are also bringing a delegation of border ambassadors to Washington, DC, to share this vision with policy makers and with our national allies. Now, more than ever, is a critical moment for policy makers to hear the voices of southern border residents who experience the consequences of our terrible  border policies on a daily basis. ¡P’alante!

_Brokering fear and chaos. Our megalomaniac-in-chief loves to lead with fear and chaos to cover up what seems to be sheer incompetence, lack of leadership, and political weakness. That’s what we think is behind his threat to separate and deport more than 2,000 vulnerable families starting this weekend. Fear and chaos rallies his base, distracts the media from failed bad policies (like the citizenship question on the 2020 Census) and failed, good campaign promises (infrastructure, anyone?), and covers up his inability to get anything done that is more in line with the core values of this country. A true leader lifts people up, especially the most vulnerable among us. Meanwhile, groups of faith and non-profit organizations nationwide have galvanized to fill in the gaps of this morally bankrupt administration, decrying the threats of raids and providing immigrants with information about their rights, such as those noted by SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee. The question that comes up for us is where is the $$ coming from to implement these raids if, in fact, it was true that DHS was at a “breaking point,” which was the reason they asked_and received_an additional $1.1 billion taxpayer dollars for this fiscal year. 

_Tragic loss. “They tore out a piece of my heart, like they tore out my soul,” said Yazmin Juárez, tearfully describing how she felt when her almost two-year-old daughter, Mariee, died after receiving grossly inadequate medical attention while in U.S. custody. You can listen to her testimony given at a House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties subcommittee hearing, July 10, to get a first-hand account of the horrific conditions faced by families and children seeking safety or a better life at our country’s southern doorstep. We’re better than this.“It can’t be so hard for a country like the United States to protect kids who are locked up,” she added. We agree. It’s high time to give the job of caring for refugees to a system that can better protect these vulnerable families.

_Their gall for a wall. This article shows how an arrogant, self-entitled, “old boys network” flaunted local laws and made violent threats to elected officials to build their very own harmful version of a private border wall. The story quotes SBCC steering committee member Kevin Bixby of the Southwest Environmental Center. It seems ironic, if not hypocritical, when right wingers think they’re above the law, but even crazier when their leader admits that a wall doesn’t work. In this blog about the harm to the environment, wildlife and communities that new miles of border wall will bring to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, SBCC ally John-Michael Torres notes how the wall is the biggest symbol of “racial animosity toward our community. . .”; a comment echoed by SBCC ally and Border Dreamer Allyson Duarte: “If you’re an immigrant, that structure is specifically in response to your existence. . .[It shows] you’re not wanted. You’re the undesirable. It puts the label of criminal on us.” And that’s not all. New reports, like this one from Nogales, Arizona, are showing an increase in deaths and injuries caused by people falling off newer, taller walls. Doubtful this is an unintended consequence from an administration that_as a norm_enjoys delivering cruel and harmful policies.

_Help us create a new border vision. We need you to have our backs when we go to DC next week by calling your elected congressional members and tell them to support a #NewBorderVision that invests in communities, not enforcement-only policies. Tell them to pass a resolution or declaration that supports a best-practice, effective border governance model that expands public safety, protects human rights and life, and implements a welcoming system for residents and newcomers. 


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.


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Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.


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