Supreme Mess

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_ SBCC steering committee member Dulce Garcia of Border Angels poignantly describes how the U.S.-Mexico border policy has hardened in the San Diego Sector_as it has all along the southern border_and how Title 42 is interfering with the due process rights of people seeking protection in the United States, resulting in a different, but just as cruel, kind of family separation.

_SBCC steering committee member Rebecca Sheff of ACLU of New Mexico and colleague Shaw Drake of ACLU of Texas uncover how Border Patrol has used cover-up units to unlawfully investigate themselves in deaths caused by high-speed car chases.

_Yours truly was honored to participate in “Who Gets to Be an American: Race, Fear, and Surveillance in Domestic Policy,” a panel discussion hosted by the Brennan Center of Justice, that featured Sahar Aziz, professor of law at Rutgers University Law School and Ann Chih Lin, associate professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and director of the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, both at the University of Michigan. The panel discussion was facilitated by Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center.

_We are frustrated and angry to know that Title 42 will not soon be lifted at our southern border thanks to a court injunction, but we also know its mess of cruel consequences. Check out the facts here, from our colleagues at the Washington Office of Latin America (WOLA). 

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_Supreme mess. This week, the injudicious SCOTUS majority made a further mess of things under the guise of protecting national security. Their ruling in the Egbert v. Boule case in effect shields Border Patrol agents from being held individually liable for abuse and excessive force while on duty. The ruling also eliminates any implied right for people experiencing a constitutional violation at the hands of a federal law enforcement agent to file a lawsuit seeking damages. Say what? This is a huge setback for victims and survivors of Border Patrol violence, and essentially gives border agents full license to violate any and all constitutional protections, from unlawfully eavesdropping on cell phone communications to committing the ultimate crime of murder, with zero accountability. We can’t help but think that an agency that enjoys almost unlimited impunity, will now engage in rampant misconduct knowing full well that they can get away with it. Ugh.

Where will this end? If this is how SCOTUS ruled on a private right of action to sue a federal agent for a constitutional violation, how on earth are they going to rule on the Remain in Mexico program, which has expelled families fleeing violence into more danger in Mexico? Watch this Justice Action Center video to learn more about the devastating impacts of this cruel program on people seeking safety.

The only way out of this mess is for Congress to pass a legislative initiative to create a private right of action to sue a federal law enforcement official who commits abuse. One such initiative is the Accountability for Federal Law Enforcement Act (S. 2103), a bill introduced by Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) last July. Border Patrols Agents are neither above the law nor can they ignore and violate the U.S. Constitution. After all, the Constitution is what Border Patrol agents swear an oath to protect.

_Let’s make a dream come true. It’s way past time to end the living nightmare for thousands of immigrant youth and finally make good on a promise to make a dream come true. Next Wednesday, June 15, will be the 10th anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program put in place by President Obama that allows immigrant youth to work in the United States and protects them from deportation. When it was first established, DACA transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth, allowing them to stay in the only country many of them have ever known as home. DACA’s impact was especially felt in the southern border region_1 in 5 DACA recipients live in the borderlands, according to data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

DACA, however, has only served as a temporary fix. Immigrant youth in the United States_but especially at the southern border region_navigate the daily stress and uncertainty surrounding their immigration status and that of their family members, as well as the hyper militarization of their hometowns. Ten years of DACA has also marked a decade of inaction from elected officials to permanently protect the lives of immigrant youth. Congress urgently needs to wake up and pass permanent protections. It’s time, already. Millions of immigrant youth and their families continue to live precariously with the future of DACA hanging in the balance. On top of that, thousands of community members continue to be detained and deported, separated from their loved ones, and torn away from their homes. We’re California (Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) dreamin’. . .that Congress gets its act together.

_Battle of the $$ Worlds.The House Appropriations Committee has announced Fiscal Year 2023 Homeland Security appropriations bill markup sessions, setting off the battle of the $$ worlds, where on one planet elected officials choose to fund and broker fear and the other planet battles to fund and broker hope.  The House Homeland Security Fiscal Year 2023 funding bill is set for markup on June 16, 10 a.m. EDT in the subcommittee and on June 24, 9 a.m. EDT in the full Committee. You know what we think about where taxpayer dollars are best spent? Our wish list includes no funding for border wall construction and the rescission of any congressionally appropriated unobligated funds. Furthermore, instead of spending billions of taxpayer dollars on building ineffective and deadly border walls, invest instead in remediation efforts to address the environmental harms caused by border wall construction. Also, let’s pivot away from the enforcement-only approach at the border, brought to you courtesy of fear-mongering and border theatrics. Instead, let’s invest in the creation of reception centers at ports of entry_staffed by social welfare workers, trauma specialists, child welfare specialists, etc._ that welcome people who are coming to this country to make it a better place and a better world. Check out our proposed transformative budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Oh, and let’s be sure to ban any funds from going to unlawful Border Patrol cover-up units. #EndBorderPatrolAbuse


border_lines is published every other 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.


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