_SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Services Committee, reacts to the Supreme Court’s terrible ruling on the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols, which, if re-started, will place migrants fleeing violence in harm's way.
_SBCC steering committee member Dulce Garcia of Border Angels expresses grave concerns about Biden’s plan to speed up asylum determinations at the border with asylum officers.
_The ACLU affiliates in New Mexico and Texas sent a letter to CBP demanding an independent investigation of a recent deadly high-speed vehicle chase.
_Trademark cruelty. Yet again, we learn more of the trademark cruelty that seems to persist and pervade the ranks of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. Our colleagues at Kino Border Initiative and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice released a joint report, Due Process Denied, which details 35 grave cases of misconduct and abuse_from denied due process to outright physical violence_committed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona against families, children and individuals seeking protection from October 2020 to mid-August 2021. The report is the newest addition to the more than a dozen similar reports against the agency_all, seemingly to no avail, as CBP agents are rarely held accountable. As a reminder, according to U.S. law_and regardless of how they enter the country_ people can seek asylum if they fear they will be tortured in their country of origin or persecuted on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. So, what could explain the cruelty emblazoned on the regard border guards have towards immigrants? Former Border Patrol agent turned immigrant rights advocate and SBCC ambassador Jenn Budd explains, "It [abuse] can happen for a variety of reasons, but normally it’s people who are bothering them [the border patrol agents] or people who are saying, 'I have a right to asylum' . . . They are teaching them a lesson. That’s what they are doing." Well, that kind of power tripping is unacceptable. (On topic, Jenn also recently published this blog where she notes that there really is not much difference between the cruelty perpetrated against migrants by Republicans or Democrats). And this kind of ‘tude isn’t just targeted towards immigrants, it is also often directed towards border residents who cross the border to work, shop, visit, or see family and friends, as illustrated by this lawsuit recently filed by the ACLU against CBP for assaulting a New Mexican man, 64, at the Columbus port of entry. What did the man do to deserve such treatment? He merely suggested CBP open another line of traffic to reduce the crossing wait time. We definitely need a #NewBorderVision (and a better trademark).
_Operation Groan Star. It is so disturbing_and hypocritical_to see ranchers and farmers jump on Texas Governor Abbott’s anti-immigrant bandwagon that we decided to rename his initiative Operation Groan Star. Instead of investing in public health, education and infrastructure, the governor has stolen a page from the Trump playbook and is focusing on anti-immigrant initiatives, wasting taxpayer dollars, to scare people to the polls for his re-election campaign. This well-written article provides several choice quotes (including from Yours Truly), but here is the choicest quote of them all from Barbara Hines, founding attorney at the University of Texas Law School Immigration Clinic, “We know that migration is on the rise and maybe there is some property damage happening, but this strikes me as manufactured hysteria . . . Something about property gets said in the media and it gets repeated over and over again so that we’re focused on broken fences instead of people dying in the desert and children and families seeking asylum. Greg Abbott is anti-immigrant and turning the focus to the property rights of ranchers and farmers says more about the dark creativity of his agenda than anything else.” Word. And, here’s another reason to groan: according to this report, Abbott’s initiative of re-deploying state troopers to southern Texas has resulted in a dramatically higher number of traffic citations given to...you guessed it...South Texans, most of whom live in the poorest counties of the nation. Groan.
_Just around the corner. By the time we disseminate our next edition of Border_Lines, we may be on the verge of passing a reconciliation budget that may not only boost our national economy with human and physical infrastructure, but may also magnify the moral fiber of our nation. Two potentially significant party poopers aside, there is a great need to not only modernize our ports of entry but also revitalize the southern border region with a new vision that expands public safety, upholds human rights, and welcomes people to our borders. SBCC unveiled a new data micro-site within the Border Lens data portal that highlights how a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented people in the southern border region would be transformative in the lives of Dreamers, TPS holders, farmworkers, and essential workers. During the second vote-a-rama, we urge congressional members to move away from further militarizing the border region and any amendments that criminalize or dehumanize migration. Let’s turn a new corner.
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.