_Congressional members could not come to an agreement on federal government spending for Fiscal Year 2020, so instead passed another continuing resolution, which was signed by President Trump, to keep the government funded at Fiscal Year 2019 levels until December 20; this leaves us still wondering how the wall funding battle will ultimately be resolved.
_This week, we celebrated the acquittal of humanitarian aid worker Scott Warren and this failure of the government to criminalize people who provide humanitarian aid.
_On the highlight reel of SBCC’s delegation to Washington, DC, last week was when Border Champion Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) mentioned Community Leader and SBCC Border Dreamer Samuel Bejarano in an inspiring floor speech. We ️ Martin.
_Yours truly was honored to co-write this Op Ed with SBCC allies and social justice leaders Todd Miller and Dan Millis about the financial incentives corporations have to commit human rights abuses in our borderlands and against immigrants.
_Truth Fire. It took a great deal of courage and strength for SBCC ambassador and former Border Patrol agent Jenn Budd to set the world on fire with her truth and reveal how she was sexually assaulted while at the Border Patrol academy. For decades, we’ve heard that Border Patrol agents have sexually assaulted immigrants, including teen-age girls, but it’s now coming to light that CBP agents may also have a pattern of assaulting fellow agents and officers (both male and female). It makes us wonder how many more stories like Jenn’s are out there, buried under a pile of male bravado cultivated by an agency soaked in impunity and getting away with everything from rape to murder. "You're not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth, and raging courage." — Alex Elle
_Asylum Maelstrom. Tens of thousands of families with their children are stranded in a barbaric, Trump-made maelstrom at our southern doorstep. Just listen to This American Life’s The Out Crowd to get a full sense of it. In the podcast, Helen Perry, a nurse with Global Response Network, who has worked in refugee camps all over the world, tells Ira Glass that a refugee tent camp in Matamoros is “the worst” she has ever seen. Even asylum officers are revolted by the government’s inhumane_and possibly illegal_practices. “This is how you get good people to do bad things,” notes reporter Molly O’Toole, who also wrote about the maelstrom here. The podcast also follows a father and son who were returned to Mexico under the administration’s callous and misnamed “Migrant Protection Protocols,” who were immediately kidnapped by local cartels in Nuevo Laredo. Adding insult to injury is this story about how asylum seekers who win their cases in front of immigration judges are being wrongly returned to Mexico by CBP officials, claiming new (and super fake) court dates. But wait, there’s more. Trump’s administration began secretly deporting Salvadorans and Hondurans to Guatemala this week as part of the Administration’s intentionally cruel “transit ban” that negates protections to people who travel through other countries in their journey to the United States. Shouldn’t these human rights violations be impeachable offenses? Oh, and btw, the U.S. Immigration Policy Center’s recent public opinion poll showed that almost 60% of voters in the four U.S. southwestern states - Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California -believe that “those fleeing persecution and seeking refuge in the U.S., including women and children, should be allowed to enter the U.S. in order to ensure their safety while their asylum case is pending.” #EvenInTexas
_Lynch Wall Mentality. That’s what it feels like when we see a bunch of white supremacists who think the best thing for this country is to raise money on fear-mongering to then build a private version of Trump’s vanity wall. They also filmed the clearing of land where they are planning to build this new border wall in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. What a bunch of yahoos. I guess they don’t realize the increased flooding that will be caused by this dumb wall built right on the shores of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo. Mother Nature might just take care of tearing that wall down for us. Plus, it will cut off access to the river to farmers, wildlife, even people who like to fish, canoe or kayak in it. Just go home and build a wall around your neighborhood and keep away from coming in to destroy ours. Okay? O-kay.
_Counterpoint Activism: This last story can only be followed by one that flags how hard many of us are still courageously pushing back against more border wall travesty and against any more funding for it. In Texas, this Rio Grande Valley group recently traveled to DC to join Earthjustice (an SBCC ally group) in meetings with congressional members. In Arizona, Nellie Jo David, a Hia-Ced O’odham activist protested the construction of border wall dividing their home, noting that there is no word for “wall” or “militarization” in O’odham. Pima County supervisors also voted to file an amicus brief against the wall saying it will interfere with the county’s ability to comply with several environmental laws meant to protect three Arizona natural preserves. As a reminder, almost 60% of voters in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas oppose any more funding for border wall. #EvenInTexas #EvenInArizona
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.