_We’re grateful to Arizona Representatives Raúl Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick for the letter they wrote to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas requesting that border communities be consulted when DHS considers the future of the border wall and other policies directly impacting their communities.
_How ironic is it that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blames migrants for spreading COVID-19 just a day after issuing a lift on a statewide mask mandate?
_We thought we were past seeing these unnecessary and disturbing displays of force, but Customs and Border Protection held this week another "drill" that stopped northbound traffic through a key port-of-entry in Arizona (ugh).
_We were very disappointed to learn that President Biden plans to maintain, not pull down, the ugly, harmful and offensive concertina wire on Trump’s vanity border wall.
_Yours Truly was quoted in this article about a new documentary, “Missing in Brooks County,” that shows the human cost of “prevention through deterrence” border policies that force migrants to cross the border in more remote and dangerous regions.
_Undoing Evil. We know it will take a while to undo the Trumpian mountain of senseless and intentionally cruel anti-immigrant policies that were put into place the last four years. But people are suffering_and we can’t help wanting to see the changes happen more quickly. On one hand, we were pleased that Biden stopped enrollments into the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which forced asylum seekers to remain in Mexico (for many months or even years) while waiting to attend their immigration hearings in the United States. People seeking safety who were subjected to the MPP program are now being allowed to come through the ports of entry at Brownsville, El Paso, and San Diego_about 25-50 people per day at each port at this point_and they are being permitted to stay with family members or sponsors in the United States while their cases move ahead. But we’re also concerned that Biden is continuing the immediate expulsions of people apprehended between ports of entry under the same Trumpian false public health pretext (i.e., under Title 42 of the Public Health Service Act). More than 60 Members of Congress wrote a letter urging DHS Secretary Mayorkas to stop these expulsions. This evil needs to be undone asap so science and humanity can prevail.
_Fatal Crash. Our deepest condolences go out to family members and loved ones of the victims in the horrific car accident that happened near Holtsville, California, and left 13 people dead and 12 injured. SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee reminds us that the people who died in this tragic accident were human beings who were forced to take desperate measures because of our harmful border policies. Although Border Patrol repeatedly asserted they were not chasing the vehicle, experience has made us a bit skeptical_as noted by SBCC steering committee member Andrea Guerrero of Alliance San Diego. And we have reason to be concerned. Back in June 2020, Border Patrol initially denied being involved in a car chase in another horrific accident in El Paso, Texas, that killed seven people and injured three. Yet two eyewitnesses came forward saying they had seen Border Patrol agents in hot pursuit. Disturbingly, these incidents are far from isolated_and border communities are painfully aware of dangerous and negligent high-speed car chases by Border Patrol that directly endangers lives and clearly undermines their duty to protect. An investigation by ProPublica found that on average, Border Patrol is involved in a crash every nine days, adding up to hundreds injured or killed. This investigation also noted that 1 in every 3 car chases involving Border Patrol ends in a crash. Agents engage in unsafe driving, box in vehicles, puncture tires, and force cars to spin, knowing that the people they are chasing are likely unrestrained and in danger. It’s past time for CBP to create a narrow, humane, and responsible vehicle pursuit policy that aligns with best practices. For example, the Department of Justice has narrowed the use of high-speed chases to instances where the necessity to prevent imminent harm outweighs the risk to life in a pursuit. Whether or not CBP was directly involved in this tragic loss of life in southern California this week, the agency must adopt best practices in any vehicle pursuits, especially high-speed chases, to prevent further deaths.
_Dream and Promise. We were pleased to see the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) introduced into Congress this week by Democratic Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), Nydia Velázquez (NY) and Yvette D. Clarke (NY). The bill will provide a much-needed pathway to citizenship to more than 2.5 million people, including immigrant youth (i.e., DACA recipients), Temporary Protection Status (TPS) holders, and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) holders. Specifically, it would protect the 1-in-5 Dreamers who call the southern border region home without further militarizing our communities. However, the bill also comes with unnecessary and harsh “criminal bars,” which leave out community members who have been subjected to the racist criminal justice system. This is of particular concern to southern border communities who are subjected to harsh punitive measures by Border Patrol, who often collaborate with local police. See our statement here. We urge members of Congress to amend the bill to ensure no one is left out.
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.