_A study released this week by the Center for American Progress notes there is zero evidence that family separations and family detention at the border have a deterrence effect.
_SBCC steering committee member Cynthia Pompa of the ACLU Border Rights Center describes the benefits of ACLU’s MigraCam, a smartphone app that can be used to document immigration enforcement encounters and notify family and friends.
_The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will live stream a hearing titled “Oversight of Immigration Enforcement and Family Reunification Efforts” on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. EST, in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.
_Last week SBCC endorsed the Senate version of the REUNITE Act and this week, we endorsed the House version, which improves the Senate version by capping ICE bonds to $1,500 (ICE has a tendency for imposing prohibitive bonds up to $20K for moms with no criminal history) and by providing legal counsel for children appearing before a judge.
_Vaudeville political theater. Despite the fact that more than 60 percent of Americans do not want Trump’s border wall, the House Appropriations Committee engaged in a vaudeville political theater and approved a homeland security spending bill for Fiscal Year 2019 that would waste $5 billion on a disastrous border wall (almost three times more than the Senate version of the bill, S 3109, which had $1.6 billion for the border wall). The House bill would also beef up Trump’s deportation force by adding 400 new ICE agents and massively increasing detention beds to 44,000 to jail more immigrant parents and children indefinitely. We issued a joint statement here. The final acts for both bills would be a floor vote. But, recognizing a contentious battle ahead that could risk control of the House, Republican leadership is planning to pass the least controversial spending bills by the end of the fiscal year (September 30) and then pass a continuing resolution for the more controversial bills, like the homeland security one, until after the midterm elections. Trump seems to be okay with this plot (really? He’s made and broken similar scripts before.) Veremos.
_Tough act to follow. During the eight-hour markup act of the homeland security spending bill in the House Appropriations Committee, more than 40 amendments were considered, of which 18 were passed. We applauded at least one bipartisan amendment that would restore the Family Case Management Program (a more cost-effective and successful alternative to detention that was canceled by the Trump administration) and provide mental health services to children who have been separated from their parents and are in ICE or CBP custody. Unfortunately, the committee_and mostly by party lines_did not pass amendments that would have reallocated the $5 billion for a border wall to other priorities, including one amendment that would have shifted the cost of one mile of wall to support firefighters. That is how much Republicans are obsessed with building Trump’s dumb and harmful wall.
_ Theater of War at the Border? There is no crisis at the border. Yet, some congressional members insist on continuing to stage an inaccurate, bleak scenario of the border to justify continued and “horrendous” militarization of our communities. To get a sense of how our communities have been mischaracterized, tune in to Rep. Filemon Vela’s opening remarks in this week’s House Homeland Security Border and Maritime Subcommittee hearing, “Boots at the Border: Examining the National Guard Deployment to the Southwest Border.” Congress has also given the military permission to transfer $120 million to support National Guard at the border, stand up a “new border security cell,” and ordered the Pentagon to find housing for 12,000 immigrants for 6 months. Are we too willing to suspend disbelief and allow Congress to needlessly waste our taxpayer dollars?
_Theater of the Absurd. So by now, you’ve probably heard that the Trump administration did not meet its deadline to reunite children who were separated by from their parents via their “zero-decency” policy (yet absurdly claimed it would) and that parents who were deported without their children were coerced into signing documents that made them think it would reunite them with their children (instead they were signing their own deportation papers). Adding to this farce, are the continued revelations of the harms to children caused by separation and detention, which prompted Sen. Diane Feinstein to request immediate action to improve conditions at immigrant jails, and 13 national medical and mental health provider organizations to send letters to House and Senate congressional members expressing concern about the quality of care and treatment children and families are receiving in federal custody and calling on them to hold oversight hearings.
_Act up to save the butterflies. The National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, is one of the dozens of parks, preserves and wildlife refuges that will be walled off from the American people if Trump’s vanity wall is built. Join advocacy groups on Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 11-12, to Reclaim the River at the National Butterfly Center with a campout and a day of recreation and resistance along the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo. More information available here. #NoWallsNoAgentsNoBeds #DefundHate #RevitalizeNotMilitarize
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 Vicki@alliancesd.org, by Wednesday COB.