Voters don’t fully trust Border Patrol

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_SBCC steering committee member, Dulce Garcia, of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium and immigration attorney, describes how Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has had a significant effect on her life; and makes a few comments on the July 6 oral arguments in the 5th U.S. Circuit of Court Appeals.

_Unbelievably, law enforcement chose to deflect responsibility for their failed response in the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting by blaming immigrants (despite the fact the perpetrator was a U.S. citizen teen armed with an AR-15); clearly, this adds yet another layer of horror (story quotes Yours Truly, colleague Shaw Drake from the ACLU of Texas, and colleague Adam Isacson from the Washington Office on Latin America).

_The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) joined 200 civil society organizations in a letter to U.S. House congressional leaders to urge them to push back against any legislative initiative that would make permanent the misuse of Title 42 to expel people seeking protection in the United States. 

_We invite you to read this poignant OpEd, written by our colleague Amy Grenier of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), who notes that welcoming people seeking protection at our borders reflects our nation’s most fundamental values — in the context of ice fishing (yes, ice fishing).

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_Voters don’t fully trust Border Patrol. It’s time for political candidates – including the fearmongering type — to perk up their ears and pay attention to what voters believe and want. We just released a nationally representative border-specific survey, conducted in partnership with the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California in San Diego, which shows that a majority of voters distrust U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and want more oversight and accountability over the agency. (That’s literally what the poll report is titled: Voters Distrust Border Agency, Want More Oversight and Accountability.) We’ve known for a while that public safety depends on public trust, but there can be no trust if there is no accountability — and that definitely holds true for CBP.

The poll results reveal that voters across the country have a profound deficit of public trust in CBP and an overwhelming desire for more accountability. Major findings of the poll include:

  • Across the country, three-quarters of voters do not fully trust border agents to respect the constitutional rights of everyone, or to be held accountable when they violate those rights.
  • More than three-quarters of voters believe that respecting the constitutional rights of everyone — including migrants, travelers, and residents  — increases trust in border agents. (something CBP top officials should definitely note)
  • Recent revelations of agency cover-ups have led more than three-quarters of voters to believe that we need independent prosecutors to review cases involving border agents for possible obstruction of justice.
  • More than two-thirds of voters want to require CBP to have a warrant to conduct a search (should be a no brainer).
  • Nearly three-quarters want Congress to give individuals the right to sue federal agents when their civil and constitutional rights are violated (Congress, take note!)
  • Three-quarters of voters want Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. The poll found that conditioning protection for immigrant youth on more border enforcement does *not* increase support, but instead lessens the intensity of support. (Time to throw away the outdated and harmful notion that any meaningful immigration reform needs to be propped up by injuring border communities. That logic hasn’t worked in the past three decades and is plainly a political dog whistle.)

So, listen up all you political candidates yearning to get elected by throwing border communities under the bus, it’s time to put forward a better approach that actually reflects our nation’s values and what voters want. (For a satirical article that pokes fun at border-related political ads, read this blog from Border Chronicles.) Read the full poll report here and cross-tabs here.  Time to open y’er eyes.

_Shameful Sham Scam: Speaking about how CBP can’t be trusted, we couldn’t agree more with our colleagues at Haitian Bridge Alliance, RAICES, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Undocublack about CBP’s shameful sham scam report on the misconduct and excessive use of force displayed and implemented by Border Patrol agents in horse patrol units against Black migrants in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19, 2021. The shameful sham scam report was a big nothing-burger that only reinforced the point of view of Border Patrol agents. See our press statement. Seriously, as we trudged through 500+ pages of the report, we realized that these so-called investigators did not even interview a single migrant victim or witness. How can CBP expect us to take them seriously or even find the report credible? Not only did they not interview a single one of the Black migrants impacted by this violence, they quickly deported those who were attacked and witnesses back to the country from which they fled. Shameful, shameful.  It is sickening that an agency defends abuse by dehumanizing victims and by only showing the perspective of abusers, right?

Adding insult to injury, CBP bulldozed the encampment as quickly as possible. By the time our team hit the ground in Del Rio (only a few days after the incident), there was nothing left, which was nothing less than suspicious.

But, guess what? Fearless attorneys at Justice Action Center and at Innovation Law Lab joined the Haitian Bridge Alliance and Haitian asylum seekers — which they had no trouble finding — in filing a lawsuit against President Biden for the harms committed by these Border Patrol agents. To balance the CBP sham scam, read what really happened to some of these peopleWe gotta do better than this and finally (!) hold Border Patrol agents accountable.


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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