_SBCC steering committee member Rev. Randy Mayer of Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Sahuarita, Arizona, expressed his frustration_but not surprise_on the slow progress in Congress to pass a much-needed DREAM Act.
_SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative explains how the recent apprehensions of larger groups of asylum seekers in southern Arizona may be the result of border enforcement officials turning them away from, or making them wait at, ports of entry.
_Take note that the U.S. government is again denying renewal of passports to people who were born in the United States via midwives.
_Pima County, Arizona, rejected receiving DHS Operation Stonegarden money, because doing so might force Sheriff’s deputies to enforce federal immigration laws and disrupt community trust.
_Wáchale, we’re coming! That’s right, next week, we’re bringing a delegation of community members to Washington, DC, from U.S. southern border communities to intervene with congressional offices and illustrate the damaging and harmful effects that would result from any additional amount of Trump’s vanity wall. In June, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a wasteful $1.6 billion for more wall and, in July, the House Appropriations Committee corresponded with a ridiculous $5 billion, which included 200 miles of new wall. Neither amount is needed. More than 2,500 scientists agree that the wall would be extremely damaging. Existing walls built by the government at the southern border have harmed communities and wildlife by causing deadly flooding, funneling people to cross in more remote areas thus increasing migrant injuries and deaths, stripping land from U.S. private landowners, interfering with migration patterns of endangered species, violating tribal sovereignty, and putting at risk wildlife refuges and historical landmarks. Furthermore, the government has utterly failed to demonstrate that these walls, including any of Trump’s prototypes, would be effective. Let us repeat: no amount of more wall is needed.
_Spend $$ here instead. We have a few thoughts about where taxpayers money would be better spent, including on accountability and oversight of border enforcement officials so when officers or agents commit an abuse, they can be held accountable. There are no answers yet, for example, on the shooting death of Claudia Patricia Gómez González, a young Guatemalan woman who was fatally shot in the head near Laredo, Texas, by a Border Patrol agent. For years now, we have advocated for border enforcement officials_who now form the largest law enforcement agency in the nation_to wear body worn cameras with adequate privacy protections. Body worn cameras is a police best practice that has been shown to reduce the number of complaints lodged against officers, but also reduce the number of use-of-force incidents. We can’t help but wonder if we would be closer to some answers if the agent that shot Claudia Patricia had been wearing a body worn camera.
_Spend $$ here instead, v.2.0. Instead of building a dumb, harmful wall, the federal government could help local border communities solve true daily challenges like, for example, helping the City of Alamo, Texas, build a new waste treatment facility that would vastly improve the quality of life of its community members. This story, which quotes SBCC steering committee member Christina Patiño Houle of Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, notes how it took the city two and a half years to agree to solve the problem. It will cost the city about $11.5 million to build the water treatment plan, almost $8.5 million less than it took Trump to build eight useless wall prototypes on Otay Mesa, California. Need other ideas? Cuz there are more from where that came from.
_Border Dreaming. In a historic moment along the border near San Diego, California, more than 300 officials and Alliance San Diego guests were able to listen to comments made by Martin Luther King, III, and Yolanda Renee (in Spanish!), the son and granddaughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on the 55th anniversary of the seminal “I Have a Dream” speech. This story quotes SBCC co-chair Andrea Guerrero of Alliance San Diego (which coordinated and hosted the event), SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee, and SBCC Border Dreamer Irving Hernandez. You can view a video of the event here. In the words of Yolanda, “Dreamers must stick together!”
_Not gonna lie. Even though the Trump administration seems to be currently wrapped up in wildly spun webs of deception, there is another level to the lies behind the beefing up of Trump’s deportation force. For example, ICE has not been transparent about how they have quietly and massively expanded immigration detention by trying to hide at least 10 new federal prison facilities set to detain immigrants_several of which are extremely controversial. Some of the interagency agreements obtained by the National Immigrant Justice Center allowing ICE to detain people within Bureau of Prison facilities include those for SeaTac, Sheridan, Victorville, Phoenix and the highly problematic La Tuna. To see where ICE is requesting the transfer and reprogramming of $200 million of the government’s already approved Fiscal Year 2018 spending budget to cover the costs of these new detention beds, check out this document, starting on page 28. This maneuvering of funds is problematic because ICE is manufacturing a false need for more detention beds and_once this reprogramming is approved_it will be hard to cut back on the number of beds. We joined more than 175 organizations in objecting to this sketchy manipulation of taxpayers dollars. Adding insult to injury, the administration is also quietly planning to make an administrative rule change that will allow DHS to keep children in detention indefinitely, claiming in a doublespeak way that it will help keep families together. It’s time to put a stop to this deceit.
_ Got our backs? If you feel so inspired, it would be great if you could have the backs of border community delegates who are traveling to DC next week and throw down with us by taking five minutes to call your congressional members to tell them to not spend a penny more on Trump’s vanity wall. You may also want to encourage them to instead allot funds to accountability and oversight measures, such as requiring body worn cameras on all ICE and CBP officers. Let’s #DefundHate and #RevitalizeNotMilitarize our border communities.
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.