Wake up and smell the wall

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_SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee and former SBCC director Christian Ramirez, now at SEIU, participated in a protest against Border Patrol for not providing flu shots to people in their custody; three children who had the flu have died in Border Patrol custody (not in ICE custody as the article incorrectly reports).

_Two people tragically died this week while under Border Patrol custody, the first was a Mexican man, 49, who died in a Phoenix hospital and the second was a Mexican woman, 33, who died in a Tucson hospital.

_We can be building nests_instead of walls_as this California teacher did for children who wait in Mexico with their parents for their asylum hearing proceedings in the United States.

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_Wake up and smell the wall. We want to send out a big “be the heck woke” message to some media outlets who claim Trump’s harmful, vanity wall is not being built, saying that instead Trump has only “replaced existing barriers.” Take, for example, WaPo’s recent “fact checking” article. These reports are completely missing the point AND enabling extraordinary harm to our communities, environment and wildlife. Replacing a barrier that allows water to flow freely during Arizona and New Mexico’s infamous monsoon season and permits wildlife to cross from one region to another to seek food, water and genetic diversity when mating is a hugely different kind of barrier than one that is 30-feet tall and impenetrable by both wildlife and flood waters. Please be woke to this and stop making this nonsensical point. For more, check out this video by SBCC ally Laiken Jordahl of the Center for Biological Diversity showing current barriers that will be replaced by 30-foot ridiculously high bollard walls. And then there is this video showing the destruction that will be caused by border wall construction in the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge in Southeastern Arizona. Contractors and earth moving machines are now disturbing the peace of this tranquil region and pumping thousands of gallons of water from a life-sustaining aquifer for the inane tasks of dust control and mixing cement for the wall. These careless water extractions are placing at least four species of endangered fish and species like the San Bernardino springsnail and the Chiricahua leopard frog at risk. What possible motive can we have for destroying these rare, aquatic habitats forever? To understand a little more of what’s at stake, read this story that quotes SBCC steering committee member Mark Adams of Frontera de Cristo and ally Dan Millis of the Sierra Club. And in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, the wall is truly affecting the lives of private property owners and will prevent their access to the beautiful riverside shores of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo river (the story quotes SBCC steering committee member Ricky Garza of the Texas Civil Rights Project). Finally, in case you need another reason to oppose Trump’s new or replacement messed-up wall, this is how it will affect the recovery of the Mexican gray wolf (story quotes SBCC steering committee member Kevin Bixby of the Southwest Environmental Center). Basta, ya. Mr. Trumpachev, tear the wall down.

_Migrant Purgatory Protocols. A comprehensive survey illustrates well why Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, like the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), are creating a fresh version of hell for more than 50,000 people forced to wait in Mexico while they wait for their asylum hearings in the United States. Nearly 9 out of every 10 of them expressed fear to U.S. immigration officials about being forced to wait in Mexico. Despite this claim, they were sent back to Mexico where many have experienced violence, homelessness and discrimination. The poll, which is the most comprehensive survey to date of asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico, was conducted and recently released by the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC). The survey  is a follows-up of an August report by the USIPC that analyzed the abusive and inhumane treatment of asylum-seekers at an immigration detention center in San Diego, CA. While the new survey of more than 600 asylum-seekers took place in the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, the findings offer a glimpse into the dangers and hardships facing vulnerable families in northern Mexican cities the length of the border region where they have no family, job or place to stay for months at a time. The report comes as the Trump administration announced the expansion of MPP to the Port of Entry in Eagle Pass, Texas. This brings the total number of ports of entry where MPP is used to six. Why are we exposing families_including children_who are fleeing violence, to more violence? 

_Spending TanTrump. It’s anybody’s guess what will happen during negotiations of the government’s Fiscal Year 2020 spending budget, but it seems unlikely that an agreement will be found by the time a current continuing resolution expires on November 21. Congressional leadership say they want to come to an agreement by December 31, and will need another continuing resolution to keep the government open until then. Others are suggesting a new continuing resolution should extend the deal making process until February of next year (i.e., until after the impeachment process is over). But passing a new continuing resolution might be blocked by Trump who might think another shutdown is a useful diversion tactic away from impeachment proceedings. And then there is that perennial standoff around border wall funding, where Democrats refuse to waste taxpayer dollars on more miles of Trump’s harmful wall and Republicans say give it to him anyway because he will find one way or another to get it. Ugh. We need more adults in the room.

_Home is here. November 12th is a crucial day for young immigrants as SCOTUS will hear arguments on whether or not Trump’s ending of the DACA program is constitutional; a ruling is expected in early 2020. Almost 700,000 lives are hanging in the balance; some wondering whether or not the nightmare of living in limbo will ever end. Get to know some of their stories, like watching Angélica’s story who notes that “When we got DACA, we got wings.” Join or support a march that started in Battery Park in New York City, Oct. 26, that ends with a rally on the steps of SCOTUS on November 12. Now more than ever, we should join DACA recipients and allies in demanding an end to fear and uncertainty, because their #HomeIsHere!


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.


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