_Our coalition partners ACLU of Texas and the ACLU Border Rights Center need your vote by April 18 to win a Webby Award for its MigraCam_a smartphone app designed to protect you during interactions with immigration enforcement.
_The Waitlist is a powerful short video about what it’s like to flee violence to get to safety in the United States, only to be held up in Mexico waiting weeks_sometimes months_for a chance to simply make an initial case to protect your loved ones and children.
_SBCC Steering Committee Member Pedro Rios wrote an excellent op-ed in Newsweek on how greater funding for unaccountable U.S. Customs and Border Protection would lead to greater harms to border communities.
_Christina Patiño Houle, SBCC steering committee member and network weaver of the Rio Grande Equal Voice Network, discusses the solidarity between environmental organizations and immigrant rights organizations to stand up for border communities.
_Worst to worster. There is a saying in Spanish that you can’t fall further than the ground, but this week, President Trump_or should we say a key advisor (hint, hint)_has lowered the floor of a harmful anti-immigration stance by cleaning the DHS house to seek crueler characters. So, in the flash of a tweet, gone now is DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, along with Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles and DHS Deputy Secretary Claire Grady. Other DHS agency heads might also be on the tweeting block, but we’ll have to wait and see. . . Meanwhile, Acting ICE Director Ron Vitiello, who was formerly at Border Patrol, resigned after his nomination for ICE director was pulled because Trump wants to double down on cruelty. It’s interesting to note that_at a time that Trump claims there is a national emergency_he has left DHS, ICE and CBP without any permanent leadership (CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan was appointed Acting Director of DHS). Even GOP Members of Congress seemed dismayed about the swift DHS purge. How much worster can we get?
_Trumpella de Vil. Trump is a master of cruelty if he thinks his reprehensible and shameful treatment of families and children seeking safety at our border hasn’t been cruel enough. Caged children got bruises on their backs from sleeping on the gravel beneath a bridge in El Paso, toddlers have been tear gassed and torn from the arms of their parents, families have been forced to wait weeks, sometimes months, in Mexico before having an opportunity to even ask for asylum, and people have been returned to wait in Mexico for the duration of their immigration court hearings_creating more obstacles for them to appear at these hearings. We don’t know yet what even crueler practices will look like, but Trump reached a new low with a plan to release families in DHS custody into so-called “sanctuary cities,” which may not be a bad idea per se, but clearly shows he wants to use asylum seekers as political pawns. Obvs on the agenda is also the intentional evisceration of the Flores settlement and the TVPRA protections for immigrant children. And there was a déjà vu all over again threat of reinstating family separation. But do we really want to portray ourselves as a nation of cruelty and fear? Our nation loses its compassion cred when more taxpayer dollars are put towards harmful practices instead of on a strong, orderly and caring response. “We think that the direction of DHS and CBP has been very clear, to restrict access to asylum. It's not to invest in humanitarian responses," noted SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative.
_Dumbest to dumbester. It’s shameful, if not dumb, how the Trump administration seems to lack the will or competence to better handle the humanitarian challenge at our southern border. Instead of responding with a holistic and effective approach, Trump responds with tactics that only create more chaos and pain for more and more people. It’s a disgrace. Case in point, cross-border wait times at the U.S.-Mexico border have increased dramatically by hours, and sometimes days, after Trump decided to divert officers from ports of entry to assist Border Patrol in processing asylum seekers. According to The Washington Post, “Those now suffering the most because of backlogs at understaffed ports of entry are automakers, technology companies and farmers, who say that the slowdown is affecting the $1.7 billion-a-day in goods that crosses the border between the United States and Mexico.” A much smarter response would be to divert the ineffective border wall billions to community-based shelters and the hiring of medical professionals and social workers to provide a more humanitarian response to the families and children seeking safety at our border.
_Dog birding offices. Congressional members are in-district during the Easter recess_between Monday, April 15, through Friday, April 26. If you get a chance, why not drop in at the offices of your congressional delegation and remind them of the compassionate values of our nation in receiving families fleeing violence and poverty? Please point to all the non-profit communities of faith and social justice (like this story illustrates) that are picking up where the federal government has abdicated their responsibility for a humanitarian response at our borders. Tell them that your taxpayer dollars should be spent there and not on building a dumb border wall or further militarizing the border. Tell them to #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.