_Thank you President Biden for notifying Congress of the cancellation of the trumped up national emergency declared by former President Trump, which was exploited to illegally raid funds Congress had appropriated to the Pentagon to build his dangerous and lethal border wall.
_We urge the Biden Administration to send home the thousands of active-duty and National Guard troops still deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border and instruct them to take with them the offensive and dangerous concertina wire they installed on Trump’s lethal border wall; redirect personnel and resources to support efforts to rebuild from COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout.
_If you’re curious about where taxpayer dollars can be better spent instead of on border and immigration enforcement, check out this great resource developed by the National Priorities Project.
_Zombie wall. We just had to steal this description of Trump’s vanity wall from our esteemed colleague and SBCC steering committee member Ricky Garza of the Texas Civil Rights Project. In this Wall Street Journal article that reports on how private landowners in South Texas feel like they’re in limbo while they wait to see whether or not the Biden Administration will dismiss eminent domain cases, he expresses one of our major concerns: a zombie border wall! Although hopeful that the Biden Administration would not repeat the mistakes of the Obama Administration that persisted with the Bush Administration’s wall construction efforts, Ricky notes, “I’m hoping [the Biden Administration is] using this time to get their ducks in a row to cancel these contracts. I’m concerned we’ll get into a situation where the zombie walks forward, but is never actually killed.” We don’t need no zombie wall! We hope the Biden Administration considers the recommendations made by directly affected border community members to cancel all eminent domain cases and invest in mitigation and restoration efforts. Our colleague Adam Isacson at the Washington Office of Latin America (WOLA) wrote “From ‘Pause’ to ‘Reverse’: What Lies Ahead for Stopping Trump’s Border Wall and Fixing the Damage,” a commentary that offers the status of border wall construction, the sources of funding (Note: not Mexico), recommendations on rescinding or re-directing these funds, how environmental remediation efforts are urgent, and cautions against pivoting towards a so-called “smart wall” which carries its own set of problems. And, we want more than an end to border wall construction -- we want policymakers to adopt a new vision (as this article illustrates -- and quotes Yours Truly); we urge Biden to abandon walls entirely and instead “shift away from a decades-old disastrous [and zombie-like?] law enforcement-only approach and toward a human-rights-first approach that expands public safety, protects human rights, and welcomes residents and newcomers at the border.” #NewBorderVision
_Justice, Now. We are grateful for the indefatigable work of our SBCC colleagues at the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) who, with the support of the Catholic Charities Immigration Clinic at Gonzaga School of Law, submitted a detailed report to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas with information on complaints that KBI has filed throughout the Trump Administration and in the first weeks of the Biden Administration. Since 2017, the Kino Border Initiative has submitted 73 complaints against DHS for misconduct and mistreatment of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. An overwhelming majority of these complaints (50) involve Customs and Border Protection’s failure to provide due process to asylum seekers which include improper Title 42 expulsions; Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) failures; and inappropriate metering. To date, DHS has only provided definitive responses to 14 of the 73 complaints, revealing an overall structural deficiency in the investigative process. It’s high time to hold CBP accountable and ensure a welcoming process at the border for border community residents and newcomers alike!
_Homework assignment. Every once in a while, we like to share some great resources that help inform readers of the history and context of our nation’s immigration and border policies. So, below are a few to chew on. Happy reading!
- This article from the brilliant author Harsha Walia to understand the long history of anti-Black and ant-immigrant sentiments that have fed into lethal U.S. border policies; we hope that the Biden Administration does not repeat the mistakes of former Democratic administrations.
- Read The Legacy of Racism within the U.S. Border Patrol, a special report produced by the American Immigration Council, that provides invaluable information about the history of Border Patrol, how the agency was founded on racial animus, how racism, violence and impunity remain deeply entrenched throughout the agency, and the challenges advocates face in bringing accountability and oversight to the agency, including the political will and reforms needed to stamp out its culture of cruelty.
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. The Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.