By Joe Sexton for ProPublica – The fiscal 2018 price for President Trump’s border wall is in: $2.6 billion. That’s a cost to U.S. taxpayers, not a cost many people any longer think will be picked up by the Mexican government. As first installments go, it’s a pretty big number. Indeed, its size can be appreciated in one powerful way by setting it against some of the many budget cuts Trump proposed this week. One year of spending on a border wall is the equal of, well, the federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting plus the $231 million given to the country’s libraries and museums plus the $366 million that goes to legal help for the poor.
By Carlos Delclós for ROAR Magazine – On February 18, over 160.000 people took to the streets of Barcelona to demand that the Spanish government and the European Union accept more refugees. The build-up to the protests was spectacular, with the city and Catalan regional governments working together with broad citizen platforms to put the phrase “We want to welcome” (Volem acollir) on everybody’s lips. For several weeks, leading politicians including Barcelona mayor Ada Colau and Catalan president Carles Puigdemont lambasted Spain’s current policies towards refugees. One week prior to the protest, a special concert was organized by a campaign called Casa nostra, Casa vostra (“Our house, your house”), not in a civic center or public square but in an Olympic stadium. The event was aired on Catalan public television and featured major Catalan artists and cultural figures.
By Carrie Jung for KJZZ – Tribal leadership of Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona said they won’t support a border wall project on their land. Part of their reservation extends into Mexico and covers 75 miles of the international border. The tribe’s chairman and vice chair said the plan was always to try to work with whoever holds the office of the United States President. But, they added, it’s still too early to tell exactly how Donald Trump’s administration will impact the tribe. Vice Chairman Verlon Jose explained tribal members have traversed their ancestral land since time immemorial, and a wall of any sort would not be supported by the community.
By Aaron Reichlin-Melnick for Immigration Impact – A federal judge ordered the Border Patrol to immediately cease its practice of refusing to provide basic amenities to people detained in Border Patrol holding cells in Tucson, Arizona. The judge cited evidence that shows that detainees are kept in freezing holding cells—often called “hieleras” or “iceboxes” —for days without any access to showers or basic hygiene and are forced to sleep on cold concrete floors with only a thin Mylar sheet. On November 18, Judge David C. Bury ordered the Border Patrol to immediately begin providing any detainee held for more than 12 hours with a mattress…
By Eleanor Goldfield of Occupy – This week, a wall is a wall until it’s – the sky? Ana Teresa Fernandez shows us how we might view things differently, simply through the application of color. Next up, I’m not one to celebrate a corporatized holiday but this mother’s day, leave the chocolates behind and stand up for peace. And finally, ever wonder where the idea for our militarized police came from? Trial, error and a determined piece of low life scum. But first, poetry Can.
On May 24, International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament, I will be one of 30 women from 15 countries who will engage in a historic march from North to South Korea, crossing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) — an ironic misnomer since the DMZ is flanked with cluster bombs, landmines, armed troops, barbed wire and surveillance equipment, making it the most militarized border in the world. This will be only the third time in 70 years that an international group has crossed this border. We will also hold international peace symposiums in both Pyongyang and Seoul where we can listen to Korean women and strategize about peace initiatives. The women involved in Women Cross the DMZ include peace activists, writers, professors, lawyers, gender equality advocates, former diplomats, UN representatives, and humanitarians.
Call it irony or call it a nightmare, but the “crisis” of Central American children crossing the U.S.-Mexican border, which lasted for months amid fervent and angry debate, is now fading from the news. The media stories have been legion, the words expended many. And yet, as the “crisis” leaves town, as the sound and fury die down and attention shifts elsewhere (even though the children continue to arrive), the real factors that would have made sense of what’s been happening remain essentially untouched and largely unmentioned. It couldn’t be stranger — or sadder. Since late June 2014, the “surge” of those thousands of desperate children entering this country has been in the news. Sensational stories were followed by fervent demonstrations and counter-demonstrations with emotions running high. And it’s not a debate that stayed near the southern border either. In my home state, Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick tearfully offered to detain some of the children — and that was somehow turned into a humanitarian gesture that liberals applauded and anti-immigrant activists decried. Meanwhile the mayor of Lynn, a city north of Boston, echoed nativists on the border, announcing that her town didn’t want any more immigrants. The months of this sort of emotion, partisanship, and one-upmanship have, however, diverted attention from the real issues. As so often is the case, there is so much more to the story than what we’ve been hearing in the news.
Photos leaked Thursday from a U.S. Border Patrol facility in the Rio Grande Valley show overflowing holding facilities of immigrants, many of whom are children. The photos, obtained by the conservative website Breitbart, show hundreds of immigrants believed to be in the country illegally from Central America and Mexico being held in crowded concrete rooms similar to a jail cell. Many of the children appear to be teenagers but some clearly are younger. The photos have a timestamp of May 27, 2014. A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agency has not “officially released any photos at this time in order to protect the rights and privacy of unaccompanied minors in our care.” “The influx of unaccompanied children across the southwest border has resulted in an urgent humanitarian situation,” the CBP spokesperson said. “It requires a whole of government coordinated and sustained response.” President Barack Obama has directed an effort, lead by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to provide resources and “humanitarian relief to affected children,” which is a “priority,” the spokesperson said. It is unclear who leaked the photos to Breitbart.