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Home | Tag Archives: trump’s border policy

Tag Archives: trump’s border policy

Temporary immigration detention facilities to open in El Paso, Rio Grande Valley

El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley are less than two weeks away from the scheduled opening of temporary detention centers that will each house up to 500 migrants who have crossed the border to seek asylum.

The facilities, commonly referred to as a “tent cities,” are the federal government’s response to the ongoing crush of migrants, mainly from Central America, who continue to cross into Texas after traveling through Mexico.

“U.S. Customs & Border Protection urgently needs to provide for additional shelter capacity to accommodate individuals in CBP’s custody throughout the southwest border,” CBP said in a written statement. “The overwhelming number of individuals arriving daily to the U.S. has created an immediate need for additional processing space in El Paso, Texas and Donna, Texas.”

On Thursday, a U.S. Border Patrol official who asked not to be named said the facility would likely be at the agency’s station in northeast El Paso near U.S. Highway 54. Bulldozers and tractors with flattening rollers could be seen Thursday at the site, which also included five small, military-style tents used to house migrants. The CBP office in El Paso would not confirm that the station would be the location of the new facility.

The federal government’s solicitation for vendors names Deployed Resources of Rome, New York, as the company the government is in negotiations with to supply kitchen equipment, showers, laundries, bathrooms and office space. The solicitation says the government only plans to negotiate with one company “because the facilities need to be established by April 30, 2019.” The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the contract.

The two facilities will cost about $37.2 million through the end of the year, according to federal documents.

The opening of the new facilities would come just more than three months after the Trump administration shut down a similar facility in nearby Tornillo, about 20 miles east of the El Paso city limits. That facility was erected in June and housed hundreds of unaccompanied minors who crossed the border to seek asylum.

Temporary facilities have been used for years to house undocumented immigrants when U.S. Border Patrol facilities are beyond their capacity to shelter migrants. The Obama administration opened a temporary facility at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force base in 2014 in response to a surge of unaccompanied minors who had crossed the border. And in 2016, a facility opened at the Tornillo site in response to another surge of unaccompanied minors and families crossing the border, the El Paso Times reported.

Read related Tribune coverage

Author: JULIÁN AGUILARThe Texas Tribune

Trump backs off threat to close southern border immediately, says he’ll give Mexico ‘one-year warning’ on drugs, migrants

President Trump on Thursday backed down from his threat to close the southern border immediately, telling reporters at the White House that he is giving Mexico a “one-year warning” before taking action.

Trump had said he would close the border or at least large sections of it, this week if Mexico does not halt illegal immigration into the United States.

But in Thursday’s exchange with reporters, Trump shifted gears, saying that if Mexico does not make progress on stemming the flow of drugs and migrants into the United States within the next year, he will impose tariffs on cars and close the border.

“We’re going to give them a one-year warning, and if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, particularly cars . . . And if that doesn’t stop the drugs, we close the border,” Trump said.

Author:  FELICIA SONMEZ, THE WASHINGTON POST

Op-Ed: Paychecks or Humanity?

I cross the international border between Cd. Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas about 4 times a week. I am amongst the thousands of transnational fronterizxs that live their life crossing the frontera as part of their weekly routine.

I cross over there easily to enjoy what I call the homeland. My veins bleed proud Mexican blood that was passed onto me by my parents.

When I cross back, I am questioned as to why I was in Juarez and my answer is always the same, because it’s my second home. I detest Border Patrol; the migra that instills fear into so many people.

Now, I’m often antagonized when I share my opinions about Border Patrol and ICE. People will argue that those people who work for these government sectors are simply people, like you and I, who are trying to make a living.

I think it’s important to note that I am in no way trying to dehumanize these men and women who work for CBP and ICE. But I also find that the attempt to separate these humans from the accountability of their actions is problematic.

At this very moment, there are men, women and children in cages like animals. They spent days outside, underneath a bridge exposed to whatever the climate was. It was reported that children had bruises on their bodies from sleeping on the floor on top of rocks.

Whether or not Border Patrol agents “signed up” to do this when they applied for the job, they did it and they continue to get paid to do it. This makes every single man and woman who works for Border Patrol guilty of accepting paychecks for executing the inhumane treatment of migrant men, women and children.

I’ve had this conversation with both those who agree with me and those who disagree, and it seems like the argument I’ve come across the most is that these people who work for this government or this current administration need to feed their own families and thus have no choice.

If we can make this argument for these modern oppressive structures, can we not make them for say, Nazi soldiers and SS officers?

It can be argued that it is unlikely that EVERY SINGLE NAZI shared Adolf Hitlers’ dream of a “pure Germany,” but does that erase the damage that was done by every single Nazi that helped exterminate 6 million Jews?

How do we separate the inherently racist jobs that people do from the person who does them?

The answer is simple. We don’t.

If the humanity of others can be erased by a paycheck, then you are part of a broken system and you should and will be held accountable for the evil actions that you enact.

Border Patrol and ICE are organizations that’s entire existence is dependent on racist and xenophobic policies.

These conversations are uncomfortable for many people because we don’t want to think of our Tio in CBP or father in ICE as racist or xenophobic. And maybe they’re not blatantly so.

But when they put on a badge and drag children into cages, they are fueling a system that sees citizenship as a dealbreaker for treating someone as a human being that deserves respect and THAT is xenophobic. When an organization specifically targets folx with brown skin while simultaneously ignoring migrants from other countries (that are white), that IS racist.

There will be accountability.

Revolution is coming and it will remember the monsters who “did their job” and ignored morality.

Guest Contributor: Chandelier Kahlo  |  Previous Columns HERE

***

The El Paso Herald-Post welcomes all guest columns, open letters, letters to the Editor and analysis pieces for publication, to submit a piece or for questions regarding guidelines, please email us at news@epheraldpost.com

Texas Republicans warn Trump about ramifications of closing U.S.-Mexico border

As President Donald Trump threatens to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border, some of the highest-ranking Texans from within his own party are warning about the consequences of doing so.

“Closing the border to legal commerce would be devastating to Texas,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Millions of jobs, in Texas and across the country, depend upon trade with Mexico, and the federal government shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize those jobs.”

Trump recently threatened to close the border — or large sections of it — this week if Mexico didn’t “immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States.” While Trump has since eased up on the threat, it was enough to set off alarms in Texas, particularly in the business community.

The Texas Association of Business said Monday that one in five jobs in the state is dependent upon trade and that “no group stands to lose more than Texans in communities” along the border such as El Paso and Laredo. The business group pressed state leaders to speak out — and it was clear by Wednesday evening that some of them had gotten the message.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he had spoken with Trump on the phone about the issue.

“I told him that I understand his frustration, but I also believe shutting down the border would have a lot of unintended consequences,” Cornyn said. He added that he “asked the president to let me work with this administration to come up with more targeted ways to encourage Mexico and Central America to work more cooperatively with us.”

Asked what Trump’s reaction was, Cornyn said the president was “responsive” and told the senator to talk with Cabinet members.

Even Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — Trump’s biggest cheerleader in Texas, particularly when it comes to his immigration policies — made clear he opposed a border closure. The Texas Senate, which Patrick presides over, passed a resolution Tuesday along party lines that declared an emergency at the border.

“I’m not for shutting the entire border,” Patrick said in an interview Wednesday morning with Fox News Radio. “The commerce would dramatically impact Texas, America and Mexico. I’d like to see the commercial lanes flow.”

Still, like other Republicans, Patrick sympathized with Trump’s frustrations — and offered one solution.

“Maybe he needs to send a message and close one port, one entry point,” Patrick said.

Disclosure: The Texas Association of Business has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Author:  PATRICK SVITEK – The Texas Tribune

Trump’s emergency declaration could mean Texas’ military installations lose millions for future projects

Texas’ largest military bases could lose tens of millions of dollars already earmarked for future projects if President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to build a border barrier withstands legal challenges and the administration diverts money from the military for wall construction.

The bases include U.S. Army and Air Force installations at Joint Base San Antonio, Army installations at Fort Bliss in El Paso and Fort Hood in Killeen, and the Naval Reserve center in Galveston, according to the office of U.S. Rep Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo.

In all, about $265 million for construction and other projects on military bases in Texas could be diverted to build walls on the southern border, according to a list of potential projects the Department of Defense released to lawmakers Monday.

The president signed his emergency declaration after a five-week government shutdown spurred when Congress refused to approve $5.7 billion that Trump requested for border barriers. The president issued a national emergency declaration last month that would divert billions in defense spending to construct the barriers. The U.S. House and Senate voted recently to oppose the declaration, but the president vetoed the measure.

“After failing to convince the Government of Mexico or U.S. Congress to pay for his ineffective wall, the President is trying to bypass constitutional authority and undermine the training, readiness, and quality of life of our military and their families in Texas,” Cuellar said in a written statement.

Joint Base San Antonio could lose about $10 million for an air traffic control tower, $10 million for an aerospace operations facility, $38 million for a military training classroom and dining hall, and more than $13 million for a vehicle maintenance shop. Fort Bliss could lose $20 million for defense access roads, more than $8 million for a blood processing center and $24 million for supply support.

At least seven lawsuits have been filed to halt any wall construction under the emergency declaration, including litigation filed by El Paso County and the Laredo-based Rio Grande International Study Center.

“It’s clear that @realDonaldTrump’s political stunt only hurts our troops and endangers our national security. This must end!” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D- El Paso, tweeted Monday after learning about the potential cuts.

It’s not clear which projects will be chosen or when that decision will be made. The Department of Defense noted that construction projects already awarded and other projects awarded during the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, won’t be affected. If money for a border wall is included in the next federal budget, none of the projects listed will be affected, the fact sheet states.

The Department of Homeland Security didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Cuellar’s statements.

Author: JULIÁN AGUILARThe Texas Tribune

Tornillo Tent City for Youth Migrants is Now Empty, Texas Congressman Says

A Texas congressman said Friday that the federal government has officially removed all children from the Tornillo detention center for undocumented migrant youths, ending more than half a year of operation for a facility that was decried by critics as a “tent city” and served as a symbol of President Donald Trump’s hardline approach to immigration.

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican whose West Texas district includes Tornillo, announced the closure on Twitter, saying he had been told about it by the facility’s management.

“This tent city should never have stood in the first place, but it is welcome news that it will be gone,” Hurd said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the center, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The hasty closure comes after Texas-based contractor BCFS Health and Human Services and the federal government originally signed a 30-day contract to operate the facility in June. That contract was extended multiple times, despite BCFS officials arguing that the center was not a long-term solution.

The organization’s president, Kevin Dinnin, told Vice News on Friday that he sent the federal government a letter in December saying the facility wouldn’t accept any more children. The government began taking steps to close Tornillo soon after, Vice reported.

“We as an organization finally drew the line,” Dinnin told Vice. “You can’t keep taking children in and not releasing them.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the pending closure this week. As of Tuesday, there were still 850 children being held in the facility. The department said at the time that it expected the vast majority of the children at the facility to be released “to a suitable sponsor by the end of the month.”

At one time, the facility held more than 2,500 children. It has been the site of numerous protests, drawing politicians from across the country to Texas to urge the Trump administration to shut it down.

News of the closure was applauded by many of those politicians, along with immigrant rights groups.

“Tornillo was a symbol of this administration’s deep inhumanity as shown by their willingness to hold tens of thousands of migrant children in detention,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights.

Julian Aguilar contributed reporting.

Author: MATTHEW WATKINS – The Texas Tribune

President Trump to Visit U.S.-Mexico Border Thursday

President Donald Trump is headed to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the trip Monday morning, saying Trump will visit the border “to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis.”

No additional details were available, including whether Trump would visit the part of the border in Texas. But the Federal Aviation Administration has issued an alert for “VIP movement” near McAllen on Thursday.

Word of Trump’s trip comes more than two weeks into a partial government shutdown prompted by Trump’s demands for funding for a border wall.

Shortly after Sanders announced the visit, Trump tweeted that he would address the nation Tuesday night “on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.”

Word of Trump’s trip comes more than two weeks into a partial government shutdown prompted by Trump’s demands for funding for a border wall.

Shortly after Sanders announced the visit, Trump tweeted that he would address the nation Tuesday night “on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.”

After a visit Monday to a Border Patrol station in Alamogordo, New Mexico, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, said that if the president did come to Texas, it would be a predictable and self-serving visit to promote his long-promised border wall and fuel his narrative that the border needs to be sealed.

“I am absolutely certain that the president is going to head to South Texas to look at what he wants to look at, to talk to who he wants to talk to,” she said. ”He has a solution that’s already preplanned, that’s the wall. You’re not going to get to true solutions until you talk to various people.”

Escobar and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairman, were part of a delegation that visited the station to press for more details on the death of 8-year old Felipe Gomez Alonzo, a Guatemalan immigrant who died last month after he and his father were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents in El Paso.

Last week, the president said he might consider declaring a national emergency in order for construction of wall to begin without congressional funding.

Anticipating that the president could announce the initiative Tuesday night, members of Congress said they would take every action possible to stop construction before it began.

“It would be profoundly inappropriate for the president of the United States to circumvent the legislative branch of the United States government, the United States Congress, and single-handedly — against the will of the American people and the American Congress — put up a border wall on the US-Mexico border,” said Castro, D-San Antonio.

Patrick Svitek reported from Austin, and Julián Aguilar reported from Alamagordo, New Mexico.

Author: PATRICK SVITEK AND JULIÁN AGUILAR –  The Texas Tribune

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