B o r d e r l a n d s    D i g e s t
Reading and Writing about Justice Issues
an online monthly journal with a focus on
 the environment, immigration and first amendment rights

July 1, 2019   (updated July 14)

Page 2       Page 3     Links    Archives   

Photo by Craig Rock
Editor Craig Rock, duniterock@gmail.com
Send in your stories, poems and photos by the 24th of each month.
Click on most images to enlarge.

Six officials at nonprofit Southwest Key, which runs 
migrant child centers, earned more than
$1 million in 2017  Washington Post, July 16, click here

Trump administration diverts Central America aid 
to U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela
Los Angeles Times, July 16, click here

A border patrol agent reveals what it's really like to
guard Migrant Children, ProPublica, July 16, click here

62 border employees under internal investigation 
amid (Facebook) posts  Associated Press, July 15, click here

Justice Department will not charge police in connection 
with Eric Garner's death, Washington Post, July 16, click here

A neo-Nazi unleashed a ‘troll storm.’ Now he could owe 
his Jewish victim $14 million. Washington Post, July 16, click here

Most Migrants at Border With Mexico Would Be Denied 
Asylum Protections Under New Trump Rule, New York Times, July 15, click here

As America traumatizes migrant children, a Chicago safe-haven needs help
Chicago Tribune, July 15, click here

Trump tells four liberal congresswomen to ‘go back’ 
to their countries,prompting Pelosi to defend them, Washington Post, July 14, click here

Armed man killed during attack on ICE detention center, police say
(Tacoma, WA) Washington Post, July 14, click here, For Seattle Times coverage click here

This Land Was Your Land
Federal agencies have been captured by the very industries they should be regulating.
(Opinion by Christopher Ketcham,)  NY Times, July 13, click here
Mr. Ketcham is the author of the forthcoming book “This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption Are Ruining the American West.”

Trump Is Poised to Sign a Radical Agreement to Send
 Future Asylum Seekers to Guatemala, New Yorker Magazine, July 12, click here

How to Indigenize the Green New Deal
 and Environmental Justice
Native Nations and activists must have a seat at the table, High Country News, July 10, click here

83 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back
Under Trump, New York Times, June 7, click here


 More Breaking News Links

The global financial scandal that has spread 
from Malaysia to Hollywood  LA Times, July 10, click here

Desperate to get rid of homeless people, some are using 
prickly plants, fences, barriers  LA Times, July 10, click here

Tijuana asylum line reaches highest count on record as 
migrants protest long waits, San Diego Union Tribune, July 9, click here

Pastor sues DHS over government surveillance program
 targeting migrant advocates, San Diego Union Tribune, July 9, click here

'Protesters as terrorists': growing number of states turn 
anti-pipeline activism into a crime 
 The Guardian, July 8, click here

Hungry, Scared and Sick: 
Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex.
New York Times, July 9, click here

Obamacare in Jeopardy as Appeals Court Hears Case Backed by Trump
New York Times, July 9, click here
Update: Appeals Court skeptical about ACA Survival, Politico, July 9, click here

The Trump administration is harassing those helping migrants. 
The hypocrisy is unmistakable. Washington Post, July 7, click here

The California Coast is disappearing under the rising sea. 
Our choices are grim  LA Times, July 7, click here

U.N. calls Tripoli airstrike that killed 44 migrants possible war crime
Washington Post, July 3, click here

Government Watchdog finds Squalid Conditions in Border Centers
New York Times, July 2, click here

Scott Warren to be retried on 2 migrant harboring charges
Tucson Sentinel, July 2, click here for details, November 12 new trial date, Plea deal rejected 

Arizona to yank aid for Nike plant after company cancels
 ‘Betsy Ross flag’ sneakers, LA Times, July 2, click here

Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents 
Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes
ProPublica, July 1, click here

Seeking direction from the Knowledge Keepers of our nations, an indigenous perspective.
We have left our spirit behind, our spirit that defines our true identity and destiny as human beings, 
which is to be stewards of the earth.  We need to understand this part of our nature, 
that deep part of us that we refer to as the spirit. Cultural Survival, April 5, Click here for more

Web Analytics
Breaking News 

What is this Borderlands Digest?
by Craig Rock, Editor

Welcome to the fifth issue of the monthly Borderlands Digest. Here are a few updates before I go on to list the news stories, links, and opinions featured in this issue.  This journal has been listing news briefs almost daily on pages 1 and 2 throughout the month. During the month of July, please feel free to check back for links to major or unique news stories in the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Tucson, San Antonio Express News, El Paso Times, and other publications. Links are initially on page one but are moved to page 2  after 3 or 4 days.  On the bottom of page 2 you will find a link to a word document that lists links to stories mentioned between February and May 31. Poetry, photos, and other art relating to justice issues are found on the page 3. Press releases from non-profits and links to various organizations involved in justice work are found on the "links" page. 

Since this is a one-person operation, every major story about immigration or the environment will not be included on this site.  If you would like a weekly analysis of more immigration news, for example, I'm recommending Migratory Notes, put together in southern California by four journalists there. Click here to see their June 27 newsletter along with related links. You can also sign up to receive their future mailings.

Please notice that previous issues of my news journal are saved in the "Archives" section of this site on a 'article-by-article' basis. Please let me know if you want to be deleted from this mailing notice. If for some reason I miss getting this journal to you, just check back around the first of every month at the same site (borderlandsdigest.com).  

Please accept my invitation to contribute your work to this news digest.  Ask your friends to participate as well. Only a few contributors have submitted stories and/or photos. Please consider submitting stories about your community. It may be our local communities that provide examples and hope for survival in these troubling times  - when the environment and human decency itself are challenged by ignorance and greed. Financial donations are welcome as well - monthly expenses are becoming significant. Email me your interest to contribute articles, poems, and/or photos by the 24th of every month (duniterock@gmail.com).

For Immediate Release

July 15, 2019


Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), the Committee’s Ranking Member, today lauded the unanimous House passage of the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act (H.R. 2615), which addresses the root causes of migration from Central America by promoting greater security and economic opportunity in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Chairman Engel said, “Rather than cutting off assistance to Central America, we should be deepening our support for the people of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The most effective way to do this is to invest in a safer and more prosperous Central America and create more opportunities for those who live there. Our legislation demonstrates Congress’s continued commitment to the people of Central America.”

Ranking Member McCaul said, “The Northern Triangle countries of Central America continue to face serious challenges that are threatening the region’s stability and driving illegal migration to the United States. In order to address the economic and security hurdles aggravating the crisis at our southern border, we must use all tools at our disposal to address the root cause of the problem. Our legislation supports a five-year strategy and vital funding that prioritizes economic development, strengthens democratic institutions, and supports the work of faith-based organizations committed to lifting up at-risk youth. Additionally, our bill backs critical security measures to combat corruption and criminal gangs like MS-13, that are involved in the trafficking of persons and drugs. I am proud that Congress came together to support this bipartisan measure that will help alleviate the growing crisis at our southern border and look forward to getting this important legislation to the President’s desk.”

Given the urgent need to continue to address the root causes of child and family migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, H.R. 2615 authorizes $577 million of assistance to Central America for Fiscal Year 2020 and includes conditions on any assistance that goes to the central governments of the Northern Triangle countries. It also lays out a series of actions to be taken by the Secretary of State, the USAID Administrator, and other U.S. government officials to promote inclusive economic growth and development, combat corruption, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security conditions. Lastly, it puts in place targeted visa bans and asset freezes for corrupt individuals from the Northern Triangle countries.

Specifically, the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act does the following:

Authorizes $577 million in foreign assistance to Central America to address the root causes of migration in Fiscal Year 2020. The legislation does not permit newly authorized funds to be used for purposes other than those explicitly authorized. It includes strong conditions on any assistance going to the central governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Requires the State Department and USAID to develop and report to Congress on annual benchmarks to track the progress of the strategy in addressing the drivers of child and family migration.
Requires the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to prioritize inclusive economic growth and development, anticorruption, and strengthening democratic institutions and security conditions in the Northern Triangle. Multi-year strategies and annual progress reports are required in each area. The designation of a Senior Rule of Law Advisor for the Northern Triangle in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs is also mandated as is the prioritization of the private sector’s role in the Northern Triangle countries and southern Mexico through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.
Puts in place targeted visa bans and asset freezes on individuals who are determined to be engaged in acts of corruption impacting the Northern Triangle countries. This includes private citizens, public officials and individuals residing outside of the Northern Triangle who are involved in corruption in these countries.
Enhances engagement with the Mexican government on the Northern Triangle. The Secretary of State and various executive branch agencies are required to support development efforts in southern Mexico and strengthen security cooperation with regard to Mexico’s shared border with Guatemala and Belize.
Requires advance notification to Congress on security assistance to Northern Triangle countries, regardless of the dollar amount, for the following three years.


Who Gets to Own the West
A new group of billionaires is shaking up the landscape.
NY Times, June 22, click here


Just Keep Going North, At the Border
Harpers Magazine, July 2019, click here
article by William T. Vollmann

Feature article about refugees on the both sides of the Mexican - U.S. border 
near Nogales Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. 
(The refugees, the relief workers, the mafia, the border patrol, and others)


1,600 Miles, 85 Hours
From a Monastery in Tucson to Nashville

A Migrant Family Takes a Greyhound Across America

Entering the U.S. at a rate of more than 5,000 a day, 
new arrivals from Central America are departing border towns
 by the busload. And that bus is usually a Greyhound.

NY Times, May 26, Click here


From ProPublica, May 22

Separated by Design: How Some of America’s
 Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing

In southwest Connecticut, the gap between rich and poor is wider than anywhere else in the country. Invisible walls created by local zoning boards and the state government block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.


Caregivers and takers

An investigation BY The Center for Investigative Reporting uncovers
 widespread exploitation of workers who tend to the elderly.

“It’s a classic tale of human greed. Their entire business model is predicated on not making payroll.”
— Tia Koonse
legal and policy research manager at the UCLA Labor Center

Breaking News

Journal Contents - May 2019
(Pages are accessible from links at the top and bottom of each page.)

Page 1 - Breaking News Links; Human Rights Report on Asylum Seekers waiting in Mexico; House bill passes unanimously addressing root causes of Central American migration; Federal Court Permanently Blocks some border wall construction; Committee to Protect Journalists on Press Freedom in Mexico; Just Keep Going North (Harper's magazine story on the many people affected by border life.); A Migrant's Greyhound trip across the country;  El Museo del Barrio in Manhattan; Who Gets to Own the West;  Resistance to affordable housing; Caregivers and takers.

Page 2 - Keeping an Eye on Big Brother; Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime; Some Ways to help Migrant Children; Dangers of keeping Asylum Seekers in Mexico; Recent News Links (Continued from page 1); More Food for thought.

Page 3 - New El Paso Exhibit by Youth on Human Rights Defenders; Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights Standards; Exploring the Library of Congress and the photographs on child labor by Lewis Hine; Utilities helping Navajo communities with access to power; Teaching Art for Social Justice;  Poetry Corner (Poems by Anonymous, David Bolton, Paul Laurence Dunbar, E.E. Griffith, H.M.M., Wildred Own).

Page 4 (Environment - Links and Press Releases) - Katharine Hayhoe, Evangelical Climate Scientist;  Natural Resources Defense Council (on Coal-Powered Plants); Greenpeace (the Amazon); Earth Justice (water pipeline); Sierra Club Borderlands (Border Wall); Links to Interesting Websites.

Page 5 - (Archives) A selection of articles from previous editions (March, April and May).


US: Asylum Seekers Returned to Uncertainty, Danger in Mexico
Little Safety, Shelter, Due Process While Awaiting Immigration Hearings
Human Rights Watch Report, July 2

(El Paso, TX) – The United States government should cease returning asylum seekers to wait in Mexico during their US immigration court proceedings, Human Rights Watch and the Hope Border Institute said in a report released today.

Human Rights Watch’s 50-page report, “‘We Can’t Help You Here’: US Returns of Asylum Seekers to Mexico,” finds that thousands of asylum seekers from Central America and elsewhere, including more than 4,780 children, are facing potentially dangerous and unlivable conditions after US authorities return them to Mexico. The US and Mexico agreed on June 7, 2019 to dramatically expand the returns program.

“The US government has advanced a dangerous fiction that asylum seekers returned to Mexico will have access to work and shelter and a fair chance in US immigration courts,” said Clara Long, senior US researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “Instead, US border officials are stranding mothers with small children and other vulnerable migrants in Mexican border cities where their safety and security are at risk.”

Press Release from Southern Border Communities Coalition (June 28)

Federal Court Permanently Block Billions of Dollars
 in Border Wall Construction

OAKLAND, CA — A federal court today permanently blockedthe Trump administration from accessing $2.5 billion in military funds for the president’s border wall, ruling that the administration’s attempt to transfer funds for a border wall Congress denied is unlawful. 

Wall construction using the funds, which the administration announced it would divert under counterdrug authorities, was set to begin as soon as Monday.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) challenging the president’s abuse of emergency powers.

“We welcome the court’s decision to block Trump’s attempts to sidestep Congress to build deadly walls that would hurt communities living at the border, endanger wildlife, and have damaging impacts on the environment,” said Andrea Guerrero, a member of SBCC‘s steering committee. “Doubling down on the myopic enforcement-only policies of the past has failed our country for decades and border communities will continue to push back at any attempt to further militarize our region.”

Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, who argued the case, said: “Congress was clear in denying funds for Trump’s xenophobic obsession with a wasteful, harmful wall. This decision upholds the basic principle that the president has no power to spend taxpayer money without Congress’ approval. We will continue to defend this core principle of our democracy, which the courts have recognized for centuries.”

On February 15, 2019, President Trump declared a national emergency so he could illegally divert $6.7 billion for the border wall project. The declaration came after the president put the country through the longest government shutdown in U.S. history over Congress’s refusal to fund his border wall. It also came after Congress allocated a small portion of the money that Trump demanded and imposed restrictions on where and how quickly any border barriers could be built.

While declaring the national emergency, Trump stated he “didn’t need to do this” but he’d prefer to build the wall “much faster.” He added that he declared a national emergency because he was “not happy” that Congress “skimped” on the wall by denying him the billions he demanded.

The administration identified three sources for the wall funds: $3.6 billion to come from military construction projects using the president’s emergency declaration; $2.5 billion from other military accounts under counterdrug authorities; and the remaining $601 million to come from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund.

U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam today granted the ACLU’s request, on behalf of the Sierra Club and SBCC, to permanently block the Trump administration from constructing the border wall using any of the $2.5 billion diverted under counterdrug authorities. The government has not yet taken any action on the $3.6 billion in military construction projects, and that question is not yet before the court.

“We applaud the court’s decision to protect our Constitution, communities, and the environment today,” said Gloria Smith, Managing Attorney at the Sierra Club. “We've seen the damage that the ever-expanding border wall has inflicted on communities and the environment for decades. Walls divide neighborhoods, worsen dangerous flooding, destroy lands and wildlife, and waste resources that should instead be used on the infrastructure these communities truly need.”

The ACLU, Sierra Club, and SBCC’s lawsuit argues the president is usurping Congress’s appropriations power and violating the clearly defined separation of powers inscribed in the Constitution. The border wall project — if carried out as directed under the president’s emergency proclamation — would cause irreparable harm to the environment and communities living at the border.

If constructed, the wall sections would worsen flooding, destroy lands and wildlife, and waste resources along ecologically- and culturally-critical areas. These areas include the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, the San Bernardino and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuges, the San Pedro River, the Coronado National Memorial, and the Colorado River. The wall sections would also have divided border communities, including the Tohono O’odham Nation, Cocopah Indian Tribe, and ranches and households in Luna, Doña Ana, Pima, and Cochise counties.

Read the ruling by clicking here.   Additional information about the case, Sierra Club et al v. Trump, can be found by clicking here. 

Press Release from Committee to Protect Journalists (cpj.org)

Press freedom in Mexico takes center stage at CPJ summit

Mexico City, June 18, 2019--Journalists, policy makers, and human rights experts gathered today at a press freedom summit in Mexico City, hosted by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The event centered on the press freedom crisis in Mexico, which is the deadliest country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere and the deadliest in the world thus far in 2019. Experts also highlighted emerging threats to press freedom in Mexico and the Americas.

The event, attended by 350 people, focused on impunity for journalist murders in Mexico, the relationship between the media and the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and press freedom in the region. Speakers included investigative journalist Anabel Hernández, congressional representative Tatiana Clouthier, and Daniel Moreno, the director of news site Animal Político. Alejandro Encinas, Mexico's subsecretary for human rights, and Jesús Cantú, the head of information and social communications for the office of the Mexican presidency, also participated in panels.

"Let me be clear: The level of violence and impunity against Mexican journalists represents a crisis for this country, and a direct threat to Mexico's democracy," said Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director, in prepared remarks. He later added, "I believe that the president has an historic opportunity to transform the relationship between the media and power and to address the issue of impunity and violence against the press. But the opportunity is fleeting."

The summit comes during a particularly challenging period for journalists in Mexico, with more journalists killed in Mexico in 2019 than in any other country. Mexico also has the highest number of missing journalists globally, with 14 cases. Along with physical threats, journalists and their families have faced targeted surveillance and news outlets have encountered cyberattacks.

The event came together with the help of an organizing committee made up of CPJ, Zeta Tijuana general director Adela Navarro Bello, Reporters Without Borders, Article 19-Office for Mexico and Central America, and R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales.

Find more of our data and reporting on Mexico here. To arrange an interview with a CPJ expert, email press@cpj.org

Read more of CPJ's work for journalists on their website, www.cpj.org