Updated: Jul 13, 2019
After celebrating the release of My Random Death at the Tecolote Book Shop in Montecito on June 1st, I had a calling to go south to witness the border culture and to feel Trump's “wall”. In my memoir, I wrote about how horrific stories of the Holocaust accompanied my childhood bedtime reading. Now, more than 55-years later, I see history repeating itself and cannot be like those who stood by and did nothing while millions of Jews and others were corralled, starved, and ultimately exterminated. We must speak out. Never again means now.
California’s Governor Newsom is willing to face-off against Trump’s cruel immigration policies. So on my trip south, I did not see detained children but did experience those living and working at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa border crossings into Mexico. These areas are economically intertwined in both countries. On the American side, international currency exchangers haggle in rundown shops situated next to modern-day shopping centers. All are minutes away for people passing through customs on foot and in cars. Steel rust colored fencing stretches for miles and miles and does not run in a straight line but twists and wraps around hills and valleys. I got up close to touch it. Cold. Even in the heat of the day.
Major construction is currently underway at San Ysidro to build a new pedestrian crossing. Perhaps it's to handle requests for political asylum more efficiently. Hopefully, fairly. Under the US Constitution due process rights are afforded to the citizen and non-citizen alike. The American Immigration Council states, “Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee.” The United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol define a refugee as a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Congress incorporated this definition into U.S. immigration law in the Refugee Act of 1980". What was once considered only a misdemeanor offense, Trump and ‘his administration’ declared it a felony, making it illegal to touch US soil and seek political asylum except through known points of entry. Meanwhile he’s stymied proper procedural crossings and limited the grounds to petition our government for protection.
In the early ‘90s, I associated with a Los Angeles law firm that handled political asylum cases. Although our Immigration laws and regulations change from time to time, they usually adhere to the principle of fairness and humane treatment inherent in our jurisprudence. Ok, our practice and procedures evolve over time, and I became a federal criminal appeals attorney to ensure a defendant’s arrest, pre-trial detention, conviction and incarceration was just and fair under the law. Now, I’m overwhelmed by the living hell and hate inflicted on children, their separated families, and unaccompanied minors under the guise of Trump’s immigration policies. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit just heard oral argument from administrative lawyers who argued it was not an ‘enumerated’ duty to provide soap, blankets and beds, or toothbrushes for kids detained at the Southern border facilities. Filth, overcrowded facilities, and fearful children with lack of proper medical care, is just fine for Trump and his supporters.
I express my distain for this 'solution' to our immigration issues in this blog, my postings on social media, attending protests and rallies, telephoning congressional representatives and senators, and by talking truth to those wanting to lecture me about ‘family values, ‘pro-life doctrine’ and other foolishness used to justify a lack of empathy for kids in cages.