Tucson, AZ- A hidden camera video released by Tucson-based humanitarian organization No More Deaths
shows an agent of the U.S. Border Patrol removing clean blankets and
food intended for migrants in distress. The January 8 video captures a
Border Patrol agent on a desert trail near the town of Arivaca, Arizona,
about 12 miles north of the international border. The agent stops,
opens a plastic bag surrounding dry blankets and canned food, inspects
the contents, and then leaves, removing the life-saving provisions.
Between January 9 and 15 temperatures in southern Arizona dropped to
historic lows, and the blankets and food are provided by humanitarian
organizations to prevent death and illness due to these extreme
temperatures. The January 8 video can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqJUUf2EKhg.
Says No More Deaths Medical Advisor, Dr. Norma Price: “We know that
hypothermia can be equally dangerous as dying from heat stroke in the
summer. This month has been one of the most severe that Arizona has
ever had. There is no question, people are crossing in the desert and
their lives could be saved if they were given blankets and warm
clothing.” During Fiscal Year 2012 the remains of 178 people were
recovered from the southern Arizona desert.
In May 2012 another hidden camera video caught Border Patrol agents
vandalizing caches of life-saving water. Video of this incident aired
on July 20, 2012 on PBS’ Need to Know program, as part of a
series highlighting abuses committed by agents against migrants in their
custody (the May 2012 can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za_Tmt9rSGI).
In response to this incident, then-Sector Chief Rick Barlow sent a memo
to all agents instructing them to respect humanitarian workers and
provisions. Despite this memo, volunteers have seen consistent and
widespread vandalism and removal of life-saving water, food and blankets
(photos of recent vandalism, from January 15, 2013, can be seen at: http://stevepaige.zenfolio.com/p600885186).
In an effort to prevent the cruel deaths and suffering commonplace in the U.S./Mexico borderlands, No More Deaths
and other humanitarian aid organizations provide food, water and
emergency medical aid to individuals in distress. It is shocking to see
Border Patrol agents sabotaging these efforts, instead of helping to
respond to the humanitarian catastrophe that U.S. border enforcement
strategy has itself unleashed.
Contact: Sarah Launius
Cell Phone: [url=tel:%28520%29%20240-1641](520) 240-1641[/url]
[No More Deaths is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization
that provides direct humanitarian assistance to women, men and children
lost, injured or ill while crossing through the Arizona desert. More
than 6,000 people have died along the border since 1998. In October
2011 No More Deaths published A Culture of Cruelty,
which documented thousands of abuses, including assault, humiliation and
medical neglect committed by Border Patrol agents against individuals
in their custody. The report also includes recommendations for clear,
enforceable custody standards with community oversight to ensure
compliance. Read more at www.cultureofcruelty.org]
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