A study by humanitarian groups recently revealed border patrol agents systematically vandalize containers of water and other supplies left in the desert for migrants. Their actions mean almost certain deaths to those attempting to survive several days in scorching temperatures while crossing the border.
‘No More Deaths’ and ‘La Coalición de Derechos Humanos’ are volunteer groups who leave water containers, food, and blankets for undocumented immigrants in the Arizona desert. The journey is harrowing, and people are subject to intense cold and intense heat.
They face all these hurdles with less than excellent resources. Militia members, hunters, and hikers are partly responsible for damaging the aid drops, but border patrol’s damage is a systematic practice.
Volunteers found 415 gallons of water vandalized on average twice a week in one same patch of the Sonoran desert south-west of Tucson. “I remember smashing and stepping on water bottles being imparted to us in one way or another,” an unnamed former Border Patrol agent recalled.
From March 2012 to December 2015 a total of 4119 gallons got damaged – 533 birds, cattle, and other animals. Humans destroyed 3,586. “The practice of destruction of and interference with aid is not the deviant behavior of a few rogue border patrol agents, it is a systemic feature of enforcement practices in the borderlands,” said the humanitarian study.
A 37-year-old Mexican named Miguel shared his experience:
“They break the bottles so you can’t even use them to fill up in the tanks. I needed water, some of the other people in the group needed water, but we found them destroyed. [I felt] helplessness, rage. They [the US border patrol] must hate us.”
President Donald Trump is working on building a fortified border wall around the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border and plans on hiring 5,000 additional border agents. With Trump’s crackdown on immigration and border enforcement, more will get deported, more will attempt to return, and more will lose their lives.
This article was inspired by THE GUARDIAN // US border patrol routinely sabotages water left for migrants, report says