Border Patrol agents ‘systematically destroy food and water aid for migrants’
According to reports from two Tuscon, Arizona based humanitarian groups, the United States Border Patrol is systematically destroying food and water supplies which have been designated for migrant aid in an attempt to punish those who cross into the country from Mexico. From March 2012 to December 2015, in an 800 square mile patch of the Sonoran desert southwest of Tuscon, volunteers found gallon containers of water vandalized 415 times, which comes out to an average of twice a week. Additionally, the report accuses border patrol agents of vandalizing food and blankets and harassing volunteers in the field.
No More Deaths and La Coalicion de Derechos Humanos published the report, explaining: “Through statistical analysis, video evidence, and personal experience, our team has uncovered a disturbing reality. In the majority of cases, US border patrol agents are responsible for the widespread interference with essential humanitarian efforts… 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.”
Steve Passament, a border patrol statesman in the Tuscon area, refutes the claims of the two humanitarian groups. “We don’t want to see anyone out there die,” he said in a statement. “If the groups which published the report had evidence of agents sabotaging humanitarian supplies they should immediately bring it to our attention.”
However, Caitlin Deighan, a spokeswoman for No More Deaths, places the aggression and danger faced by migrants in context. Deighan claims the danger facing migrants has been continually accelerated by American decisions to ramp up border militarization and force migrants into a hostile desert climate which date back to President Clinton.
Cited in the report is the account of a 37-year-old Mexican migrant named Miguel, who says plainly: “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. [The US border patrol] must hate us.”