With military-style force, including circling helicopters, around 15 Border Patrol trucks, at least two dozen heavily armed agents and, of course, a film crew to record the event, humanitarian group No More Deaths’ camp in Arivaca was raided on June 15, 2017.
This action occurred despite agreements and working protocol that previously existed among the volunteer group and Border Patrol, which this action broke unilaterally.
The agents raided the camp after presenting a search warrant.
As we reported in Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, the camp was under siege earlier last week when agents surrounded the humanitarian relief area, surveying who entered and exited the private property in the middle of the desert, around 11 miles from the Arizona-Mexico border.
This raid also sadly marks a departure from policies set by the Obama administration for dealing with the world-renowned organization.
Since 2004, No More Deaths has given water, food and medical attention to individuals crossing the desert, often saving lives. The nonprofit has developed a rudimentary but efficient camp facility with donated items and services to provide first aid to immigrants in one of the cruelest sections of the Arizona-Mexico borderland. You can read a description of the camp’s work here.
This raid represents the latest instance of a tense relationship between Border Patrol and humanitarian groups. In the past, volunteers for NMD and a similar group, the Tucson Samaritans, have witnessed and recorded agents slashing water jugs placed in the desert for immigrants.
Most worrisome, CBP is trying to make the camp unusable for migrants by making them fear being captured at the facility. This is all happening the week that temperatures are climbing toward record-breaking highs.
CBP’s search warrant stated that four individuals were photographed by a sensor at 4:25 on Tuesday, minutes before NMD volunteers claim the men arrived at the camp. Additionally, volunteers and leaders of the humanitarian group wonder why CBP waited until the immigrants reached the camp to seek their detention when they had ample opportunities to do so closer to the border.
We will keep you updated on this issue.