Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Border Patrol removes blankets, water left by humanitarian aid volunteers (video)

desconocido-sig-sm72 Border Patrol agents have been caught on video destroying water jugs and removing clean blankets that No More Deaths humanitarian volunteers left in the Arizona desert for border crossers.

From No More Deaths…

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.

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. [A January 2011 video can be seen below.]  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 below).

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.

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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About

The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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