Feathered Bastard

Border Patrol Agent Steals Blankets, Provisions Meant for Migrants, Says No More Deaths

NMD video from a hidden camera dated January 8

When U.S. Border Patrol Agents are not shooting each other or unarmed teenagers, they like to destroy water jugs and steal supplies left in the desert for crossing migrants.

That's the charge of the Tucson-based group No More Deaths, which has captured the Border Patrol's finest with hidden cameras vandalizing and ripping off goods left by NMD.

The latest NMD YouTube video along these lines is from a January 8 incident, which seems to show a BPA taking off with a bag of blankets and canned food left for immigrants coming up from Mexico.

See also: -Blood's Thicker Than Water: As Thousands Die in the Arizona Desert as a Result of U.S. Border Policy, an Army of Activists Intervenes -Mexican Smugglers Exploit the Corrupt Reputation of U.S. Border Officers -Grinding Justice: Operation Streamline Costs Millions, Tramples the Constitution, Treats Migrants Like Cattle, and Doesn't Work

"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," NMD said in a press release accompanying a video link.

"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."

BPAs vandalize water jugs meant for migrants in video captured last year

The release claims that in response to a previous NMD video showing a Border Patrol Agent gleefully kicking water jugs, "then-Sector Chief Rick Barlow sent a memo to all agents instructing them to respect humanitarian workers and provisions."

Nevertheless, NMD states, "Despite this memo, volunteers have seen consistent and widespread vandalism and removal of life-saving water, food and blankets."

I called the Border Patrol's Tucson sector for comment, but have yet to receive a call back from a spokesperson.

In general, BPAs are not known for their compassion. Last year, NMD published the report A Culture of Cruelty, documenting "thousands of abuses, including assault, humiliation and medical neglect committed by Border Patrol agents against individuals in their custody."

More than 6,000 people have died crossing the desert since 1998, according NMD, with 179 remains being found last year.

Kudos to NMD for exposing this latest outrage, and for all of the life-saving humanitarian work they do.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons