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Gottinger writes: "On Thursday evening, 30 armed US Border Patrol agents, 15 trucks, 2 ATVs, and a helicopter were used to raid a humanitarian aid facility delivering medical treatment to refugees a few miles north of the Mexican border."

US Border Patrol agents arrest immigrants attempting to enter the US. (photo: ABC News)
US Border Patrol agents arrest immigrants attempting to enter the US. (photo: ABC News)

US Border Patrol Agents Conduct Military-Style Raid on Camp Delivering Medical Aid to Refugees Near US/Mexico Border

By Paul Gottinger, Reader Supported News

16 June 17


n Thursday evening, 30 armed US Border Patrol agents, 15 trucks, 2 ATVs, and a helicopter were used to raid a humanitarian aid facility delivering medical treatment to refugees a few miles north of the Mexican border. Border Patrol operations ended in the arrest of four people receiving medical attention in temperatures that soared to 105° Fahrenheit.

The camp, which is run by the Unitarian Universalist organization No More Deaths, stated that the raid was “an unprecedented show of force” and follows a pattern of increased surveillance of their humanitarian aid work since the beginning of the Trump administration.

The raid also violated a longstanding agreement between No More Deaths and US Border Patrol.

Under the Obama administration, Border Patrol made an agreement to treat the camp near Arivaca, Arizona, as a medical facility and to refrain from arresting immigrants receiving medical attention.

The agreement also stated that Border Patrol officers had to be trained in the Red Cross Code of Conduct and respect the independent mission of humanitarian organizations.

In a written statement, No More Deaths declared, “Obstruction of humanitarian aid is an egregious abuse by the law enforcement agency, a clear violation of international humanitarian law and a violation of the organization’s written agreement with the Tucson Sector Border Patrol.”

The intimidation and disruption of neutral humanitarian workers is typically a problem found in conflict zones and in countries with authoritarian governments. NGOs like the Red Cross have condemned foreign governments for attacks on health facilities abroad.

On Tuesday, Border Patrol agents began setting up checkpoints near their camp, conducting surveillance, and interrogating people leaving the camp about their citizenship status.

Border Patrol claims to have been tracking the individuals, but it waited until they arrived at the camp to arrest them.

A spokesman for No More Deaths told an Arizona paper the raid "feels like a direct and targeted attack on the humanitarian assistance we are providing during these hot and deadly days."

Border Control claims to have “reached out” to No More Deaths to “resolve the situation,” but they deemed those attempts unsuccessful and then served a warrant to search the camp.

In its statement, Border Patrol implies that it asked No More Deaths to turn over a number of people to them but that they refused.

Reader Supported News contacted US Border Patrol to ask whether it’s now their policy to detain people seeking medical care at the No More Death camp, but a representative with Border Control didn’t provide an answer.

It’s likely that many people traveling through the dangerous and remote desert near the aid camp had already avoided medical treatment for fear of deportation or incarceration in facilities that the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as inhumane.

The recent raid will likely scare even more people away from seeking treatment and very likely result in deaths. Since 1998, more than 7,000 people have died attempting to cross into the US, and 1,200 have gone missing just in the last year.

Eva Lewis, a volunteer at No More Deaths, told RSN, “Border Patrol tracked those they arrested yesterday for 18 miles before arresting them at our camp. They’re using No More Deaths camp as a trap.”

She continued, “The Border Patrol placed a sensor and camera just outside the camp. The Border Patrol needs to stand down and let us do our humanitarian work. As it stands, the camp is no longer a safe place for people to seek medical care.”

No More Deaths said, “The targeting of this critical medical aid is a shameful reflection of the current administration’s disregard for the lives of migrants and refugees, making an already dangerous journey even more deadly.”

No More Deaths released a report last year documenting how US Border Patrol uses the desert as a weapon to bring about the deaths and disappearances of thousands of migrants crossing into the US. The report says Border Control agents chase and scatter border crossers across the deadly deserts of the Southwest to create a “vast graveyard of the missing.”

Paul Gottinger is a staff reporter at RSN whose work focuses on the Middle East and the arms industry. He can be reached on Twitter @paulgottinger or via email.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+39 # Art947 2017-06-16 17:36
In the Nurenberg-type trials that will take place after Drumpf and his band of thugs is finally removed from office, U.S. Border Patrol Officers, ICE agents, and other members of these blights against American humanity may be brought to the justice that they deserve. "Just following orders" did not protect the German Nazis and it certainly won't protect American Nazis either.
+18 # Jim Rocket 2017-06-17 00:51
"Will Pence continue the rape of human rights, tax breaks to top, continued voter suppression to keep the GOP in Congress, etc?"

I would be shocked if Pence DIDN'T continue the same policies.
0 # Woratnac 2017-06-17 05:34
Wish it were so. Well, we can dream, can't we....
+6 # wantrealdemocracy 2017-06-17 08:24
Fat lot of good dreaming will do. We all are living under the American dream and it is a nightmare. We must rise up and change our government at all levels. How long can we sit dreaming of a better life of peace and justice when day after day we are assaulted with such police brutality and the loss of our civil rights?
+27 # giraffee23 2017-06-16 17:55
Will Pence continue the rape of human rights, tax breaks to top, continued voter suppression to keep the GOP in Congress, etc? Anyway, please find the goods on Trump ASAP and get him OUT ASAP before complete chaos and destruction consumes USA people in the non-rich population
0 # Jim Rocket 2017-06-17 08:30
I replied to the wrong post. See above.
+1 # NAVYVET 2017-06-19 18:34
To Jim Rocket: I expect most of us guessed that. I'm now reading George Lakoff's THE POLITICAL MIND--a good read, but not quite up to date. The so-called "conservatives" we meet in this book are egotistic, selfish and greedy, but Drumpf and his administration go beyond what Lakoff could envision as recently as Dubya's mentality of 2007. We also need to remember that empathy for immigrants ended with Obama, who was either mind-controlled by people as un-empathetic as the current Unpresidented con artist, or he was a talented con artist himself.
+17 # jsluka 2017-06-16 20:53
We have found the enemy, and he is us.

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