No More Deaths, an immigration rights advocacy group, reports that Border Control agents have surrounded their humanitarian aid camp in southern Arizona. At the camp, volunteers are able to provide food, water, and basic first aid to immigrants who cross the US-Mexican border – an act that drew the attention and surveillance of the Border Patrol.
The Border Patrol frequently threatens No More Deaths volunteers, or slashes apart the water bottles that they leave along the most frequently traveled routes.
Those water bottles save lives, especially in the southern desert where summertime temperatures soar above 100 degrees and migrants suffer from heat exhaustion, dehydration, and possibly death when those are left untreated.
Such behavior violates morality and even international human rights law, which forbids a government from destroying humanitarian aid. Even the Border Patrol officially does not condemn leaving out water for thirty immigrants crossing the border.
And now, with new legislation coming out of the House of Representatives, that sort of behavior might become even more common. The Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act actually reduces the amount of training and hiring standards for its agents on the border, and exempt them from a polygraph test.
Sixty-five percent of applicants fail the polygraph test, and exempting them will put those people on the border, patrolling it, and possibly imperiling people’s lives. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427427/Jim_Larkin
The failed polygraphs often involved gruesome confessions, of drug smuggling, rape, and other serious criminal offenses. Without a polygraph, those might never surface, but the Border Patrol probably wanted them gone in order to reach the hiring boosts ordered by the Trump administration.
Hiring boosts have often gone hand-in-hand with increases in corruption and torture. From 2003 to 2016, the Border Patrol doubled its agents. In the same period, the number of Border Patrol agents charged with civil rights violations or off-duty crimes rose by 44 percent. Nearly 200 were arrested for corruption between 2004 and now, and agents have shot and killed at least 67 people.
Those sorts of incidents are exactly what No More Deaths is concerned about as the Border Patrol continues to encircle and harass their camp, and destroy the supplies left out for migrants. Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin have also documented over 30,000 cases of abuse and mistreatment by the Border Patrol against immigrants in custody.
No More Deaths works in partnership with the Lacey and Larkin Foundation. Lacey and Jim have co-founded the Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media, two news organizations dedicated to speaking up for the voiceless in the immigration debate.
The Foundation draws its revenue from the 3.75 million dollar arrest settlement after they were arrested by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The arrests happened after a grand jury ruled that they should surrender all their notes on the Sheriff and identify readers of their papers who read stories involving Joe Arpaio.
They appealed and won on the U.S 9th circuit court of appeals, citing their First Amendment Rights, then took that money and have used it to fund migrant rights organizations throughout Arizona.
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