Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 23, 2018

U.S. Border Patrol Continues Destroying Life Saving Water for Migrants -- New Report 2018

Updates: The Intercept reports 9 volunteers have been arrested for giving humanitarian aid to migrants on southern Arizona border.

Volunteer at No More Deaths arrested hours after the group released this report. Read article in The Guardian.


U.S. Border Patrol has been accused of destroying food and water left in the Arizona desert for migrants. Above, a still from a video of an agent pouring water bottles out 
French translation by Christine Prat

By No More Deaths

Dear friend of No More Deaths,

Today, No More Deaths, in collaboration with La Coalición de Derechos Humanos, is releasing Interference with Humanitarian Aid: Death and Disappearance on the US–Mexico Border. This report is the second installment of a three-part report series entitled Disappeared: How US Border-Enforcement Agencies Are Fueling a Missing-Persons Crisis. In part 2, we detail the intentional destruction of over 3,000 gallons of water left out for border crossers, implicating the US Border Patrol in the majority of this destruction.

Over 7,000 human remains of people believed to be border crossers have been found in the borderlands in the last two decades. Between 2012 and 2015, the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner received the remains of at least 593 border crossers. These numbers do not account for all those who died and are never found.

During that same time period, over 3,500 gallons of water placed on remote and rugged desert trails by No More Deaths were intentionally destroyed, along with food and blankets. The video evidence and statistical analysis provided in the new report implicates the Border Patrol in the widespread destruction of humanitarian-aid supplies. Through personal testimony, we also find the Border Patrol guilty of routine interference with humanitarian-aid efforts, including harassment and surveillance of volunteers in the field. This interference has life-endangering impacts on those forced to cross through isolated and harsh terrain. No More Deaths ultimately calls for an end to the policy of Prevention Through Deterrence, which forces people into this dangerous area. In the meantime, the provision of water and other humanitarian aid is essential.

Border Patrol agents must be held accountable for these actions. We are asking you to call on the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector to make a policy that formally prohibits the destruction of humanitarian-aid supplies and establishes that it be subject to disciplinary action. Call 520-748-3000 or send an email to Ask for your message to be passed along to Deputy Chief Raleigh Leonard or to Tom Martin, Division Chief of Law Enforcement Operational Programs. They have years of experience in the Tucson Sector and the authority to issue this policy immediately.

We demand an immediate end to the destruction or removal of water, food, blankets, and any other humanitarian-aid supplies left for border crossers. We also demand an immediate end to any interference with humanitarian-aid efforts. We demand that you enact a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or similar protocol or directive, formally designating the destruction of humanitarian-aid supplies and the obstruction of humanitarian-aid efforts as a fireable offense for US Border Patrol agents. We further demand that you document these and all other internal disciplinary measures in publicly accessible records.
Thank you for your support. The full report can be found today at

In solidarity,

The No More Deaths community

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