Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 20, 2020

U.S. Border Patrol agents ignore lock down orders, stalk Tohono O'odham after agents test positive for coronavirus in Tucson sector

The Tohono O'odham Nation and State of Arizona stay-at-home orders are being ignored by U.S. Border Patrol agents, as the coronavirus spreads among Border Patrol agents

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
April 6, 2020 

French translation Christine Prat
Updated April 20, 202

TUCSON -- Six US Border Patrol agents and staff in Tucson and Nogales have tested positive for coronavirus -- but the agency is not telling anyone who they have been in contact with and who they have exposed to the deadly virus.

US Border Patrol agents continue to stalk Tohono O'odham women and elderly on the Tohono O'odham Nation, without accountability.

The coronavirus is spreading rapidly through US Border Patrol agents and staff: 90 cases in New York; 29 in Florida; 23 in Texas; 23 in New Jersey; 21 in California and elsewhere, with a total of 246 now having coronavirus, according to US Customs and Border Patrol.
Despite the lockdown orders to control the spread of the coronavirus, construction continues on the Israeli US spy towers on the Tohono O'odham Nation and the US Mexico border wall.

The border wall construction continues just beyond the Tohono O'odham Nation's western border at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

The spy towers -- integrated fixed towers -- on the Tohono O'odham Nation were authorized by U.S. Homeland Security during the Obama administration. Elbit Systems, the Israeli defense contractor responsible for Apartheid security in Palestine, was selected to construct the towers in O'odham communities.

The targeted locations include O'odham burial places. The towers were approved by the Tohono O'odham Nation elected government in the spring of 2019, over the objections of traditional O'odham who are struggling to protect burial places and ceremonial places.

Although the towers are claimed to be for border surveillance, most will be located in O'odham communities, and not directly on the border.

The tower surveillance will be viewed by US Border Patrol agents, violating the privacy of O'odham in their homes and during their ceremonies.

O'odham women tell Censored News on April 6, that the U.S. Border Patrol continues to stalk them outside their homes on the Tohono O'odham Nation, and that the construction of the spy towers is continuing on the Tohono O'odham Nation.

On March 25, two U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector tested positive for coronavirus. The Border Patrol refuses to say now how many agents have now tested positive and who they may have exposed.

The incubation period is two days to 14 days or longer, which means persons can have the virus, not know it, and infect others. The virus is spread by droplets, such as coughing, sneezing and by way of touching surfaces and then one's face, according to Centers for Disease Control. The droplets can also be transmitted by close proximity by way of one's breath.

Because U.S. Border Patrol agents may have the virus and not know it, O'odham may be infected by agents. O'odham are at high risk for coronavirus, with high rates of diabetes. Tohono O'odham elderly are especially vulnerable.

"In a leaked message sent to employees Tuesday, the leader of operations in Tucson, Arizona, informed agents that two of their colleagues had tested positive for the deadly virus," the U.K. Daily Mail reported on March 25.

"Tucson Chief Patrol Agent Roy D. Villareal said one Tuscon Station employee assigned elsewhere and one Nogales Station employee had been struck down by the disease."

The U.S. Border Patrol is refusing to provide more details now to the media.

CNN reported five days ago that nearly 300 employees of the Department of Homeland Security, including U.S. Border Patrol agents, tested positive for coronavirus. Hundreds of agents are self-quarantining after exposure. Yet, little information has been provided to the public as to who the agents have been in contact with and who the agents might have exposed and infected. 

"Nearly 300 US Department of Homeland Security employees have tested positive for coronavirus and more than 8,500 are self-quarantining and self-monitoring, according to data provided by the department to congressional staff and obtained by CNN."

"As of March 30, the agencies within DHS with the most positive cases are US Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration, with 64 and 129 cases respectively, according to the data, which is broken down by component," CNN reported.

CBP and TSA also have hundreds of employees self-quarantining and self-monitoring: 640 Border Patrol and ICE agents and 4,084 in the Transportation Security Administration.

The most vulnerable include migrants in prisons and detention centers, imprisoned in crowded conditions without proper water, food and medicine. Migrant children continue to be at high risk of disease in these jails, which are no more than concentration camps and are in violation of international law.

Regardless of the spread of coronavirus within the U.S. Border Patrol in the Tucson sector, and the stay-at-home orders by both the Tohono O'odham Nation and the State of Arizona, agents remain on the Tohono O'odham Nation, and construction of the spy towers and border wall at Organ Pipe continues.

Border wall construction workers pouring into the Arizona border communities, including the small town of Ajo, also bring the threat of coronavirus.

Southwest Valley Constructors of Albuquerque is constructing the border wall here. It has been documented repeatedly destroying protected Saguaro Cactus.

The Border Patrol recently blasted with dynamite Monument Hill near the western border of the Tohono O'odham Nation where O'odham ancestors were buried. 

The United States has waived all federal laws, including all federal laws protecting Native American sacred places, and endangered species, to build the border wall.

The expensive border wall has been scaled easily by children; cut up with household tools and a truck driven through it in California; and has flood gates that remain open at the bottom, making the costly border wall worthless.

The price is great for the destroyed Native American sacred places, loss of water for construction in the desert, and blocking of Pronghorn and jaguar migration routes.

There are endangered species, including a pupfish and mud turtle, found here in the Sonoran Desert, that are found nowhere else in the world.

Copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News

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