U.S. Border Patrol agents have been filmed sabotaging water bottles that are left for undocumented immigrants, which is a routine practice, according to a new report.
Two Tucson-base humanitarian groups, No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humano, claim in a new report that Border Patrol agents are condemning undocumented immigrants to death while they try to cross into Arizona.
The Guardian notes: “Volunteers found water gallons vandalised 415 times, on average twice a week, in an 800 sq mile patch of Sonoran desert south-west of Tucson, from March 2012 to December 2015, the report said. The damage affected 3,586 gallons. The report also accused border patrol agents of vandalizing food and blankets and harassing volunteers in the field.”
The humanitarian groups stated in their report:
The practice of destruction of and interference with aid is not the deviant behavior of a few rogue border patrol agents, it is a systemic feature of enforcement practices in the borderlands.
Steve Passament, a Border Patrol spokesman, said the agency does not condone destroying water or food:
We don’t want to see anyone out there die. We have to do our enforcement job and we do it as humanely as possible. We want to save lives.
Passament said the humanitarian groups should “immediately bring it to our attention” evidence because those agents would be disciplined.
An unidentified former border patrol agent recalled in 2017 seeing the practice:
I remember people smashing and stepping on water bottles, I remember that being imparted on to us in one way or another.
A 37-year-old Mexican border crosser, Miguel, told the humanitarian groups:
They break the bottles so you can’t even use them to fill up in the tanks. I needed water, some of the other people in the group needed water, but we found them destroyed. [I felt] helplessness, rage. They [the US border patrol] must hate us.
(Source: The Guardian)