Investigating Border Patrol’s Militarized Raids on Humanitarian Aid Station

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched two military-style raids on a camp where volunteers provide humanitarian aid in the deadly Sonoran DesertThe station is run by No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, an organization and official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson working to end death and suffering in the Mexico–US borderlands. The raids occurred in close succession, on July 31, 2020, and October 5, 2020. 

The tactics and timing of CBP's raids raise serious concerns and questions. The shows of force included tactical gear, agents from CBP’s paramilitary arm Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), helicopters, an armored vehicle, andin Julyat least one CBP official with sophisticated video equipment. In each instance, CBP took people receiving medical treatment and aid.  

Agents descended on the station in July within days of No More Deaths publishing CBP communications about a strikingly similar raid in 2017, questing the agency’s motivations. Given the concerning history of CBP actions in the borderlands, and the potential retaliatory nature of these raids, it is vital that the public know what the agency is up to.  

This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeks to uncover CBP’s actions and further expose its militarized response to the provision of humanitarian aid. The records requested include: 

  • Video and other media CBP officials recorded during CBP’s raids of the No More Deaths aid station in June 2017July 2020, and October 2020.  

  • Communication among agency officials before and after the raids. 

  • Search warrants obtained in advance of the raids. 

The American Immigration Council filed this FOIA request with Skylight. 

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