Volunteers with the border advocacy group No More Deaths allegedly prevented Border Patrol agents from locating potential illegal immigrants. Activists have consistently resisted Border Patrols’ attempts to search a large camp outside of Arivaca, Arizona, where illegal aliens and drug smugglers or dangerous individuals may regularly receive medical help.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, two agents followed footprints to the camp, which is an unincorporated community about 10 miles north of the Mexican border. The agents reportedly entered the camp without permission on May 8.
The agents left after volunteers asked them to do so. But another officer allegedly came to the camp later that night and asked permission to search the premises. Volunteers denied the agent access, telling him that he could not enter the camp without a warrant.
Art del Cueto, president of the Border Patrol Union Local 2544, told the Arizona Daily Star that agents were just trying to do their job, which is to locate and arrest individuals who enter the U.S. illegally. “Bottom line, you don’t know who these people are,” he said.
The Arizona Daily Star reported that the agents were trying to search the camp while three people were receiving medical care. One was allegedly a 50-year-old woman who was vomiting. The two others were a 17-year-old girl and a 35-year-old woman, both who had been lost in the dessert. The 35-year-old was also apparently suffering from severe burns.
No More Death’s camp reportedly lies in an area notorious for human trafficking and illegal immigration. On its website, the activist group claims that its mission is to “to end death and suffering on the U.S./Mexico border through civil initiative.” The group sends volunteers to search for individuals in distress along the border, and subsequently provides first aid on-site.
After receiving care, individuals are expected to either call Border Patrol or leave the camp on their own. But there are suspicions as to whether or not the camp lets individuals remain on the premises after they have been medically treated.
Tucson Border Patrol Sector Chief Manuel Padilla told the Arizona Daily Star that while administering first aid is “fine,” No More Deaths could be aiding abetting or harboring if they allow illegal immigrants to stay after medical care is given.
Padilla said, “We continue to engage with the community and nongovernmental organizations to achieve the mission of saving lives or rendering medical aid to people who need it, but we also need to achieve our mission.”
Border Patrol agents, without the help of immigrant activist groups, routinely saves the lives of illegal immigrants near the border.
In early May, Breitbart Texas reported on a baby from El Salvador who was rescued after suffering from severe dehydration. When agents encountered a group of illegal immigrants in a rural area of Texas, they noticed the 16-month-old baby. The child, who was with his undocumented mother, was allegedly having trouble breathing and became unresponsive.
Agents quickly administered medical aid on-scene and then transported the child via helicopter to a San Antonio hospital.
Other government-funded efforts, such as water stations in rural areas known for high foot traffic, routinely ensure the health of traveling illegal immigrants.
Daniel Tirado, a spokesman for Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector, told Breitbart Texas that Border Patrol has set up several “rescue beacons” near the border, where immigrants may go to receive help when they are in distress. Clean water is also provided at such locations. He said, “All you have to do is push a button, and agents will respond. Anybody who needs assistance can use the beacons, which have a blinking light so you can see it from a distance.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.