All posts by No More Deaths

KTT Public Statement

To the No More Deaths community of supporters, clients of Keep Tucson Together, and the community of Tucson:

Effective July 1st, 2022, Keep Tucson Together (KTT), the free legal clinic headed by attorney Margo Cowan that offers advice and assistance for immigration cases, will no longer be part of No More Deaths (NMD). The separation is supported by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson (UUCT) which provides NMD with fiscal sponsorship. In this statement, the name NMD and the term “we” refers to the majority of NMD that will continue to fulfill our mission, and does not include KTT or those NMD volunteers who opposed the separation. We are sharing details of the separation out of a commitment to transparency and accountability to all affected and the community.

Last summer, multiple families assisted by KTT came to NMD and showed evidence that their cases had been mismanaged. We assessed the information that was shared with us and found there to be a troubling pattern of misleading information, lack of communication and disrespectful behavior. The stories shared by the families are devastating and we honor their bravery in coming forward. After several requests for information and exhaustive efforts to hold KTT accountable internally, we have decided to no longer be associated with services provided by KTT.

When the families came forward, members of KTT and several long-term NMD volunteers refused to believe any wrongdoing had occurred. The repeated gaslighting and condescension were offensive and traumatizing for the affected families. The decision to dis-associate from KTT was further validated by persistent disrespectful treatments of NMD staff and volunteers during this process by Margo Cowan, other members of KTT and some individuals in NMD. These interactions brought to the forefront deep-rooted white supremacy in NMD that has been present since its founding and which we must continue to confront.

We acknowledge the essential services that KTT has offered the undocumented people in Tucson. We hope that as an organization independent from NMD, KTT will change their practices to prioritize client communication, informed consent, and a responsible caseload. 

We are unable to speak on the subject of the future operations of KTT. To inquire about their continued services please contact KTT by phone at (520) 623-4084 or in person at the KTT office at 730 S Osborne Ave in Tucson. 

If you are assisted by KTT and you have had problems with the way KTT has managed your case, please contact us by phone or email: 

help.nomoredeaths@gmail.com    (480) 442-6772

Second Military Style Raid in Two Months: Border Patrol detains 12 people receiving humanitarian aid

Arivaca, AZ: After sunset on October 5th, US Border Patrol entered No More Deaths’ humanitarian aid station, Byrd Camp with a federal warrant, for a second nighttime raid in two months. Volunteers were held for 3 hours while 12 people who were receiving medical care, food, water, and shelter from the 100+ degree heat were detained.

In a massive show of armed force, Border Patrol, along with the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), descended on the camp with an armored tank, ATVS, a helicopter, and many marked and unmarked vehicles. Agents armed with assault rifles chased and terrorized those that were receiving care, all while the helicopter hovered low above them kicking up dust and debris, making it nearly impossible to see. Border patrol smashed windows, broke doors, and destroyed essential camp infrastructure as well as supplies.This was after heavily surveilling the camp and patrolling its perimeter, creating an antagonistic and distressing environment for those receiving care, since late Saturday night on the 3rd.

Since the previous raid on July 31st, Border Patrol has refused on multiple occasions to meet with volunteers to discuss previous shared agreements that upheld the right to provide humanitarian aid. The sector chief sent No More Deaths representatives a formal letter asserting this refusal. 
 

Border Patrol’s continual surveillance and harassment of Byrd Camp keeps patients from receiving essential care. This criminalization of the humanitarian aid and medical care we provide is only a furtherance of the agency’s deadly policies. Border Patrol detains people in unsafe and deadly facilities where medical neglect is rampant and human rights abuses are well documented.

Paige Corich Kleim, a volunteer present for the raid yesterday said this about the previous raid in late July  “Once again, Border Patrol is concentrating their resources on interfering with humanitarian aid during the most deadly time of year for people crossing the border, People are dying in the desert because of border enforcement policy, and now Border Patrol wants to prevent people from accessing life-saving assistance. We view this as a clear violation of international humanitarian law.”
 

Since 2004, Byrd Camp has been a location where people crossing through the harsh Sonoran Desert can find food, water, medical care, and respite. Byrd Camp has always operated openly and transparently and offered humanitarian aid according to Red Cross protocols. No More Deaths affirms the right of all people, regardless of nationality, to give and receive humanitarian aid. Our volunteers are specifically trained to respect autonomy when providing care as is standard practice in the medical field and only call 911 and Border Patrol with patient consent. We will continue to be a presence in the desert as long as Border Patrol policies create a crisis of death and disappearance

Military style raid: border patrol detains 30+ people receiving care at humanitarian aid station

Arivaca, AZ: Around sunset on July 31st, US Border Patrol raided No More Deaths’ humanitarian aid station, Byrd Camp, detaining over thirty people who were receiving medical care, food, water, and shelter from the 100+ degree heat. In a massive show of force, Border Patrol, along with BORTAC, descended on the camp with an armored vehicle, three ATVS, two helicopters, and an estimated 24 marked and unmarked vehicles.

Agents refused to show a warrant upon entry, and were not wearing masks. For two hours, in darkness, they detained and chased people receiving care while a Border Patrol cameraman filmed the scene. The day before, agents had entered the property without a warrant and detained one person receiving care. Border Patrol then set up 24-hour surveillance around the perimeter, deterring anyone else from entering the camp to seek help.

Last night’s military style raid on the aid station is a clear example of Border Patrol’s deadly pattern of interfering with humanitarian aid. Many No More Deaths volunteers work as EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and doctors. Volunteers are trained to respect the autonomy of individuals receiving care — as is standard practice in the medical field, they only call 911 and Border Patrol with patient consent. All persons at camp had been medically evaluated, were stable, and were receiving continuous care.

The initial detention and surveillance of Byrd Camp was set up just 24 hours after No More Deaths released emails from a FOIA request revealing the role of BORTAC — the tactical unit recently mobilized against protestors throughout the United States — and the Border Patrol Union’s role in a 2017 raid of the same aid station.

Border Patrol previously raided Byrd camp in 2017, which predates Dr. Scott Warren’s arrest for providing humanitarian aid to two individuals. Warren was arrested just hours after No More Deaths released a report detailing Border Patrol’s interference with humanitarian aid, along with a video that went viral showing agents destroying water gallons. The message is clear: expose Border Patrol abuses, face retaliation

“Yesterday, Border Patrol harmed thirty people in irreparable ways. On a daily basis those who migrate through the Arizona desert are targeted, terrorized, detained, and deported.” Said Dr. Scott Warren, “Last night we witnessed these tactics deployed against people who sought medical care and relief at our Byrd Camp aid station. As always when humanitarian aid in the borderlands is targeted, those who seek care are the ones that face the brunt of these violent escalations.”now