Left To Die: Call To Action

A new report from No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Left to Die: Border Patrol, Search and Rescue and the Crisis of Disappearance, finds that Border Patrol systematically ignores and mishandles the search and rescue emergencies of migrants, who are funneled into dangerous and remote terrain by the agency’s policy and practices. The report also finds that Border Patrol obstructs family and community search efforts, leaving thousands to die.

Every year, Congress gives more than $25 billion dollars to ICE and CBP to profile, jail, deport and terrorize immigrants. Their records of abuse and consistent rejection of oversight and accountability demonstrate that these enforcement agencies are beyond reform.

To end the crisis of death and disappearance in the borderlands we must decriminalize migration, demilitarize the border and defund Customs and Border Protection, the agency that causes people to become missing and leaves them to die.

Take Action today by supporting community-based search and rescue efforts & joining the #DefundHate Campaign to demand Congress defund Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

What you can do:

  1. Donate to community-based search and rescue groups in the borderlands
  2. Demand that Congress defund Customs and Border Protection with the #DefundHate Campaign! 
    1. Sign the petition bit.ly/DefundHatePetition
    2. Contact your elected officials with the tools below:
      1. Find your representative
      2. Find your senator

Sample Script:

“Hello, my name is [_______] and I’m a constituent of [congressional member’s name]. I thought you would be interested in a new report that analyzes Border Patrol’s search and rescue response system. The report is called Left to Die: Border Patrol, Search and Rescue, and the Crisis of Disappearance.

The report provides overwhelming evidence that Border Patrol’s emergency response system is plagued with systemic and deadly discrimination, routinely ignoring and mishandling life-threatening emergencies and fueling a crisis of death and disappearance. It’s clear that the agency is unfit to be involved in search and rescue efforts.

I’m calling on [Member of Congress] to oppose funding increases for border and immigration enforcement. Instead of using public funds to criminalize migration and militarize the border, we demand that you exhibit leadership and call for drastic cuts in funding for ICE and CBP. This includes cutting funds for “smart border” technologies that only serve to further militarize an already hyper-militarized border, endangering the lives of migrants.”

No Migrant Justice without Black Liberation: A Statement in Solidarity with Black Uprisings

To you, and everyone in the streets, organizing within their communities and building a world where Black lives not only matter, but thrive, we thank you and stand alongside you.

It’s midsummer in Arizona, and many of us are in the desert leaving water, responding to missing persons calls and providing care to people crossing during the heat, navigating a humanitarian crisis mid-pandemic. For aid workers, it’s not uncommon to meet people in the desert with a familiar story: Profiled by police, arrested, handed over to ICE, deported and now trying to get home to their families and loved ones. 

As the uprisings have increased in the United States, we’ve also seen Customs and Border Protection drones circle Minneapolis, Border Patrol deployed to Washington D.C. and armed CBP agents posing in front of community shrines in San Diego. ICE and Border Patrol have long extended the militarization of the border into cities and the interior of the country and through these actions are only reaffirming their racist and xenophobic agendas. 

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells and Dion Johnson are only the most recent examples of police brutality, actions of an institution rooted in white supremacy. What we recognize as modern day policing in the U.S. was born from a need to prevent uprisings amongst slaves, and to preserve Black people as property. 

This legacy of white supremacy lives on in the prison system, which is a clear reimagination and continuation of slavery, incarcerating Black people at a rate five times that of white people. Immigration detention and deportation are an extension of the same racist policing and court systems, often occupying the same buildings and being run by the same for-profit corporations.

Migrant justice and Black liberation are inextricably linked. 

Immigration is a Black issue. The stories of Black migrants are often erased or minimized, as are the struggles of Black people everywhere. Routine discrimination against the undocumented community is increased even more by anti-Blackness, making Black immigrants far more likely to be funneled into the deportation machine.

In the most recent installment of our Disappeared report series, we demanded that Border Patrol be defunded and dismantled, with reparations paid to family members of all those killed or disappeared by U.S. border enforcement policy. This recommendation was built on the understanding that no reform could end Border Patrol violence and extrajudicial killings. In making these demands we took guidance from centuries of Black abolitionist thought and organizing. 

Black feminist, activist and professor Angela Davis summed up the current political moment in a recent interview: “What we are seeing now are new demands: demands to demilitarize the police, demands to defund the police, demands to dismantle the police and envision different modes of public safety. We’re asked now to consider how we might imagine justice in the future. This is a very exciting moment. I don’t know if we have ever experienced this kind of global challenge to racism and the consequences of slavery and colonialism.”

No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes affirms our call to defund ICE and CBP and joins the call to defund the police nationwide.

When we defund and demilitarize the police and pay reparations to the communities they have terrorized for centuries, we may finally begin to construct a society which is not based on brutality and murder.

So we invite you, as friends and supporters of migrants, immigrants and racial justice to give generously to Black immigration organizations at this pivotal time in history. Donations to organizations such as Movement for Black Lives or to Black Trans groups will save lives.

In solidarity and gratitude,

No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes community

Facing Death in Detention

Due to the threats of COVID-19, since February, the No More Deaths Keep Tucson Together Legal Clinic has focused its efforts on preparing humanitarian parole requests and motions for bonds for more than 50 of our clients detained at La Palma, Eloy & Florence, AZ ICE detention facilities. Court dates are set and then cancelled, re-set and then cancelled. Meanwhile, precautions against the spread of the pandemic in cramped detention centers are abysmal. There is no soap in sinks, no access to gloves, and detained women and men just receive two face masks each – only after signing waivers of liability for the masks. Under these conditions, it is no surprise that more people are becoming infected with COVID-19. As of this writing, ICE acknowledges 69 known “positive” cases of COVID-19 at the La Palma facility alone.

Recently, at an La Palma detention center in Eloy, detainees blocked the doors to their “pod” with tables and chairs, demanding masks, gloves, hand soap and testing. In response, the officers from CoreCivic – the for-profit company that operates many detention centers – broke through and shot them with rubber bullets and sprayed them with tear gas. As this violence demonstrates, detained men and women are not safe in ICE custody. No More Deaths, along with Amnesty International and others, have called for the release of all ICE detainees during this pandemic, and we have been working hard to secure the release of these individuals.

On May 1st, our legal team was able to secure four bond hearings; three of our brothers were granted bonds and one was continued. One of those released is an 18-year old high school senior, who has never been in detention before, and had his bond set at $9,000. Detention was horrific for this young man. Another of the three released tested positive for COVID and has been quarantining since release. As of this writing, we have been able to get nine detainees out since February and back to their families, and hope to get more out soon.

What is clear is that the government’s policy of denying all petitions for humanitarian paroles and continuing bond hearings, not providing masks, gloves, soap and testing are all purposeful and orchestrated forms of mass negligence, not just coincidental incidents of chaos. There can be no doubt that the United States is executing a policy of detention = death. The No More Deaths/ Keep Tucson Together Clinic will continue to shine the light on these deadly practices and to do everything in our power to secure freedom and life for our sisters and brothers in detention. If you are able, please consider making a generous donation to the No More Deaths Keep Tucson Together Bond Fund at bit.ly/nmdbond. We are committed to doing everything we can to leave no one behind to die alone in detention.

Article by Margo Cowan, volunteer, Keep Tucson Together