Blood’s Thicker Than Water: As Thousands Die in the Arizona Desert as a Result of U.S. Border Policy, an Army of Activists Intervenes

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June 22, 2010 by The Mormon Worker

Below is a good article about an activist group that several people affiliated with the Mormon Worker are getting involved with.

By Stephen Lemons Thursday, Feb 25 2010 Phoenix New Times

Gene Lefebvre remembers the day in late August 2008 when 20 to 25 Border Patrol agents, half of them on horseback, raided the Arivaca, Arizona campsite of No More Deaths, a group dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to migrants in the desert.

“They said they had tracked 10 migrants into our camp,” says Lefebvre, a retired Presbyterian minister who helped co-found the organization in 2004. “There weren’t 10 migrants, and there weren’t the tracks.”

No More Deaths did have a couple of migrants in the camp’s medical tent, but there was nothing unusual about that. Migrants often showed up at the camp seeking first aid or water or food, sometimes getting directed there by local ranchers. The Border Patrol was and is aware of how NMD operates.

But though the migrants were later taken into custody, the Border Patrol seemed to be about something else that day: intimidation.

Read the rest of the article here.

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12 thoughts on “Blood’s Thicker Than Water: As Thousands Die in the Arizona Desert as a Result of U.S. Border Policy, an Army of Activists Intervenes

  1. elchupacabras says:

    NMD is a fantastic group of individuals who defy the law in order to help immigrants survive the awful heat. They see a greater goal in going above a subjective law that has hurt the desert crossers. Another organization in California with a similar mission, is Water Station, http://www.desertwater.org/ which is operated by John and Laura Hunter. John Hunter happens to be California Representative Duncan Hunter’s brother. Duncan Hunter has been an anti-immigrant advocate for years, but John is a polar opposite.

  2. Do You Like Worms? says:

    All these needless deaths could have been prevented by proper border security.

    • elchupacabras says:

      All these needless deaths could have been stopped by needless imperialism in the first place, fostered by the Monroe Doctrine and the idea of “manifest destiny.”

  3. Do You Like Worms? says:

    youre basically saying the land we acquired after the Mexican-American war is the deciding factor in why Mexico sucks and people want to leave and come to the U.S.? Really. Annexing all of Mexico with “Manifest Destiny” as justification would have actually been doing them a favor… But youre probably talking about the white man never coming to the Americas which if i’m not mistaken your Book of Mormon predicts as the will of God.

    • Joseph says:

      It also points out that the indigenous peoples of this land will go through the European invaders and tread them down and tear them in pieces (3 Nephi 20:16), and that Christ would establish the indigenous people and given them the Americas for their inheritance (3 Nephi 20:14,22). But of course, by your own admission you are not of the LDS Faith, so I’m not sure why you are concerned with what the Book of Mormon says on the topic. Don’t get me wrong, you are welcome to quote from that book, it’s my favorite, just realize that I have most likely read it a few more times than you have.

      I do agree that Elchupacabras has oversimplified things, but he was just responding to your oversimplified analysis of the situation. Border security isn’t likely to prevent deaths, just create a police state. I just came back from Arizona where, even though I never got any closer than 30 miles to the Mexican border, I was given the 3rd degree by a border patrol agent who searched through my car without a warrant. His main cause for suspicion? I have a New Mexico license plate. And, just in case you’ve got an average American’s knowledge of geography I should probably clarify that New Mexico is in fact part of the United States. Hmmm…I wonder why I never can get myself to trust any law enforcement with increased powers?

      I don’t know how to prevent needless death’s like these, but getting rid of NAFTA and empowering the Mexican people to make decent livings (yes, the U.S. can do that without the military by simply not allowing U.S. money to go to a corrupt Mexican government).

      I hate to admit it as an anarchist, but current conditions simply don’t make it possible to simply open up the border. I suppose I can call on desert anarchist Ed Abbey to support my willingness to look at both sides. Ed Abbey once said about the immigration issue “Conservatives like their cheap labor, and Liberals like their cheap causes.” He also pointed out that we should give Mexicans trying to cross the border guns and ammunition, pointing them back to Mexico since “the poor know who their enemies are.” I should clarify that those are Ed Abbey’s words, not mine. I don’t agree with everything Ed wrote. But he was great at making a point and inspiring thought. I do feel that more compassion than what Ed describes here is needed in approaching the issue.

      The biggest issue here for me is that punishing humanitarians for helping those who do get across the border is cruel and proof that we have become a totalitarian police state.

  4. Joseph says:

    *”I don’t know how to prevent needless death’s like these, but getting rid of NAFTA and empowering the Mexican people to make decent livings (yes, the U.S. can do that without the military by simply not allowing U.S. money to go to a corrupt Mexican government)”…

    Sorry, forgot to finish the sentence. What I had in mind was:

    “…would be a step in the right direction.”

  5. Do You Like Worms? says:

    That Ed Abbey guy had a pretty good idea with the whole giving them guns and ammo and sending them back into Mexico. I could get behind that.

  6. SUNNofaB.C.Rich says:

    “I hate to admit it as an anarchist, but current conditions simply don’t make it possible to simply open up the border.”

    Maybe youre just an anarchist on the weekends, Joe. Anarchist-lite.

  7. Joseph says:

    SUNN,

    Or maybe I’m just not an ideological purist. Just trying to consider different aspects of the problem from different angles. I’ll try and avoid that in the future for narrow-minded nay-sayers like you, since hoping for a better world only leads to trying to be a better person, and we don’t want anyone doing that. If enough people started doing that, it would put cops and prisons, as well as border patrols, out of business.

    Regardless of what angle I look at it from, though, I just can’t see criminalizing humanitarian groups as anything but petty despotism.

  8. SUNNofaB.C.Rich says:

    since you concede that simply throwing the border wide open wouldn’t be smart, then it’s only logical that we need to have border patrol dudes… and if on a slow day, border patrol guys hit up a sure thing (these “humanitarian” types) I wouldn’t wring my wrists too much there, Joe.

  9. Joseph says:

    Sorry, SUNN, but there’s no logic in your line of thought. Yes, I know I’m yet again wasting my time, but I wanted to point that out anyway.

    Recognizing that under current economic and political conditions (conditions I believe can and should be changed) may require some regulation of borders between nation states (which should not exist, but unfortunately do) does not lead to having to accept despotic behavior from those being paid to regulate the border. If they are having a slow day, there are plenty of useful things to do other than harass humanitarian groups. Or they could just take a vacation.

    I know, I know, your line of reasoning is so bad I shouldn’t have bothered addressing it. But for some reason I end up trying anyway.

    Again I reiterate, it’s wrong to harass groups that are saving people from dehydration and starvation. That’s about all I have to say on this post.

  10. SUNNofaB.C.Rich says:

    honestly, this humanitarian group is probably a bunch of jerks that i personally wouldn’t like…. but aside from that it doesn’t really sound like the border patrol is technically doing anything wrong, I mean you can’t expect the border patrol to just give someone a free pass on illegally immigrating because they stumbled on some pencil necked square glasses wearing yuppie pricks with a ridiculous throw open the border ideology…

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