15 Oct Skylight Files Freedom of Information Act Request About Border Protection’s Military-Style Raids on Humanitarian Aid Camps
Skylight, with the American Immigration Council (AIC), has just filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information about two military-style raids launched by Customs and Border Protection (CPB) on July 31, 2020 and October 5, 2020 in a camp where volunteers provide humanitarian aid in the deadly Sonoran Desert. The 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 borderland deserts.
Why are we doing this? No More Deaths is one of the organizations we profile in our forthcoming feature documentary Borderland. And 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, and—in July—at least one CBP official with sophisticated video equipment. In each instance, CBP took people into custody who were receiving medical treatment and aid.
Agents descended on the camp in July within days of No More Deaths publishing CBP communications about a strikingly similar raid in 2017, questioning 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.
Our 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 2017, July 2020, and October 2020.
- Communication among agency officials before and after the raids.
- Search warrants obtained in advance of the raids.
To access the full downloadable (PDF) FOIA request visit this page on the American Immigration Council’s website.