World Bulletin / News Desk
U.S. Border Patrol Agents intentionally damaged water containers left in the Arizona desert for potential immigrants, leaving them to die of thirst in broiling temperatures, according humanitarian groups Wednesday.
The Arizona-based groups, No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos, in a report, said the patrol agents have been committing the alleged sabotage with impunity in an attempt to deter and punish people who illegally cross from Mexico to the U.S.
"In data collected by No More Deaths from 2012 to 2015, volunteers found water gallons vandalized a total of 415 times, or on average at least two times a week, during our study period," it said in the report.
"Water gallons have been found as slashed with knives, dumped out, stomped on or tampered."
The group said a total of 3,586 gallons (13,574 liters) of water were vandalized in an approximately 800 square mile desert corridor near Arivaca, Arizona.
Accusing border patrol agents, who are part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the sabotage, the report noted that volunteers have also found other life-saving aid, food and blankets destroyed in the same manner.
“Through statistical analysis, video evidence, and personal experience, our team has uncovered a disturbing reality. In the majority of cases, U.S. Border Patrol Agents are responsible for the widespread interference with essential humanitarian efforts,” the report read.
In addition, the groups said U.S. border protection agents also repeatedly harass and use violence against volunteers, who provide aid in the field and at camps where the undocumented immigrants have been held.
The groups demand the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to dismantle the U.S. Border Patrol permanently and establish a reparations program for the families of all persons disappeared or deceased as a result of the U.S. border policy of Prevention Through Deterrence.
A request for comment was not responded to by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Prevention Through Deterrence is a policy which has redirected migrant routes into the most inhospitable sections of the border, deploying the perilous desert as a tool to prevent entry into the U.S.
According to Homeland Security, a total of 28,996 individuals were apprehended while crossing to the U.S. in December, compared with 29,082 in November and 25,490 in October.
In fiscal year 2017, U.S. Border protection units apprehended 303,916 individuals, compared to 408,870 in Fiscal Year 201616, 331,333 in FY15, and 479,371 in FY14.
Border protection and blocking the illegal immigration has been one of the most prominent promises of President Donald Trump.
Therefore Trump made the border wall a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign for the White House and promised to have Mexico pay for the barrier, which nearly cost $20 billion. Mexican officials have dismissed the idea, and Trump has appeared to change course on who would fund the wall, seeking an appropriation from Congress to fund the wall instead.
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