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Expert Issues Brief Immigrant Rights

Criminalizing Humanitarian Aid at the U.S.-Mexico Border

This brief reveals that the American public overwhelmingly (87%) opposes—including the vast majority of Republicans (71%)—the criminalization of humanitarian aid workers at the border. 


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Over the last 30 years, thousands of dead Latino migrant bodies have been found along the United States-Mexico boundary. These casualties are directly related to the Border Patrol’s “prevention through deterrence” (PTD) policing strategy, which funnels crossing migrants into remote and deadly deserts, mountains, and waterways. In response, local residents have created various formal and informal organizations to help provide life-saving aid to vulnerable crossing migrants. However, President Trump and Border Patrol agents have sought to criminalize and stop the work of humanitarian aid volunteers at the border. The data presented in this brief reveal that the American public overwhelmingly (87%) opposes—including the vast majority of Republicans (71%)—the criminalization of humanitarian aid workers at the border.