Guernica Magazine

Is the US Border Patrol Committing Crimes Against Humanity?

What would it take you, personally, to deny water to someone dying of thirst? The post Is the US Border Patrol Committing Crimes Against Humanity? appeared first on Guernica.
Illustration: Sarula Bao.

Who kindly sets a wanderer on his way
Does e’en as if he lit another’s lamp by his:
No less shines his, when he his friends hath lit.
–Ennius

On February 10, 2017, at around 4:15 pm, a white male Border Patrol agent parked his truck in the shadow of a rusted windmill outside of Arivaca, Arizona. He was about two miles, as the crow flies, north of the Mexican border. The temperature was in the mid-eighties. A slight breeze swayed the ocotillo and mesquite branches. The sky was clear. The agent turned off his truck and stepped into the dirt. Maybe he radioed in his position. Maybe he finished his sandwich, or packed his lip with tobacco. Maybe he pissed in the weeds. A cow lowed somewhere nearby. A raven alighted on a branch. A saguaro towered sedately.

The agent shouldered his Camelback backpack, strapped his M4 Carbine over his shoulder, and put on his green boonie hat. He pulled on his gloves and folded his sleeves up his forearms. After locking his truck, he walked a few dozen yards down the uneven dirt road before turning into the high grass of a narrow trail. In ten minutes, stopping occasionally to scan the hillsides, he entered into a rocky wash. As he hiked south, stepping over boulders and shags of rock, between cat claw acacia and tufts of grass, he saw the remnants of other people who had walked before him—discarded blankets, backpacks with broken straps, and empty, sun-brittled plastic bottles. After about thirty minutes he came to the water cache. Maybe he hummed under his breath. Maybe he stopped to scan the hills with his binoculars—the scrub hills green with recent rains.

At the cache site, just off the thin dirt trail, were eight one-gallon bottles

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