Full Text Letter to David Aguilar
JUNE 27  2002

Chief David Aguilar
US Border Patrol Tucson Sector
1970 W Ajo Way
Tucson AZ   85713

Dear Sir:

We are writing to inform you that a faith-based organization called Samaritan Patrol has been created to attempt to save the lives of migrants in the Sonoran Desert.

We do this because the current policy and strategy of the Border Patrol (Operation Gatekeeper) deliberately channels the migration of undocumented workers into the most hazardous and deadly regions.  The mounting death toll since this immoral strategy was  implemented in 1996 is stark evidence of a failed policy that systematically violates human rights.

Justice and compassion require people of faith and conscience to act to save lives and defend human rights.  The current immigration law recognizes this right and responsibility for humanitarian assistance.

Therefore, on July 1, 2002, volunteers trained for medical emergencies in 4-wheel drive vehicles marked with our Samaritan Patrol identification will be patrolling the desert where Humane Borders has been denied its request to place water stations and too many deaths have already occurred.  They will have food and water and first-aid supplies to assist migrants in distress.  Those found in life-threatening circumstances will be taken to the nearest medical facility or to a place where they can receive appropriate assistance. Each vehicle will contain documents confirming their ministry and a telephone number where participation in Samaritan Patrol can be validated. 

We call upon all citizens of good will and people of faith to join us in providing this life-giving aid and hospitality to migrants in need in the desert.  We believe that respect for human rights, the right to render humanitarian aid under U.S.immigration law, and our ethical responsibility to save human lives demand this of us all.

We beg of you and all officials in positions of responsibility and authority to stop the current policy that has been responsible for the mounting toll of suffering, death and destruction in the desert.  Our voices join with all who advocate a more humane border policy to provide temporary  documentation for those migrating between Mexico and the United States.

Sincerely,

John Fife
Rick Ufford-Chase