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Border Patrol Custody Standards Campaign
In response to the multitude of stories of abuse and neglect documented in our report, No More Deaths is organizing supporters around the country in a campaign for short-term custody standards. We are working with our grassroots base of former volunteers and supporters, with ally organizations in D.C. that lobby on detention and immigration issues, and with supportive congressional offices. Our goal is to implement clear, enforceable standards for Border Patrol with community oversight to ensure compliance.

Bills in Congress

Comprehensive Immigration Reform A.S.A.P. Act of 2009 (H.R. 4321)

Representative Gutierrez’s (D-Ill.) bill, with 92 cosponsors, is the first official proposal under the Obama administration to improve the U.S.’s broken immigration system. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 includes pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S., and major improvements to immigration detention with specific attention to Border Patrol short-term custody.

  • Press release on C.I.R. A.S.A.P. from Representative Gutierrez’s office
  • Text of C.I.R. A.S.A.P. filed with the Library of Congress

(S. 1550)

In summer 2009, Senators Menendez (D-N.J.) and Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the Safe Treatment, Avoiding Needless Deaths, and Abuse Reduction in the Detention System Act, which would improve conditions and increase oversight of treatment for all migrants in immigration detention, with a special section for Border Patrol custody. There has not yet been a vote on the bill.

Related Publications
Other organizations have put out publications relating to our work on short-term immigration detention.
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Guilty by Immigration Status: A Report on U.S. Violations of the Rights of Immigrant Families, Workers and Communities in 2008 (pdf; 1 Mb)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Statement on immigration detention reform
Amnesty International Jailed without Justice: Immigration Detention in the U.S.A.
The following links also pertain to immigration detention (not necessarily Border Patrol/short-term detention specifically).
Southwest Institute for Research on Women Unseen Prisoners: A Report on Women in Immigration Detention Facilities (pdf; 2.2 Mb)
American Civil Liberties Union
Immigration Detention page
(see also their list of immigration links)
Human Rights Watch Locked Up Far Away: The Transfer of Immigrants to Remote Detention Centers in the United States

The Detention Watch Network

No More Deaths is an official member of the Detention Watch Network. They have worked closely with us to bring attention to the need for immigration detention reform to include Border Patrol short-term custody facilities.

The Latin America Working Group

LAWG’s “Promote Justice for Mexico and the Borderlands” campaign has supported No More Deaths in developing our policy strategies and has helped with legislative lobbying for Border Patrol custody standards in D.C.


Frontera de Cristo/Agua Prieta Migrant Resource Center (Douglas, Arizona–Agua Prieta, Sonora);
Kino Border Initiative/CAMDEP
(Nogales, Arizona–Sonora);
Naco Migrant Resource Center
(Naco, Arizona–Sonora)

No More Deaths has partnered with aid stations for migrants at the Agua Prieta, Naco, and Nogales ports of entry on the Mexico–U.S. border and their contributions have been invaluable in this project. See Mexico Aid Centers for more information on these projects and No More Deaths’ involvement in them.

O'odham VOICE Against the WALL
Our group has begun to support tribal members of the Tohono O'odham Nation (which is split by the U.S./Mexico border) in documenting abuses and violations of indigenous rights by Border Patrol agents operating on tribal lands. Through this collaboration our organizations will connect individuals to legal support and help them file official complaints to the Department of Homeland Security, run Know Your Rights trainings, and launch a community campaign to end these abuses and hold Border Patrol accountable.
Activities and Successes
December 2009 Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill introduced by Rep. Gutierrez includes Border Patrol custody standards and oversight (see below for more info).
July 2009

The Strong STANDARDS Act is introduced in the U.S. Senate, which would improve conditions of all immigration detention including Border Patrol short-term custody (see below for more info).

No More Deaths meets with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights' Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants along with other Arizona immigrant detention reform groups to provide testimony on detention center conditions.

June 2009 No More Deaths meets with the Obama administration's appointed Border Czar, Alan Bersin, to emphasize the need for custody standards.
Spring 2009 Custody Standards Organizing Toolkit created so that allies around the U.S. and globally can support the campaign.
September 2008 crossing-the-line-cover_thumbNo More Deaths volunteers travel to Washington, D.C. to release the report on Border Patrol human rights abuses, Crossing the Line, at a congressional briefing hosted by Raul Grijalva. While in D.C. they also advocate for reform with key legislators and meet with human rights groups in a briefing hosted by Amnesty International. See:
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Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson
Since Summer 2008