Dozens of undocumented migrants arrested at humanitarian camp in Arivaca

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested more than three dozen undocumented migrants at a camp used by humanitarian organization No More Deaths on Friday, a day after the agency raided the camp and set up surveillance in the area.

Personnel from various sectors of the agency assisted in serving a federal search warrant on the camp, Customs and Border Patrol told The Arizona Republic in an email.

Upon their arrival to the camp, agents found more than three dozen undocumented migrants, the agency said.

The agency did not immediately respond to further questions about the incident.

No More Deaths described the incident as a “military-style assault” on Twitter, saying the agents spent two hours “chasing and arresting” people who were receiving care as well as all aid workers. Detainees’ phones, which may have included video footage of the raid, were confiscated, the organization said.

It also said agents did not present a search warrant and were not wearing masks.

It was the third such raid since 2017 and the second in less than 24 hours. The group claims the Border Patrol is retaliating against them for publishing several agency emails earlier in the week about a 2017 raid at that same camp.

Second raid in less than 24 hours

The site, known to No More Deaths volunteers as Byrd Camp, is a collection of military-style tents volunteers use to provide medical and humanitarian aid to migrants crossing the desert. It’s located near the ranching community of Arivaca, approximately 11 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Volunteers reported that a Border Patrol agent on horseback entered the Byrd Camp at about 9 a.m. on Thursday without a search warrant. The agent detained and took one migrant into custody.

Other agents on patrol vehicles and all-terrain vehicles surrounded the camp on Thursday and continued their enforcement operations on Friday, according to the group. They posted photos and videos on social media showing agents outside the camp.

On Friday afternoon, Tucson Sector Chief Roy Villareal published a series of tweets about Border Patrol’s actions in Arivaca. He said agents had detected a group of migrants on Thursday after crossing the border and followed their tracks to Byrd Camp.

Reach the reporter at or 602-444-8529.  Follow her on Twitter @brieannafrank. 

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