It is our experience that people usually stay under cover when they hear or see our trucks coming. Migrants usually won’t make themselves visible unless they’re in trouble and have decided that they can’t go on, or they are in urgent need of medical attention.
We are within our rights as humanitarian aid workers, and indeed, as fellow human beings, to provide desert travelers with food, water, blankets, clothing, and/or first-aid for minor injuries. We are also very happy to be of service in the event that migrants ask that we contact a friend or relative to let them know what their loved one’s situation is. We are under no legal obligation to alert law enforcement or border patrol unless desert travelers ask that we do so.
Perhaps the most difficult situation that volunteers have encountered is when one or more people appear to be in dire need of medical treatment. In that case, a volunteer should immediately call border batrol for help, and if they cannot obtain a cell phone signal, they should push the red call button on the SPOT GPS device provided in each truck. Border patrol have helicopters and other emergency equipment and are able to provide lifesaving services that we cannot. However, if the situation is very grave, and one or more people need emergency lifesaving help now, volunteers may give migrants rides to the nearest hospital, being careful to call and alert border patrol to what has happened at the earliest opportunity.
One thing we cannot do is offer desert travelers rides to their destinations. To do so would expose the volunteer to criminal charges and could jeopardize Humane Borders’s ability to continue to carry out our mission of preventing migrant deaths.