Voices from the Border: Humanitarians and Missing Migrants

July 29, 2020

As barriers and enforcement at the U.S. border have increased in recent decades, migrants crossing the border have gone missing and died, their numbers undercounted. Recent policies that close off ports of entry, criminalize those providing water and aid to migrants, force thousands of asylum seekers to wait in Mexico in dangerous and desperate circumstances, and expel thousands more without a hearing, have exacerbated this humanitarian crisis. And now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are fewer people and resources to provide aid to migrants, search for the missing, investigate migrant deaths, and contact relatives abroad.

Refugees International and Amnesty International hosted a conversation about humanitarian aid and missing migrants at the border. The event included a screening of USA V SCOTT, a documentary about the prosecution of Scott Warren of No More Deaths for providing aid to migrants. The event was inspired by the story of an asylum seeker who went missing this spring after crossing into Texas and the effort of his wife, in Guatemala, to find a trace of him.


Yael Schacher, Senior U.S. Advocate at Refugees International


Stephanie Leutert is the director of the Central America and Mexico Policy Initiative at the Robert Strauss Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Leutert has published reports on migrant deaths in South Texas, the metering of asylum seekers at the border, and migrant kidnapping in Mexico, among other topics.

Gia Del Pino is the program and data associate at the Colibrí Center for Human Rights. The Center works to help families find the remains of their relatives and to build mutual support among families and friends of missing migrants across the Americas.

Brian H. Griffey is the regional researcher and advisor on North America for Amnesty International. Griffey has recently authored reports on the U.S. government’s targeting and legal harassment of migrant human rights defenders and denial of access to asylum procedures on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Paige Corich-Kleim is an activist for No More Deaths who does water drops in the desert.


USA v SCOTT is Ora DeKornfeld and Isabel Castro’s short documentary about the prosecution of Scott Warren, of No More Deaths, for aiding migrants in the desert.

About Voices from the Border

Refugees International’s “Voices from the Border” event series is designed to humanize, inform, and deepen policy discussions relating to migration and protection along the U.S. southern border.