Making Good Border Trouble with Javi Virgen Aguilar & Friends!

First, what the Hell – THIS is still going on? I remember this happening back during the days of President Bush and the Minutemen. But the Newsom/Biden-era Border Patrol is still destroying supplies that local humanitarians leave for endangered migrants near the Mexican border? This is from Borderlands Relief Collective, just over a month ago:


Border Patrol Destroys Humanitarian Aid Supplies in San Diego

San Diego, CA — On Saturday, March 18, volunteers from Borderlands Relief Collective did a “water drop” in the mountains between Tijuana and San Diego, leaving dozens of water bottles, electrolyte drinks, cans of food, first aid supplies, and bags full of warm clothing, hand warmers, and waterproof ponchos alongside a heavily traveled path. Many travelers in the area have required rescue because of hypothermia, injury, and exhaustion, and every year several people die while making the crossing. 

Upon returning to the site an hour later, the volunteers were shocked to find everything destroyed. Every can of food and water bottle had been opened and emptied onto the ground. Hand warmers, socks and hats had been tossed into the bushes or ground into the dirt, and even the plastic milk crate containing the supplies was smashed into pieces. 

Earlier that morning, the group noticed a Border Patrol agent surveilling the canyon. Knowing how desperately these supplies were needed by travelers in this remote and hazardous mountainous region, the volunteers hurried up the mountain trail to confront those responsible. At the trailhead, they encountered two Border Patrol agents with surnames Hernandez and Brinkworth, who brazenly admitted to committing the deed. 

The two federal agents referred to the humanitarian aid supplies as “abandoned personal property” and said they routinely remove or destroy such items. They showed no remorse for their inhumane act. They accused the volunteers of littering and aiding and abetting human smuggling, a felony offense. It was clear that the Border Patrol agents were motivated not only by contempt and hatred of migrants, but also by a desire to intimidate humanitarian volunteers. 

With a winter rain storm looming and temperatures dropping to the 30s at night, this mountainous region is treacherous to travel through, even for experienced hikers. Border Patrol deliberately deprived human beings in peril of life-saving supplies, while knowing those supplies could be the difference between life and death.

This obscene and inhumane act underscores the brutality of Border Patrol, who refer to human beings as “illegal aliens” and “tonks” — for the sound made when they strike a person on the head with a heavy flashlight. 

“We will never back down in the face of these reprehensible Border Patrol tactics,” said a representative of Borderlands Relief Collective. “Our mission is to decrease the risk of death, and to promote safety and health and human rights, for all people traveling through the traditional and unceded land of the Kumeyaay people, this place called San Diego.” 

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The Union-Tribune, looking into this, reports that this happened “just a couple of weeks after eight people lost their lives trying to cross into the US by boat at Black’s Beach, and during a weekend when Border Patrol had warned about potentially dangerous conditions in the mountain area because of approaching winter storms.” (Customs and Border Protection told the UT that removing or destroying humanitarian aid is against policy and “the incident is under investigation,” but you saw the video, right? And these folks have seen this before.)

CBS reported late last year that “at least 853 migrants had died in the previous 12 months coming across the southern border.” They die of exposure, they die of thirst and hypothermia – sometimes it’s been up to 130 degrees, and over this past long cold and rainy winter, it’s sometimes been freezing. Some of them die of exhaustion, running thru mountainous areas trying to evade Border Patrol.

These people are coming from Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti – some of them are fleeing dangerous situations for themselves and their families, some of them are the economic refugees we’ve always had, and whose labor we should be welcoming. NO, they are NOT drug smugglers or gangsters – THOSE fuckers have RESOURCES.

Border Angels, Border Kindness, BRC

There are a few groups doing this humanitarian aid – Border Angels has been busy for decades. Border Kindness broke off from them, with slightly different strategies and focusing on different geographic areas in California and Arizona. As Trump’s mooncalf of a “WALL!!!” took partial shape, it merely pushed migrants into newer and more inhospitable areas such as the Otay Mountain Range east of San Diego. Sensing a need in that region, David Yu Greenblatt, a 50-year old chief of surgery at Sharp at Sharp Coronado Hospital, started Borderlands Relief Collective this year, with about 20 other volunteers.

The Otay Mountain Range, where Borderlands Relief Collective does most of their work.

I asked David if there are still anti-immigrant vigilantes like the Minutemen down near the border, and he said, “Well, yeah, but they’re lazy. They never get out of their cars. [LOL] The real danger is the Border Patrol.”

Javi Virgen Aguilar

All of this was brought to our attention recently by a young man named Javi Virgen Aguilar, who joined the Anaheim Democrats Club at last March’s Black History Parade, and spoke at our general meeting last Thursday. (You can hear his talk here, starting at 1:00:54.)

Javi’s been going down to the border areas with humanitarian aid with Border Kindness for 4 or 5 years. He feels it to be an obligation, since his own parents made this perilous journey to allow him to be born in this great country. Also a member of CHISPA (a local youth nonprofit), he wrote about his experiences on the CHISPA blog here.

Over the years Javi has spent a LOT of his personal money, including scholarship money from Cal State Fullerton, to make these heroic journeys two or three times a month. He’s actually down working in the borderlands this Cinco de Mayo weekend as I write. The Club was able to collect some money to help him continue his work Making Good Trouble on the border.

Javi is also a body builder and works as a personal trainer. When I spoke to David Greenblatt, he marveled about the large quantities of water the young man is able to carry up and down mountains. I only mention because – well, you COULD donate to BRC here if you’re able and interested, but ALSO, Javi would love it if you VOTE for him to be “Mr. Health & Fitness for Muscle and Fitness Magazine. Maybe that sounds silly but I think it’d be cool if this distinguished award went to someone who actually used his strength to save people’s lives!

You can vote once a day, I’ve already voted for him every day this month. CLICK HERE.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.