The Southwest Alliance to Resist Militarization (SWARM) was a non-profit organization established in 1999 in Tucson, Arizona, to “protect” the “human rights [and] civil rights” of illegal immigrants and “the Sonoran desert environment along the Arizona-Mexico border.” From its inception, SWARM supported open borders with Mexico and unchecked mass immigration into the United States. Professing a dedication to “ending the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and the environmental and human-rights abuses that accompany the ever-increasing presence of civilian law-enforcement and military units in the borderlands,” SWARM deemed it “inappropriate for the military to train civilian law-enforcement or [to] operate within the United States.” The military, explained SWARM staff member Jennifer Allen, was primarily “trained to kill,” making it more likely that its police trainees would inappropriately “answer everything with a big stick.” In SWARM’s view, Americans’ concerns about mass illegal immigration were exaggerated and unfounded. SWARM charged that Border Patrol officials, in their effort to stop illegal immigration, damaged the “fragile ecosystem” of the Sonoran Desert by “constantly driv[ing] through the area, both on and off road, and … continually installing new lights and building new roads and walls in the desert.” According to SWARM, “the resultant damage to the environment, noise levels and use of lights is something that hurts sensitive species.”
In March 2002, SWARM and the Arizona Prison Moratorium Project defeated the establishment of privately run federal prisons in Arizona and California. Two months later, they successfully lobbied the Tuscon Police Department to refrain from enforcing immigration laws.
In September 2002, SWARM changed its name to Border Action Network, which has continued its predecessor’s projects and crusades.