The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose punishing providing humanitarian aid to individuals crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without legal permission, according to a UCLA policy brief published Wednesday.

The brief cites a survey of 1,505 Americans conducted in 2019, where 87%, including 71% of Republicans, saying they disagreed with making it a crime to offer humanitarian aid, such as water or first aid, to immigrants crossing the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The policy brief recommends legislation that would end the efforts to criminalize border relief and calls for an end to the destruction of humanitarian supplies by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

The UCLA report also suggests that the fatality count of immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. also include bodies identified by local government officials, medical examiners and nongovernmental organizations instead of just those discovered by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

The report says the number of immigrant deaths in the border region may be 300% higher than what the Border Patrol contends, citing academic and investigative media reports.

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