The language of humanitarianism has played a central role in political and media debates about undocumented migrants/refugees crossing into Europe and North America over the last few years. This essay argues that humanitarianism at the border is not good enough, often producing more harm than good; in particular, the article discusses the limits of central principles and practices of humanitarianism, including the search for innocence, the limits of emergency, and the inadequacies of compassion. The underlying goal of the essay is to make space for new affective and political grammars in response to suffering, injustice and death.