On Tuesday, January 15th at 8:30 AM, No More Deaths will hold a pre-trial press conference outside the Deconcini Federal Courthouse, 400 W Congress. We ask supporters to join us then and for the rest of week in the courtroom as the trial unfolds. Please tell us you are coming so we can be in touch if needs or updates arise.
DAILY TRIAL UPDATES
January 15th, 2019, TUCSON, AZ – Four No More Deaths volunteers facing federal misdemeanor charges begin trial today for their humanitarian aid work along the southwest border. The aid workers are being prosecuted for their efforts to place life-saving food and water on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, a vast and remote area south of Ajo, Arizona where 91 border crossers are known to have died since 2014 and countless more have gone missing.
“Members of our organization are being criminally prosecuted for placing water in areas where hundreds of people have died of thirst.” says Paige Corich-Kleim, a humanitarian aid volunteer with No More Deaths. “Anybody who has visited the refuge understands the harshness of the terrain and the need for a humanitarian response.”
The summer of 2017 was one of the deadliest on record in Arizona, resulting in a total of 32 known migrant deaths on the Refuge. No More Deaths volunteers maintained a consistent presence in the area, putting out humanitarian aid supplies and responding to search and rescue calls for missing migrants. That winter, nine volunteers, in places as disparate as New Orleans, Minneapolis and Seattle, received knocks on their door from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. Charges include operating a motor vehicle in a wilderness area, abandonment of property, and entering a wildlife refuge without a permit. One of the defendants is Ajo resident Dr. Scott Warren, who is also charged with felony harboring and conspiracy related to humanitarian aid work. Dr. Warren’s felony trial is scheduled for May of this year.
The trial begins as the country goes into the fourth week of government shutdown, the longest in history. “The president is holding the country hostage over his demand for a border wall and claiming the humanitarian aid crisis as justification for his actions,” says Max Granger, another longtime volunteer with the group. “We believe a humanitarian crisis warrants a humanitarian response. A border wall will do nothing to alleviate the crisis of death and disappearance along the US-Mexico border. The protection of the right to give, and to receive, humanitarian aid is essential as long as the government maintains border policies that funnel migration into the most remote parts of the desert.”
Trials are expected to last through the week, with a verdict being issued sometime after trial ends. Dr. Warren’s misdemeanor trial is scheduled for February and the final round of Cabeza defendants will go to trial in March.
Rory Carroll, The Guardian, January 24, 2018
Eight humanitarian volunteers who help migrants survive desert treks have been charged with federal crimes, prompting fears of an escalating crackdown by the Trump administration.
The volunteers, all members of the Arizona-based group No More Deaths, appeared in court on Tuesday charged with a variety of offences including driving in a wilderness area, entering a wildlife refuge without a permit and abandoning property—the latter an apparent reference to leaving water, food and blankets on migrant trails. Continue reading Eight activists helping migrants cross brutal desert charged by US government
Amy B. Wang, Washington Post, January 24, 2018
Last Wednesday, a nonprofit group that provides humanitarian aid to migrants in the Arizona desert released a lengthy report alleging Border Patrol agents were intentionally destroying supplies left for migrants in the desert, the group said, to “condemn border crossers to suffering, death and disappearance.” Continue reading Border Patrol agents were filmed dumping water left for migrants. Then came a “suspicious” arrest.
Associated Press via The Guardian, January 22, 2018
Hours after a humanitarian group released videos showing border patrol agents kicking over water bottles left for migrants in the Arizona desert, a volunteer for the organization was arrested and charged with harboring undocumented immigrants. Continue reading Group accusing US border patrol of water sabotage sees member arrested
Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, January 17, 2018
A new report says that humanitarian groups working along the U.S. border with Mexico have documented the systematic destruction of thousands of jugs of water left for migrants trekking north through the desert—and that U.S. Border Patrol agents are to blame. Continue reading US Border Patrol systematically destroyed water supplies left for migrants in desert, report says
Rory Carroll, The Guardian, January 17, 2018
United States border patrol agents routinely vandalise containers of water and other supplies left in the Arizona desert for migrants, condemning people to die of thirst in baking temperatures, according to two humanitarian groups. Continue reading US border patrol routinely sabotages water left for migrants, report says
Eric Boodman, Stat, July 6, 2017
When the man walked in with fang marks on his leg, the volunteers knew the protocol: In the case of a rattlesnake bite, you call 911. But like all of the patients who end up here, his very presence in this desert clinic meant he had broken American law. Continue reading After Trump’s immigration crackdown, a desert clinic tries to save lives without breaking the law
Ryan Devereux, The Intercept, June 17, 2017
A three-day showdown in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert between Border Patrol agents and a humanitarian group, which culminated in a raid and the arrests of four undocumented immigrants, has aid workers raising questions about government surveillance and operational practices. The arrests took place Thursday evening at a camp run by the group No More Deaths, also known as No Más Muertes, which is located on private property near the unincorporated community of Arivaca, roughly 11 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The humanitarian group said approximately 30 well-armed Border Patrol agents descended upon the location looking for “bodies” in a coordinated and alarmingly militarized operation, leaving with the four men in tow. Continue reading Arizona aid group questions Border Patrol surveillance following a raid on its camp
Tom Dart, The Guardian, June 16, 2017
Border Patrol officers have raided a humanitarian aid camp set up to give shelter and water to migrants crossing the scorching Arizona desert, in an operation that activists said puts lives at risk. Continue reading “Shameful” raid on aid camp at US-Mexico border puts lives at risk, volunteers say
Arun Gupta, The Nation, August 1, 2016
Numi’s highest profits may come from jailed migrants. As Paul Wright, executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center, points out, “Large numbers of [jailed] people are deported to countries where they aren’t able to use the inmate debit cards.” The balance on these uncashed cards would be absorbed by Numi and the issuing bank through maintenance fees. Continue reading The Nation: “The financial firm that cornered the market on jails”