Category Archives: Updates

DOJ TO RETRY SCOTT WARREN ON HARBORING COUNTS

July 2nd, 2019, TUCSON, AZ – Prosecutors representing the United States government announced their intention to retry Scott Warren on two federal harboring charges, with an 8-day jury trial set for November 12, 2019 and dismissed the conspiracy count. If convicted on both harboring charges, Dr. Warren faces a sentence of up to ten years.

A hung jury failed to convict No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren on June 11 on two counts of felony harboring and one count of felony conspiracy related to his humanitarian aid work in Ajo, Arizona. 

Dr. Warren has received an outpouring of support from communities, elected officials, human rights defenders, and faith leaders across the globe. United Nations experts and fifteen US Senators urged the Department of Justice to drop charges against Dr. Warren, arguing that “providing humanitarian aid should never be a crime.”

Scott responded to this news with a statement:

Today the government decided to retry its case against me. We are ready for this second trial and more prepared than ever. However, I as well as most of you, remain unclear what the point of all this effort, time, and money has been. It has been deeply exhausting and troublesome to my friends and family and loved ones. But we have all done our best and we really should take a moment to celebrate that as we prepare for the future.

While I do not know what the government has hoped to accomplish here I do know what the effect of all this has been. A raising of public consciousness. A greater awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the borderland. More volunteers who want to stand in solidarity with migrants. Local residents stiffened in their resistance to border walls and the militarization of our communities. And a flood of water into the desert at a time when it is most needed. 

Thank you for all of your support and I love you all very much.

Hung Jury in Case Against Scott Warren

June 11th, 2019

TUCSON, AZ – A jury failed to convict No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren today in Tucson. Dr. Warren was charged with two counts of felony harboring and one count of felony conspiracy for his humanitarian aid work in Ajo, Arizona. The jury was split with 8 in favor of acquittal and 4 against.

Dr. Warren has received an outpouring of support from communities and faith leaders across the globe. United Nations experts urged authorities to drop charges against Dr. Warren, arguing that “providing humanitarian aid is not a crime.”

With this outcome, the government has failed in its attempt to apply federal charges to acts of common compassion. In Scott’s own words, “Today it remains as necessary as ever for local residents and humanitarian aid volunteers to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees.”

Catherine Gaffney, a longtime volunteer with No More Deaths, responded to today’s outcome: “The question of whether we stand with undocumented people and protect the basic tenets of a healthy society is for each of us to answer.”

After the case closed, both Dr. Warren and his lawyer, Greg Kuykendall shared statements in front of the federal courthouse to Dr. Warren’s family, supporters, and press. The two men spoke in front of 88 pairs of shoes lined up on the sidewalk behind them – each pair representing someone whose remains have been recovered in the desert outside Ajo in the time since Scott’s arrest in January of 2018. Read the statements here.

Statements from Scott Warren & his lawyer Greg Kuykendall

Statement by Scott Warren

In the time since I was arrested in January 2018, no fewer than 88 bodies were recovered from the Arizona desert. The government’s plan in the midst of this humanitarian crisis? Policies to target undocumented people, refugees, and their families. Prosecutions to criminalize humanitarian aid, kindness, and solidarity. And now, the revelation that they will build an enormous and expensive wall across a vast stretch of southwestern Arizona’s unbroken Sonoran Desert.
Today it remains as necessary as ever for local residents and humanitarian aid volunteers to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees. And we must also stand for our families, friends, and neighbors—and the very land itself—most threatened by the militarization of our borderland communities.
I’ve received enormous support from family, friends, and community. Thank you and I love you all so very, very much. If you can, get some rest and take some time for yourself! But the other men arrested with me that day, Jose Sacaria-Goday and Kristian Perez-Villanueva, have not received the attention and outpouring of support that I have. I do not know how they are doing now, but I do hope they are safe.

Statement by defense lawyer Greg Kuykendall

Scott Warren remains innocent, both as a legal and as a factual matter, because the jury could not unanimously conclude otherwise. The government put on its best case and 12 jurors could not agree with that case. We remain fully devoted in our commitment to defend Scott’s lifelong devotion to providing humanitarian aid. Unfortunately, as a nation we have a long and consistent history of demonizing and otherizing those we fear. But just as deep and ever-present in America is a contingent of people – always a minority, at first – who are resolute people of conscience. People who love, honor and respect all other people, regardless of race or status. People who put to use in order to help the dispossessed  their own birth privilege or their educational privilege or simply their privilege of being capable of making themselves heard – to ultimately create change in this country. We will do what our spiritual, religious and humanist teachers from every part of the globe, over thousands of years have taught: individually and as a community, we become better only by facing our fears, by understanding the roots of our country’s hatreds, and ultimately by putting the needs of the neediest ahead of our own needs; just like Scott Warren and all of you good people have been doing for decades now for the desperate souls dying in Arizona’s desert.

Scott Warren on Democracy Now!

This morning Dr Scott Warren and long term volunteer Catherine Gaffney spoke on Democracy Now! about the start of trial and the implications this case could have for people living in mixed-status communities all over the country. Watch the main feature above and then the web-exclusive below.

Multiple remains recovered this week

TUCSON, AZ:  On Sunday, May 5th, No More Deaths launched a search and rescue mission in the West Desert outside of Ajo, AZ, resulting in the ultimate recovery of four sets of human remains.  The remains were encountered in the Growler Valley, the same valley in which Dr. Scott Warren was issued as citation for leaving water in summer 2017. Dr. Warren has been on trial the past two days and continuing into today for charges related to that incident

The search and rescue was launched in response to a call that came through the No More Deaths Missing Migrant Hotline after family members calling the hotline asked for support in urging Border Patrol’s Search and Rescue arm to initiate a rescue operation and CBP refused to mobilize resources.  The first day of the search resulted in the team encountering a set of skeletal human remains that had been found and reported to the Pima County Sheriff in December 2017 by the Armadillos del Desierto, a San Diego based search and rescue organization. The Sheriff never recovered the body. The second day of the search, volunteers found three more sets of remains within a few miles of a newly installed rescue beacon.

The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, where the remains were recovered, is one of the deadliest migration corridors of the US/Mexico borderlands.  The Refuge does not grant No More Deaths and others humanitarian groups access to administrative roads, even in emergency situations. Search groups must embark on foot from the edge of the wilderness boundary – greatly diminishing response time and scope.

Dr. Warren has testified in court to his spiritual beliefs that compel him to provide humanitarian aid on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge  The discovery of four sets of remains in two days confirmed Warren’s testimony that “the Growler Valley is the area of highest and most need.

The No More Deaths abuse documentation team is investigating systemic governmental inaction to reported emergencies from distressed migrants in the desert. The findings will be published in Part III of The Disappeared report later this year.

The remains from the past two days have been reported to the Pima County Sheriff. The missing person has not been found.

Note: The image above reflects remains recovered in April of 2019 and does not include data about the individuals mentioned in this article.