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Phonebank: Help Expand Our Reach

In advance of Dr. Warren’s felony trial we are asking supporters to help us connect with as many residents of southern Arizona as possible. In April and May we will be venturing outside of Pima county to visit other communities in southern Arizona and talk about the work No More Deaths does. We’re inviting concerned people across the country to phonebank the communities we’ll be visiting to give them a heads up we’ll be coming and ask if they want to show their support by putting out a sign in their yard.

If you’ve been following from home and wondered what you could do to support, this is your chance. The charges against Dr. Warren threaten not only the work of No More Deaths but borderlands residents as a whole as well as thousands of people across the nation. If it becomes a crime for a humanitarian aid worker to offer water and shelter to those at risk of dying of dehydration and exposure, where will the government draw the line? Will it now become a crime for a food pantry to welcome in the undocumented community? For a doctor to treat an undocumented patient? For a spouse to feed their undocumented partner?

Don’t let the government criminalize basic decency. Support us now.

Host a Vigil for the Disappeared

​On Monday, May 6th, Dr. Scott Warren will stand trial for his humanitarian aid work on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, a vast and remote stretch of desert outside Ajo, AZ where dozens of people die every year and countless more go missing.

On Friday, May 3rd, No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes calls on supporters across the country to come together in holding vigil for those crossing, those who have died in the desert and all those whose lives are devastated by the detention and deportation machine.  Whether in your town square, in front of a DHS building or outside a local detention facility, join us in remembrance of those who have been murdered by deadly border policy and in solidarity with those struggling for their freedom today.

An incomplete list of resources to support your vigil includes:

Evidence in Scott Warren Trial Points to Government Surveillance and Retaliation

A motion filed by the defense in the case of United States v. Scott Warren last week in Tucson federal court has revealed the sweeping extent of government surveillance of No More Deaths/No Más Muertes and the retaliatory nature of Dr. Warren’s arrest in January of 2018. The Motion to Dismiss due to Selective Enforcement details months of communication between U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, beginning as early as July 2017 and discussing the movement and activities of No More Deaths volunteers in Ajo, AZ

According to the motion, on January 8th, 2018, nine days before Dr. Warren’s arrest, “[Border Patrol Agent] Marquez then provided Scott Warren’s home address to [USFWS Law Enforcement Agent] Ebann…The two exchanged information about vehicles Ebann had observed at the Barn, which included some he referred to as ‘the NMD vehicles.’ Ebann even told Marquez that ‘Warrens POV [privately owned vehicle] is there as well,’ to which Marquez responded ‘Oh nice’. The two law enforcement agents thus kept track not only of where Scott Warren lived, but also what kind of car he drove, and his whereabouts. This exchange makes clear that Marquez had his sights set on NMD, and Scott Warren specifically, although he never stated any reason to suspect them of doing anything illegal.”

On January 17th, 2018, No More Deaths released a report documenting Border Patrol’s routine interference with humanitarian aid efforts. The report was released alongside footage collected over several years showing Border Patrol agents destroying and/or removing aid supplies left in the desert. The motion asserts that Dr. Warren’s arrest was a targeted act of political retaliation resulting from No More Deaths’ open criticism of Border Patrol’s human rights abuses

The motion also examines, in detail, the communications of the Border Patrol agents who surrounded and surveilled “the Barn,” a base of operations for numerous humanitarian aid groups in Ajo, on the morning of January 17th. The agents spent the morning tracking No More Deaths volunteers’ activities in and around the Barn as well as at the office of the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. According to the motion, “At 4:38 pm, Marquez reports, he saw Dr. Warren step outside the Barn with two individuals he believed to be undocumented. At this point, [his partner BP Agent] Burns sent two messages…In the message to [BP Agent] Ballesteros and Marquez, Burns says, ‘2 toncs at the house’. Ballesteros responds, ‘What!?!?!?!?!?! Nice!’ This is surely not the reaction of a professional Border Patrol Agent every time he locates an undocumented individual.”

Previous statements from the arresting officers have asserted that their surveillance of the Barn on the afternoon January 17th was driven by information that two undocumented individuals were suspected to be in the Ajo area. Upon cross-examination, it was revealed that the officers had tried to obtain absolutely no descriptive information about the two individuals in question and knew nothing about their height, age, hair color, or other identifying features. The defense lawyers go on to assert that Agent Ballesteros’ exclamation is not “the reaction of a Border Patrol Agent who had a reasonable suspicion in the first place that the surveillance of the Barn was going to reveal the presence of undocumented aliens. Rather, it evidences Agent Ballesteros’s excitement at the idea of ‘busting’ NMD.”

Read the text of the motion here.

Statement by #Cabeza9 defendants

Firstly, we want to acknowledge that we are standing on occupied land of the Tohono O’odham people. Let us not forget the illegality of the United States of America on indigenous territory and the way the US has ravaged Central America, forcing diaspora. Furthermore, this government has considered slavery and genocide as legal for hundreds of years.

We may have been found guilty but the real crime is the government’s deliberate policy to use “death as a deterrent” at the US/Mexico border. The criminalization of those acting in solidarity is a classic example of the ramping up of an authoritarian regime.

The humanitarian work that has ultimately brought us here today will continue to address the border crisis until there are no more deaths.

We refuse to stand by and watch silently as the United States becomes more and more deeply authoritarian. This is something that affects and should concern us all.

The four of us want to thank everyone in our families and communities here and across the world for their unbelievably wonderful support and solidarity. We also want to thank our team of lawyers and those of you here today who are prioritizing telling this story.

Trials Begin January 15th

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.