Here is a speech by one of Dr. Scott Warren's lawyers, Greg Kuykendall. It's a great summary. Sue
Imprisoning Schindler: Responding to the legal vulnerability of those who aid refugees by Greg Kuykendall who acted as lead counsel for Dr. Scott Warren, a cultural geographer charged in 2018 with multiple federal crimes revolving around his humanitarian aid efforts in the western desert of Arizona.
After three trials over two years, Dr. Warren was acquitted of all charges. The United States government created then nourished an ever-growing humanitarian aid crisis over the last 25 years in the borderlands of Arizona. Many thousands have perished and many thousands more have suffered unconscionable hardship and horrific abuse as a direct result of this crisis of the government’s own making. Making matters excruciatingly worse, recently the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice escalated the crisis by prosecuting humanitarian aid workers for their life-saving actions.
To be clear, the creation of the crisis does not lie at the feet of the Trump Administration, as these killing fields are a direct product of a Clinton Administration declared policy to reduce unauthorized immigration. The Trump Administration’s new prosecutorial zeal, however, constitutes gas on a burning fire.
In 1994, the US government implemented the Malthusian border security policy officially known as Prevention Through Deterrence. The homicidal logic behind Prevention Through Deterrence is the following: 1) by massing law enforcement in populated border areas, migrants fleeing their native countries will decide to cross the border far away from those population centers in order to avoid apprehension, 2) their crossings consequently will take place in the most isolated and dangerous places along the 2,000+ mile US-Mexico border, 3) crossing the vast uninhabited desert will either a) kill huge numbers of migrants, thus keeping them from successfully entering the U.S., or b) cause the migrants eventually to conduct a risk-benefit analysis and decide to not migrate, after all. This facile but lethal logic has killed many thousands of people: more than 3,000 partial or whole corpses of people identified as “undocumented border crossers” – in the parlance of the Pima County Arizona Medical Examiner’s Office -- have been recovered since the year 2000. Reasonable estimates suggest ten times as many people may have actually perished in the expansive western deserts stretching between Nogales and Yuma, Arizona, but have never been discovered.
The inability to recover most of the human remains is due to, among other things, the enormous area where the remains could be, the rapid deterioration of the remains caused by the extreme environment, and government regulations on access to the areas where the bodies are. The ancestral home to the Tohono O’odham Nation runs along and across the international border separating Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora. More than two million acres of virtually uninhabited desert – controlled almost exclusively by the federal government, including the Organ Pipe National Monument, the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing Range – separate Arizona’s southern border from the eastwest running Interstate 10 to the north. No ranches or occupied structures exist; that is to say, unlike most places, there is absolutely nowhere to seek help.
The poorest and most desperate migrants, many of whom cannot even afford a coyote to cross them – attempt to walk the 40 miles to Interstate 10 through the most extreme environment in North America. Temperatures often exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit and, in the winter, drop well below freezing. Virtually no water exists, besides a few widely scattered mud holes used by wildlife. Crossing the Organ Pipe and Cabeza Prieta is virtually impossible. Even if successful to that point, a deserted but active military bombing range still stretches many miles between the migrant and Interstate 10.
The town of Ajo, home to 3,000, is the only outpost in this vast region. A single paved road connects Ajo to the rest of the world. Ajo currently houses a Border Patrol station with approximately 500 agents. These agents are ever present on the single road and venture into the desert in trucks and ATVs, on horseback, and in helicopters, running roughshod over the wilderness. In the wilderness they hunt and often “scatter” the migrants, then take the meager supplies that the migrants drop as they escape, even emptying their water bottles.
In reaction to the mounting human carnage that Prevention Through Deterrence causes, twenty years ago several humanitarian aid groups began systematically determining where the migrants were walking across the desert and placing life-saving supplies along those constantly shifting migrant trails. Each month, the Pima County Medical Examiner publicly provides GPS positions of the recovered human remains of undocumented border crossers and then humanitarian cartographers create an overlay onto US Geological Survey maps.
The humanitarian groups decide where to place the water and food based on these “death maps” and distribute them to a network of volunteers. The humanitarian aid groups not only place aid where it is most needed, they engage in search and rescue missions that Border Patrol often refuses to bother with. In coordination with various groups, the humanitarians seek information about missing individuals, try to identify the remains, and let the decedents’ survivors know has happened to their loved ones. One of the principal aid groups is No More Deaths, a faith-based collection of volunteers sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson. No More Deaths not only coordinates and engages in all of the above-described activities, it also documents Border Patrol’s systematic and cultural abuse of migrants and humanitarian aid workers. An uneasy truce, but a truce all the same, has always existed between the humanitarian groups and Border Patrol, until the Trump Department of Justice chose to “disrupt” the humanitarian aid in the name of strengthening the Prevention Through Deterrence policy.
In a significant escalation of the Trump Administration’s war on migrants, on January 17, 2018, Border Patrol agents with the “Disrupt Unit” arrested a prominent member of No More Deaths, Dr. Scott Warren, while he was providing medical treatment to two young migrants at a humanitarian aid station in Ajo, Arizona. Federal prosecutors then charged him with a broad ranging conspiracy and two counts of harboring illegal aliens, charges exposing him to 20 years imprisonment.
Not coincidentally, just hours before his arrest, No More Deaths released to the media a report documenting the multiple methods Border Patrol agents routinely used to abuse migrants, including video footage of Border Patrol agents in the field vandalizing water, food and medical supplies No More Deaths left on known migrant trails. The video went viral, as did the documented intentional destruction by Border Patrol of more than 3,000 gallons of water cached by the volunteers. To reach the migrant trails No More Deaths volunteers must hike many miles through federally-controlled land carrying multiple gallon jugs of water, each weighing over eight pounds, along with canned beans and first aid supplies. Primitive “administrative” roads exist in these vast areas, but the federal land managers dictate who among the public can drive on the roads. These managers, in coordination with Border Patrol, refused to issue permission to humanitarian aid groups to use the roads. In a bizarre but telling twist, the managers do allow water to be trucked across those roads of water – but only water for intended for wildlife, which is then hunted.
In addition to the felony charges leveled in January 2018, the federal government also charged Dr. Warren with one misdemeanor for driving on the administrative roads without permission and another misdemeanor for “littering,” i.e., leaving water for migrants along the trail of death. These felony and misdemeanor prosecutions not only imperiled Dr. Warren’s freedom and future, they constituted an existential threat to the multiple humanitarian aid movements. Successful prosecutions against humanitarian aid workers would effectively prevent their lifesaving work from continuing. More people would die, as an emboldened federal government continued forcing migrants into a desert environment now weaponized by the government, and fewer humanitarians would be able help them survive their extraordinarily perilous trek.
Indeed, after Dr. Warren’s well-publicized arrest, enrollment in No More Deaths’ volunteer program descended precipitously. Consequently, we treated this case just like we treat the capital cases that are my firm’s bread and butter. To that end, among many, many other motions, we filed and litigated multiple motions to suppress, motions to dismiss for selective enforcement, motions to dismiss for violations of international law, motions to dismiss for violations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and motions to reassign the case to a different judge. Although we lost most of these pre-trial motions, we gave the judge and the community a deep education before our trials ever began about what Dr. Warren and his compatriots were doing for humanity, as well as how profoundly reactionary and inhumane the federal government’s response was to the practice of basic Good Samaritan-ship to fellow human beings.
Ultimately, after 15 months of intense pretrial litigation, we won the misdemeanor case, winning on the basis of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – another Clinton-era law that has been used lately by the religious right to prevent women from access to reproductive freedom. We then tried the felony case twice, each time for two weeks (the first jury hung 8-4 for acquittal, the second jury quickly acquitted). Notably, this was not a case of jury nullification. Rather, we defended on the dual basis of a grossly insufficient amount of evidence of guilt, and on the basis that the government could never prove Dr. Warren’s intent was criminal. Put another way, humanitarian intent is not criminal intent. Many strategies, people and influences combined to make these achievements possible. One very important strategy was the massive public education campaign by No More Deaths throughout Arizona. Huge numbers of yard signs, regular coverage in social and conventional media, and large gatherings of humanitarians of every stripe attending all of our many pre-trial hearings and trial days pounded home this easily digestible explanation: “Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime.”
While this phrase would strike most of the civilized world as a truism, the abjectly racist and counter-factual narrative about migration and migrants that President Trump and his ilk have successfully spread in the United States, along with the normalization of treating migrants more poorly than we treat meat animals, caused “Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime” to initially be perceived by many in Arizona as a radical statement. The success of our endeavor was due in large part by matching the drumbeat coming from the far right, thus enabling us to seat a jury that had been exposed to the notion of humanitarian aid being a positive good in the world, just as surely as they had been exposed to the racist and xenophobic rants coming from the right.
The effective messaging of No More Deaths – as well as the trial judge finally on the second go-round recognizing the need for extensive jury questionnaires and real voir dire, rather than the “you be fair, right?” drivel that constitutes most judicial questioning of the venire – created an opportunity for a fair fight. An impartial jury made to comprehend the life and death context in which aid workers provide their humanitarian service creates an opportunity for a fair trial, even in these desperate times.
From the Ignacian Solidarity Network:
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
BY JOSÉ ARNULFO CABRERA | August 7, 2020
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the manner in which the Trump Administration ended the DACA program did not adhere to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), ruling that the Administration must reinstate DACA to its original 2012 form. This was a surprising ruling that my fellow immigration advocates and I did not expect. Thousands have waited for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to share when they will begin to accept new applications and advance parole applications, but they said nothing. Then on July 17, a federal judge in Maryland ordered the Trump Administration to begin accepting new DACA applications. Instead of doing so, the Administration took the first step to permanently ending the DACA program.
Last Tuesday, July 28, USCIS issued a memorandum on DACA. Acting Secretary Chad Wolf wrote, “…given my serious concerns about the policy, I have determined that some changes should immediately be made to the policy to limit its scope in the interim.” He announced that as of the 28th;
In April, I received my DACA renewal, which is valid until 2022. My grandfather passed away in mid-March and my grandma’s spirit might leave her body soon, but because of COVID, I could not go say my goodbye to her even if I was legally able. This memorandum personally doesn’t affect me much. But in the last few days, I’ve received many calls from young undocumented youth wanting to get information about applying for DACA. The Monday before the memorandum was issued, a faculty member of a Jesuit high school shared that they were working with the school to help pay for their student to apply for DACA.
According to the Center for American Progress, 55,500 undocumented youth who aged into eligibility for DACA were stripped of the chance. 55,500. That is 55,500 stories, lives, and dreams—Americans who we are denying the chance to fully participate in our society. And for five of them, I had to tell them through a cell phone that they couldn’t apply anymore.
What angers me the most is that so many people seem to misunderstand that this is the beginning of Trump ending DACA. Instead of doing what the highest court in the land told them—and a federal judge in Maryland—they have started to strip the program. Many news sources, including Spanish news sources, used confusing headlines that made it seem that the Trump Administration will allow DACA to remain for another year. I understand that immigration policy, law, the entire system is confusing and has only become more so in the last few years. But every single pro-immigration advocate said over and over in the hours after the memorandum, “this is the first step in ending the program.”
The positive ruling from the Supreme Court was short-lived and has left me with a bitter taste. My undocumented community received a difficult hit. My undocumented community is hurting. I’m hurting. My undocumented community is exhausted from consistently living on the defensive because of this anti-immigrant and white supremacist agenda. I’m exhausted.
James Baldwin once wrote, “Hope is invented every day.”
I’ve spent more time with immigrants than with citizens. What I’ve learned from my immigrant siblings is that finding hope during the hopeless moments in life. We might feel exhausted but we are far from done. The fearlessness and relentlessness of my undocumented community is my new hope.
José Arnulfo Cabrera: José Arnulfo Cabrera is the director of education and advocacy for migration for the Ignatian Solidarity Network. He is a 2018 graduate of Xavier University, a DACA recipient, and an immigration activist. He previously worked with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he provided training on lobbying, organizing, and immigration policy, as well as shared his own immigration story, and as a government relations associate with NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice in Washington, D.C.
From our friend, Paul Barby in Tucson:
Dozens of undocumented migrants arrested at humanitarian camp in Arivaca
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested more than three dozen undocumented migrants at a camp used by humanitarian organization No More Deaths on ...
Border Patrol agents raid No More Deaths migrant aid camp - Arizona Public Media
Border Patrol raids migrant aid camp in Arivaca
Arizona Daily Star
Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol raided the Byrd Camp aid station for migrants run by No More Deaths near Arivaca, Ariz., on July 31, 2020.
Border Patrol agent detain 30 migrants at No More Deaths camp - KVOA Tucson News
Border Patrol raids migrant aid camp in Arivaca - Arizona Daily Star
Border Patrol Launches Militarized Raid of Borderlands Humanitarian Aid Camp - The Intercept
Supreme Court Allows Continued Construction of Trump's Border Wall
Ariane de Vogue, CNN
De Vogue writes: "A divided Supreme Court on Friday allowed continued construction of a portion of President Donald Trump's border wall while legal challenges play out."
Tensions persist among attorneys representing detained children
'It's such an uncertainty, not to be able to plan my life': DACA recipients slam new attacks
Netflix's Immigration Nation is a grueling, maddening, and essential watch
The A.V. Club
Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz's Immigration Nation takes an unprecedented look at one of the fastest-growing—and most ...
Netflix's 'Immigration Nation' offers an unflinching portrait inside ICE—and a broken system - Fast Company
What's on TV Monday: 'Immigration Nation' and 'Dora and the Lost City of Gold' - The New York Times
'Immigration Nation': TV Review - Hollywood Reporter
Border Patrol agents set up checkpoint outside aid camp in Arivaca
Border Patrol agents have surrounded a humanitarian aid camp in Arivaca after entering the property without a warrant on Thursday and arresting an illegal immigrant who sought medical care, aid volunteers said.
At least a half-dozen Border Patrol trucks, along with agents on ATVs, are set up outside the camp, according to Paige Corich-Kleim, a volunteer with Tucson-based No More Deaths. The surveillance started around 9 a.m. Thursday and was ongoing as of early Friday afternoon. Agents set up a checkpoint just outside the camp and are searching vehicles as they leave.
'Immigration Nation' Review: A Deep Dive Into Deportation
The New York Times
This Netflix documentary looks at the bureaucracy of immigration enforcement — an intriguing investigation that probably won't change any minds.
The Horrifying ICE Documentary Trump Doesn't Want You to See - Daily Beast
Tuberculosis among Newly Arrived Immigrants and Refugees in the United States
Methods: We categorized at risk immigrants and refugees as: with recent completion of treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis disease overseas ...
Twin Rulings By Federal Judge Block 'Public Charge' Rules For Immigrants
The measures, which are now on hold, had broadened the grounds under which immigrants could be considered "public charges," a label that can ...
Judge blocks Trump admin's rule barring immigrants who use public benefits - KPQ
Judge blocks Trump admin's rule barring immigrants who use public benefits - WLS-TV
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Statement on the Department of Homeland ...
US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants | - US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
This ruling ordered the Administration to fully restore DACA, allowing some 700,000 immigrants who came to the here as children to live and work in the ...
From our friend, Paul Barby: No More Deaths sent this out. It is an outrage. Sue
July, 31, 2020
We wanted you to know about this breaking development in our work:
U.S. Border Patrol entered our humanitarian aid camp near Arivaca, Arizona, yesterday without a warrant, detaining one person, in a clear prioritization of an enforcement only strategy, while migrants were seeking medical aid and respite.
As we write this, agents are currently surrounding and surveilling the property on the ground and in the air, and have not obtained a warrant.
PLEASE CALL TUCSON STATION BORDER PATROL and demand that they stand down and respect humanitarian aid at (520) 514-4700.
Sample script: My name is _____ , and I’m calling to demand that Border Patrol stand down from the No More Deaths humanitarian aid station and stop interfering with lifesaving aid during a record-breaking heat wave.
Temperatures in the area are currently surging over 100 degrees consistently. Our work becomes even more vital in the midst of this heat wave and Border Patrol’s actions are a clear and flagrant obstruction to people receiving lifesaving humanitarian aid.
This escalation comes only a day after No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes released documents revealing that the Border Patrol union (a pro-Trump, anti-immigrant, extremist organization) provoked a June 2017 raid of our camp, calling in support from the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), the agency’s special operations unit, which was also recently deployed to Portland, Oregon.
Border Patrol has always been aware of our work at our aid camp and we have continued to maintain open lines of communication with them. The camp is on private property and we have always exercised our rights against warrantless searches.
We have long experienced and documented Border Patrol’s interference with our humanitarian aid work. In Part II of our report series, Disappeared: How US Border Enforcement Agencies are Fueling a Missing Persons Crisis, we document a pattern of interference with humanitarian aid. In the report, we argue that Border Patrol’s obstruction of humanitarian aid is not an anomaly, but is rather a logical extension of a border enforcement strategy designed to push people into life-threatening danger and use death as deterrence. This report can be read here. In addition, a video summary of the report can be seen here.
As Part II of the series discusses, Border Patrol agents have surrounded, surveilled and raided our camp on several occasions, most recently in June 2017 - until yesterday.
During the June 15, 2017 raid, Border Patrol agents conducted a military-style raid on our medical aid camp, after surrounding it for 48 hours. Just like yesterday, the raid took place in the midst of a record heat wave, with temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees. And once again, yesterday, during the most dangerous time of year in the borderlands, the Border Patrol’s resources were focused on policing a humanitarian aid station. As we explain in the report:
“These actions by Border Patrol create an atmosphere of fear and tension in a place where injured, ill, and often deeply traumatized people come in need of medical aid and respite. As one volunteer has stated, the raids and surveillance “destroy . . . the environment of safety that camp requires in order to help people with healing.” In addition, migrants in need of medical care can be frightened away and deterred from seeking help at the camp if they believe it will result in their arrest. For them, this means continuing to walk rather than seek help, potentially under conditions of severe dehydration and untreated injuries or illnesses.”
We believe that the unimpeded provision of lifesaving humanitarian assistance is essential and that Border Patrol should let us do our work in peace, in accordance with International Red Cross standards and protocols.
Next month, we will release the third report in the series, titled Left to Die: Border Patrol, Search & Rescue, and the Crisis of Disappearance. For a summary of the full report series, please go here.
If you’d like to help us continue our work, please consider giving a gift here now.
If you can’t give, we appreciate your support - please call the Tucson Border Patrol Office at the number above and demand that the Border Patrol stand down and let us continue to do our aid work.
Thank you for being with us during this challenging time.
The No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes community
P.S. To keep up to date on happenings at our aid camp, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram