Dear Friends and fellow activists:
We're still basking in the relief and happiness that Dr. Scott Warren has been acquitted of harboring for giving two Central Americans comfort, food, water and medical care. He still has an outstanding misdemeanor charge for being on the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge without a permit. Sentencing will be in February in Judge Raner Collins' federal court in Tucson.
Ind the meantime, here are three articles my friend, Paul Barby, a No More Deaths volunteer sees as important today:
Paul’s border info:
Happy Thanksgiving weekend. Happy shopping. Sue
NOT GUILTY! Statements from Dr. Scott Warren and Volunteer Geena JacksonNovember 21, 2019 Paige Corich-Kleim
On November 20th, a jury acquitted Dr. Scott Warren on 2 counts of felony harboring. Below are statements shared after the verdict was released:
Dr. Scott Warren:“Everyone here did diligent, detailed, and amazing work. And regardless of the verdict our preparation and commitment has always paid off. I love you all. And to those who aren’t here because they are keeping up the humanitarian work in the desert, I love you, too.
And to local residents who have always provided the stranger at their door with food, water, and humanitarian relief—you know I love you as well. Both in and out of court our work here has been to educate. To explain the complicated context of the border with clarity, and to bring an understanding of the humanitarian crisis to those who will listen.
There are others who disagree with our humanitarian work. Some of those folks are in this very courthouse—but they are also our neighbors, friends, and very own family. I understand that they follow a moral compass that guides them to different conclusions about the border than me. And I know that I have much to learn from their perspectives, experiences, and frustrations as well.
And to migrants like Jose and Kristian, who are truly the ones at the center of this story, our hearts are with you for the dignity, respect, and self determination that is your right.
Unfortunately, the damage to land and life in the border region not only continues, but has been ramped up, way up, since all of this began. Throughout the trial we mistakenly referred to the land surrounding Ajo as a military range, a wilderness, a Border Patrol area of responsibility. But it’s O’odham land. All of it. And now, a new 30 foot high wall threatens further dispossession of native people and the destruction of this important and beautiful landscape.
Let’s all take a deep breath, get some rest, and be ready for—and open to— whatever comes next.”
Geena Jackson, long term desert aid volunteer:
“My name is Geena Jackson and I am a volunteer with No More Deaths.
Today the defense attorneys said in closing arguments that despite varying moralities in our current society, we have one thing in common, and that is the law. But this community, in Southern Arizona, and in every community along any border, we know that we have much more in common. We have our humanity, and no law or border can touch that. We have been saying for years that humanitarian aid is never a crime, and today 12 jurors agreed. But today I also want to remember that just being human is never a crime. They can try to regulate our communities, our movement, our communication, and our humanity, but we will resist. We can never stop caring for each other, and as living, loving beings in this desert we can never stop sharing water, food and our homes.
Scott was accused repeatedly of providing orientation to those who needed it. In court Greg Kuykendall said, “It is a human right to know where you are.” In these borderlands communities, we know where we are. We live near a border, along the lines that the state uses to determine citizenship, to define whether or not you belong. Global migration patterns are going to intensify. The climate crisis will lead to more and more displaced families. This wall being built on stolen land is not just an attempt to stop those currently walking in the desert, it is being built to try and stop the thousands who are coming seeking refuge. Now is a moment for orientation. Know where you are, and give orientation to those who don’t. Know who you are, and how you will respond, and never let any government or law challenge that. In our communities, we know where we are, and we are so much deeper than any border can define. We know what resilient people and communities look like.
I want to hold space now for the entities that this courthouse has violated. Jose and Kristian, the two people arrested with Scott, have been talked about for weeks, their intentions and actions have been deliberated over and over again. Pictures of their faces and their bodies have been flashed in this courthouse over and over again. And that was wrong. I want to take a moment to honor that a smiling selfie during an incredible journey to tell your loved ones you are OK, is a powerful and beautiful act of resiliency and comfort. Jose and Kristian’s actions and pictures do not belong anywhere near a courtroom. I want to take a moment of silence for these two men wherever they are today.
I also want to take a moment to honor this desert. Being in that courtroom I heard our home referred to as a vast nothingness over and over again. But this desert is full. It holds the lives and loves of our communities. It holds the spirits of the thousands of disappeared. It holds plants and creatures that thrive on just enough rain. This desert has taken the beating of border militarization and wall construction and remains powerful, despite what any human hands try to do.
This battle has been long and exhausting. I resent that we ever had to fight this battle in the first place. But through it all, we never stopped providing humanitarian aid. We thank all of our supporters far and wide who have followed this trial and who have taken actions big and small to help us get through to today. We hear you and see you and we know we are not alone. We know that there are communities all over the country, indeed all over the world, that are organizing in their own homes, schools, and churches.. Thank you for continuing to put water in the desert, for searching for the lost and the missing, thank you for welcoming in those who needed a rest.
Thank you to those who never stopped fighting deportations, trying to prevent anyone from ever having to make this journey in the first place. This battle has been long, and there are so many greater battles yet to come, but let’s take today and just celebrate that we won.”
DAY 5- NOVEMBER 19TH
For more information on No More Deaths’ Search and Rescue efforts or information on how to look for someone who has gone missing after crossing the border, see our website: https://nomoredeaths.org/searching-for-someone-missing-at-the-border/
No More Deaths volunteer, Paul Barby, keeps track of daily articles related to immigration, Dr. Scott Warren's trial, and other related issues. Here is one of the articles I find very interesting:
https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/469935-bernie-sanders-immigration-plan-what-happens-on-day-2. There are good and bad aspects of Sander's bill presented.
Dr. Scott Warren's trial starts up again tomorrow in DeConcini Federal Court in Tucson, AZ. I will post an update as soon as it becomes available.
Dr. Scott Warren is on trial in federal court in Tucson, Arizona for providing food, water, and medical assistance to two Central American Migrants who landed in Ajo, Arizona. Ajo is one of the deadliest areas in US for people traveling through the desert. They need support if they are going to make it to their destination.
DAY 4 – friday, NOVEMBER 15TH
See the lengthy May 4, 2019 article in THE INTERCEPT by Ryan Devereaux about Scott's case. It is worth the read.
Dr. Scott Warren is on trial in Tucson, Arizona for giving shelter, water, food and medial care to two men from Central America in Ajo, Arizona in January 2017. Following are notes from Day 3 of his trial from No More Deaths:
Day 3, Nov. 14
1. We started off the day outside court by decorating water gallons with messages of solidarity and love. Volunteers then went out to the desert on water drops, joined by members of the Catholic Worker Movement and Jewish Voice for Peace. Throughout the past two years of prosecution, we have not stopped our work in the field and regardless of the outcome of this case will continue to give aid where it is most needed.
2.Trial began with video of the interrogation of the two men arrested with Dr. Warren--José and Kristian--both of whom were detained until they testified and then deported. We acknowledge that these stories are not ours to tell, but we also don’t want their experiences to be erased.
3. José and Kristian are from Honduras and El Salvador, respectively. Like so many people who attempt this journey, they traveled for months before they scaled the wall and entered the Arizona desert. They described dropping their food and water after seeing Border Patrol agents in the desert near Ajo and continued on through the cold, without any supplies. In video deposition, José explained how he and Kristian supported each other as they navigated north - “We guided ourselves by the stars. Between the two of us, we made a good team. We supported each other mutually.”
4. In the afternoon the prosecution called Patti Fitzsimmons, a US Border Patrol Enforcement Analysis Specialist who does forensic extractions of cell phones and described their job as tracking “criminal activity” throughout the Tucson sector, and network analysis “to take down an entire organization”.
5. The prosecution focused their questioning of Fitzsimmons on selfies extracted from Kristian’s cell phone that showed José and him at a gas station and later, at the Barn cooking themselves dinner. As with the last trial, the government’s argument seems to be that the men were not visibly ill and therefore not deserving of food and water.
6. Cross-examination by the defense focused on cell phone records extracted from Dr. Warren’s phone, which included calls and texts with nurses, doctors, volunteers, and the local sheriff's department. From the previous trial we know these communications to be medical consultations and reports of recovered remains. The defense clarified that there was no evidence of contact between Dr. Warren and Kristian's phones.
7. After Fitzsimmon’s testimony, the prosecution rested their case. Defense Attorney, Amy Knight, then moved for all charges to be dropped based on insufficient evidence in the case. Judge Collins denied the motion.
8. The defense called their first witness, Dr. Greg Hess. Dr. Hess is a forensic pathologist and the Chief Medical Examiner for Pima County. He examines the remains of hundreds of people that are recovered from the desert surrounding Tucson every year. He described the increase in deaths over the last decade, stating that prior to the year 2000, less than 20 remains were recovered every year in Arizona. By 2002 this jumped to over 100, and has averaged 164 for the last 20 years. The majority of deaths are caused by exposure. The prosecution repeatedly tried to object to Dr. Hess’s testimony based on relevance stating that “there are no deaths in
this case”, but were overruled.
9. The final witness for the day was Dr. Ed McCullough, Professor of Geosciences at the University of Arizona and volunteer with the humanitarian aid organization Tucson Samaritans. Dr. McCullough was absent from trial, so the defense had the transcript of his testimony read from the previous felony trial. His testimony described geographic trends of undocumented recovered remains, focusing on the increase in remains being recovered in the west desert surrounding Ajo, Arizona – specifically, the “trail of deaths” documented in the Growler Valley.
Court does not resume until 11:30 in the morning tomorrow--Friday! There will be an overflow room available so there is plenty of space for people to come show their support. Join No More Deaths for screenprinting t-shirts tomorrow at 10am outside the courthouse, and please bring your own t-shirt if you want one
Thanks to Phoenix No More Deaths volunteer, Laura Ilardo for these posts about the trial of Dr. Scott Warren in federal court in Tucson for 2 counts of harboring migrants. Sue
DAY 2- NOVEMBER 13
Day one saw the selection and seating of the jury, opening statements by prosecutor, Anna Wright and defense attorney, Greg Kuykendall.
DAY 2 – NOVEMBER 13
DR. SCOTT WARREN IN FEDERAL COURT:
On Tuesday, November 12, in federal court in Tucson, Arizona, this gentle man, Dr. Scott Warren, will be retried for providing water, food, a bed, and medical aid to two Central American migrants in Ajo, Arizona. In June he was acquitted 8-4 of these and other charges, but the government is determined to make an example of Scott,. Please see nomoredeaths.org for daily updates of the trial. Every day, throughout Southern Arizona, people are doing just what Scott is accused of doing--helping people in need. Please follow his trial. Thanks, Sue
WHY THIS CASE MATTERS:
Here is another story by my husband, Gene, from his time in the desert leaving water for migrants: Hope you like it!!! Sue
South of Tucson and the small town of Amado and about 15 miles west of I 19, five of us arrived at a natural water tank on a summer patrol. We unloaded our packs and one-gallon plastic water jugs. We noticed an empty truck with a trailer for an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) behind it.
Five minutes later we spotted two men hiking down a trail toward us. Then we saw two other men coming down a parallel trail also directly toward us. We glanced back and forth between the two groups realizing that the second group's trail was on a lower elevation, and they couldn't see one another. To make it more interesting, the higher pair looked like migrants, while the lower pair wore the green uniforms of Border Patrol. We felt helpless as the short time passed and the groups came together where the two trails met. Few words were spoken as the agents placed the migrants under arrest. Only then did these four acknowledge our presence, although they must have noticed us peripherally.
Soon, we were sitting in a circle as people spoke quietly to one another. We offered everyone water and snack food. The agents must have felt all was secure for they did not bind the wrists and ankles of the migrants. It was like a picnic among friends.
One of the migrants said a calm voice, Nos vamos (Let’s go!!). The two migrants sprung from their seats and hit the ground running! One ran down the left fork of a trail, while his partner ran down the right fork. They were hell bent for leather as they flew the 100 feet down a steep incline to the flatter level below! Close behind, the two agents also ran, one just behind the migrant on the left. The other agent ran to his ATV, started the engine and gunned it down a third path, evidently to travel ahead and cut off the second migrant further down the trail.
After we recovered from our shock, we piled into our truck and moved off to another trail where we placed several gallons of water at a drop site. When we returned to where we had last seen the agents and migrants, we found: no people, no vehicles, nothing.
God bless us all!