Immigration

Activist Arrested After Exposing Border Patrol for Dumping Water Left for Migrants

More than 8,000 have died attempting to cross the Mexican border since the 1990s.

Last week, humanitarian and immigrant rights organizations No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos released a report and videos that exposed Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents intentionally vandalizing and destroying life-saving jugs of water left by No More Deaths for border crossers in the desert. Just hours after the release, Scott Daniel Warren, an Arizona State University instructor and volunteer with the organization, was arrested on a federal harboring charge for providing two migrants with food and water:

"Mr. Warren was not acting in his capacity as an ASU employee at the time of the alleged incident and we have no reason to believe it will impact his ability to fulfill his current duty with the university," a university spokesperson said in a statement to 12 News.

Group volunteer Caitlin Deighan stopped short of calling the arrest retaliation, but says she believes it looks suspicious to have charged Warren so close to the release of the videos.

The Border Patrol didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Deighan's claim that the timing of the arrest was suspicious.

Except No More Death’s operations have been under increased scrutiny by Border Patrol since Donald Trump’s inauguration, with agents raiding the group’s life-saving medical camp last summer. In recent weeks, unshackled Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have also been trying to choke off the immigrant rights movement by arresting prominent immigrant leaders. Just when you think this mass deportation agenda can’t get more depraved, out of control Border Patrol agents appear to be aiding in this thuggery by targeting humanitarians trying to prevent senseless deaths in the desert.

According to The Guardian, Warren’s arrest Wednesday “came after border patrol agents conducted surveillance on a building where two immigrants were given food, water, beds and clean clothes, according to federal court records”:

The border patrol did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The border patrol did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
William Walker, an attorney for Warren, said his client’s actions were not criminal.
“This is a humanitarian aid worker trying to save lives,” Walker said.

"We don't smuggle them, we don't do anything to help them enter the United States, we do nothing illegal,” Walker continued. “This place that they raided is not in the middle of the desert, it's not hidden anywhere. It's in the city of Ajo, and it's been used for a long time, not to help smuggle migrants, but to give medical care and food and water." What humanitarian groups revealed in their report and videos is what’s truly criminal:

No More Deaths says that of the nearly 32,000 gallon jugs volunteers have left on trails, nearly 3,600 were destroyed by humans—and, specifically, border patrol agents. In a video released by No More Deaths, a border patrol agent smiles at the camera as he pours out jugs one-by-one, saying “make sure you get a nice shot … picking up this trash that somebody left on the trail.” In other footage, agents also appear to be smiling as one kicks over jug after jug.

Data suggests that more than 8,000 migrants have died attempting to cross the border since the 1990s, succumbing to heat, exhaustion, and exposure in the searing desert sun. No More Deaths estimates deaths to be as high as 10,000, with hundreds of unidentified bodies—with no way for them to be claimed—buried in graves in California, Arizona, and Texas.

Mass deportation agents are killing people by destroying life-saving aid, and now they’re trying to stop the very people saving those lives by retaliating against them. There’s no other way to see it. "It felt retaliatory in that it occurred less than eight hours after our press conference releasing these findings that implicated Border Patrol," said volunteer Caitlin Deighan. "But we can't confirm that with certainty."

 

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