Things That Matter

Prosecutors Are Still Trying To Convict A Man Who Left Water For Migrants Even Though A Jury Already Declined To Convict Him

Last year, we were shocked to hear that a person had been arrested for leaving water and food for undocumented people walking the treacherous path to the U.S.

Even more shocking was that border patrol agents were videotaped disposing of the much-needed water as if it were a game. The message they sent was clear: undocumented people do not deserve help and those that help them will get arrested.

One man knows this reality all too well as he was arrested and put on trial for helping save the lives of migrants attempting to cross into the US by leaving them water and food. His case resulted in a mistrial because the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict.

After a jury failed to convict him, Scott Warren is again facing prison time for giving water to migrants.

Credit: @thedailybeast / Twitter

Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday they will retry humanitarian aid volunteer and immigration rights activist Scott Warren on two charges related to aiding migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.

This comes just a few weeks after a jury refused to convict Warren for providing water, food, clean clothes and beds to two undocumented migrants crossing the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona.

Eight jurors found Warren not guilty; four said he was. Federal prosecutors will make their case against Warren again in an 8-day jury trial in November.

If convicted on the two felony migrant harboring charges, Warren faces up to 10 years in prison.

Credit: @theintercept / Twitter

According to CNN, prosecutors  “unexpectedly offered a plea bargain to Warren” on Tuesday that would drop the two charges in exchange for a guilty plea on the misdemeanor charge of “aiding and abetting illegal entry without inspection.”

Whether Warren will take the plea deal remains to be seen. Warren’s lawyer says that the deal is open for 10 days and that it is up to his client to consider what action he wants to take. If Warren decided to go back to court, the trial would begin in November.

Here is Scott Warren’s statement after prosecutors made the announcement.

Leaving the courthouse, Warren expressed more allegiance than ever to the cause that he has supported so deeply:

“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 in the very land itself most threatened by the militarization of our borderland communities.”

The new charges come after just a few weeks ago a jury in a federal court reached a mistrial and failed to convict him.

Credit: @hshaban / Twitter

He faced up to 20 years in jail but was freed in June after a mistrial ruling in his case. Eight of the 12 jurors wanted to acquit Warren on all three charges Arizona prosecutors had pushed.

A mistrial is not an acquittal, and Arizona prosecutors are scary crazy. It was reported on Tuesday that, while they were dropping one of the three charges, Tucson, Arizona, prosecutors would continue to pursue two charges of “harboring illegal aliens” against Warren.

One Twitter user pointed out the absurdity of the case but that the cruelty is the point with this administration.

Credit: @thedailybeast / Twitter

Not only is the Trump administration working hard to make the lives of migrants difficult and miserable once they’re in the US (especially those that are being kept in migrant detention centers) but it’s also working to criminalize those who try to help migrants.

Other’s pointed out the irony of the case given the actions of our own government.

Credit: @NoMoreDeaths / Twitter

The news of this retrial comes as shocking reports of the conditions inside migrant detention centers are going viral.

Many on Twitter were coming for Arizona, pointing out not only the ethical blunder of the decision but also the extreme waste of tax dollars.

Credit: @KristinMinkDC / Twitter

Aside from sending the message that people shouldn’t help those in need, the court cases, especially if the government loses a second time, are costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. In a state with record low education funding and growing income inequality, you think the state would have figured out its priorities.

READ: Trial Begins For Scott Warren, The Volunteer Arrested For Giving Undocumented People Water, Saving Lives

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Arizona Congresswoman Says That Hispanics Are ‘Good Workers’ But Shouldn’t Get Vaccines Before ‘American Citizens’

Things That Matter

Arizona Congresswoman Says That Hispanics Are ‘Good Workers’ But Shouldn’t Get Vaccines Before ‘American Citizens’

Photo via Getty Images

Coronavirus infection rates are falling drastically, but a new debate rages on: how to quickly, effectively, and ethically distribute vaccines to as many people as possible.

Last week, Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko stated that Hispanic people–despite being “good workers”–shouldn’t get vaccinated before “American citizens”.

“I worked with people that are Hispanic,” Rep. Lesko said “I mean they’re very good workers…We’re compassionate people, but for goodness sakes, we have to take care of American citizens, or people that are here legally, first.”

She continued: “I’m just not going to be able to explain to my senior citizens that we’re giving away the vaccines to people that (are) here illegally. I just think that’s totally wrong.”

“My Democratic colleagues are putting illegal immigrants over them,” Lesko said during the hearing. “If I read it right, all this amendment says is put Americans first. Put Americans first, and once they’re all vaccinated, then you can go to the illegal immigrants.”

The statement was made during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing where representatives were debating an amendment to a COVID-19 relief bill.

The Republican amendment suggested prioritizing American citizens over non-citizens when it comes to getting vaccinated first. Democrats argued that purposefully excluding non-citizens from getting vaccinated would keep the virus from being properly contained.

“The vaccine has no clue about where you come from, whether you have papers, whether you’re considered a citizen or legal or not,” said Democratic Congresswoman from Illinois, Jan Schakowsky. “It makes no sense. This is dangerous.”

Arizona State Senator Martin Quezada told NBC News that Lesko’s statement “reeks of racism.”

“There are a lot of people of color in her district and for her to be disconnected and really that offensive about how she sees us, as nothing more than good workers and not entitled to equitable vaccine distribution,” he said.

When asked about her remarks, Rep. Lesko defend them to political outlet The Hill: “Taken in context, my remarks clearly were aimed at ensuring that seniors receive taxpayer-funded vaccines before illegal immigrants,” she said. “During debate on the amendment, after being interrupted several times, I said something that could be misinterpreted, but it certainly was not my intent.”

But it seems that it this point, Lesko is trying to do damage control. Just today, she tweeted out a picture of the local “Hispanic Advisory Board”, accompanied by a caption written completely in Spanish.

“Estoy orgullosa por el lanzamiento de nuestra Junta Asesora Hispana, la primera reunión fue anoche,” the tweet read. “Esta se enfocará en las maneras en que podemos servir mejor a los miembros de nuestra comunidad Hispana en Arizona!” (“I am proud of the launch of our Hispanic Advisory Board, the first meeting was last night. It will focus on ways we can better serve members of our Hispanic community in Arizona!“)

Serving a state that is 30% Hispanic, it seems like Lesko may now be regretting her previous comments…

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They Survived 33 Days On A Deserted Island Thanks To Coconuts And Rats Before Being Rescued By The Coast Guard

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They Survived 33 Days On A Deserted Island Thanks To Coconuts And Rats Before Being Rescued By The Coast Guard

Fleeing your home country and leaving everything you hold dear behind you is one of the biggest sacrifices that many migrants and refugees make in their journey to a better life.

However, for a trio of Cubans fleeing their homes on the island, things took an even darker turn when their boat capsized in the middle of the Caribbean and they were forced to swim to a deserted island. It would be weeks before they would be rescued and they were forced to find a way to survive off of what little the island provided in terms of food and shelter. Their story is one of incredible survival.

U.S. Coast Guard rescued three Cuban migrants from a deserted island.

While doing routine patrols earlier in the week, an aircrew of the U.S. Coast Guard spotted two men and a woman waving makeshift flags on a deserted island between the Lower Florida Keys and Cuba. The Coast Guard dropped down a radio, food, and water to the trio on Monday and rescued them off the island on Tuesday.

“It was incredible. I don’t know how they did it. I was amazed they were in as good as shape as they were,” Lt. Justin Dougherty told CNN affiliate WPLG.

According to the rescued migrants, their boat had capsized in rough waters about five weeks ago and they were forced to swim to the island.

The trio did all they could to survive on the deserted island for 33 days.

According to the Florida Sun Sentinel, the group lived off coconuts, conches and rats while on the island. The group had also built themselves a temporary shelter, a coast guard official said.

“Being out in those harsh elements for a long period of time, they were very happy to see us,” helicopter pilot Mike Allert told ABC’s Good Morning America. “I cannot recall a time that we saved people who were stranded for over a month on an island. That is a new one for me.”

They were taken to the Lower Keys medical center, where none appeared to have serious injuries. And by Wednesday, they were in federal custody after being moved to an immigration facility in Pompano Beach, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

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