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

pmingram / Twitter

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

An Undocumented Girl From Guatemala Was Locked In A Room And Sexually Assaulted By Relatives, According To A Report

Things That Matter

An Undocumented Girl From Guatemala Was Locked In A Room And Sexually Assaulted By Relatives, According To A Report

niu niu / Unsplash

TW: This story contains disturbing anecdotes of sexual violence.

Arizona’s Customs and Border Patrol Agency (CBP) announced the arrest of an Iowa couple for human smuggling and sexual assault after a Guatemalan girl was found in the streets of Sioux City and told her story to authorities. The girl, whose name will not be released for her own safety, is being referred as  “ABF” on the federal affidavit detailing the perpetrator’s charges. Amy Francisco and her husband, Cristobal Francisco-Nicolas have been arrested and charged.

The couple was arrested in San Diego, but will likely face a federal court in Iowa.

ABF was found wandering Sioux City, urgently telling pedestrians she’d been sexually assaulted.

Credit: @CBPArizona / Twitter

From there, Sioux City police interviewed ABF to learn that she and her father, Fernando Bartolo-Francisco were smuggled into the U.S. by relatives, Cristobal Francisco-Nicolas and his wife Amy Francisco. She said they were released from El Paso Detention Center because of overcrowding and were flown to Omaha by their relatives.

The couple then locked ABF in a room with a metal bed and a bucket for a bathroom.

Google Images

Above is a Google image of the couple’s home where she was allegedly locked in. The affidavit said that, “ABF then stated Cristobal raped her and that Amy watched it happen from the door to the locked room. After being raped five times, ABF stated that one morning Cristobal left for work and did not lock the door.”

She then snuck out of the house while Amy Francisco was sleeping. She roamed the streets looking for someone who spoke Spanish to help her. 

The Iowa couple admitted to smuggling ABF in but requested an attorney when law enforcement began questioning them for the alleged rape of ABF.

Credit: @mosettastone / Twitter

Francisco-Nicolas told police that he made arrangements for a coyote to transfer the father and daughter to the U.S. after learning through his sister that they were desperate to leave Guatemala. 

“Cristobal stated he knows he messed up and the mistake he made was receiving these people,” the affidavit said. “Cristobal requested an attorney when law enforcement began to question him about the alleged rape of ABF.”

In response, some folks are taking the opportunity to demand CBP shut down the concentration camps and seek justice for victims within the system.

Credit: @johuyik / Twitter

In February 2019, a report was released that detailed thousands of immigrant children saying they were sexually abused in U.S. detention centers. Between 2012 and March 2018 alone, there were 1,448 allegations of sexual abuse filed with ICE. Certainly, not every victim files a complaint. 

Last year, the ACLU helped an asylum-seeker from Honduras file suit against an employee at a detention center for failure to protect her from sexual violence.

Untitled. Digital Image. ACLU. 17 July 2019

 Court documents detail how her abuser threatened her with possible deportation while their coworkers stood by and continued the jokes. There are laws in place that criminalize any kind of sexual behavior between a correctional facility staff member and the people in their custody. That’s because consent cannot happen when powers are imbalanced. This facility is still trying to deflect responsibility by saying the detainee “consented.”

Some people are taking the opportunity to blame Democrats for ABF’s assault.

Credit: @THE_DAILY_BLEAT / Twitter

Given that ICE and CBP are not being held accountable by anyone. That fact, among many others including the conditions of the camps themselves, has incited public outrage, nationwide protests, and finger-pointing on both sides of the aisle. 

Everyone seems to agree on one thing: prosecute.

Credit: @CAWPBT / Twitter

Folks who don’t want to see immigrants in this country are weaponizing the tragedy by alleging it as cause to close the border. Folks who care about immigrants see the instance as a clear example of why undocumented immigrants should be granted basic rights that would allow ABF’s father to be lawfully employed and to live openly.

The culture of fear for undocumented immigrants makes them among the most vulnerable members of our society. ABF was not registered with a school. Her father couldn’t go to authorities without risking deportation. It’s clear that an undocumented child wouldn’t go looking for the police unless her claims were valid. 

Yes, prosecute these individuals, and also make it safer for every family to exist without harm.

READ: Major Hotel Chains Are Rolling Out Panic Buttons To Protect Their Employees From Sexual Assault

Lindsey Graham Returns From Trip To Migrant Detention Center And Shows He Has Zero Empathy For Them

Things That Matter

Lindsey Graham Returns From Trip To Migrant Detention Center And Shows He Has Zero Empathy For Them

lindseygrahamsc / Instagram

As Trump doubled down on his tweets to AOC and other minority female congresswomen – telling them to go back to “their own countries” – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had just returned from a visit to two migrant detention centers. But he was quick to make his way on to Sunday morning talkshows to speak about his experience in the detention centers but also to Trump’s recent openly racist tweets at a group of sitting congresswomen.

On Sunday, Graham was on Fox News spewing hateful and hurtful language.

In his visit to the detention centers, Graham, along with the rest of his group, was seen as having shown no sympathy for any of the migrants. He stood there stonefaced. And now we have a better understanding of why.

In his appearance on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures, Graham gave voice to his body language, saying: “I don’t care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days. We’re not going to let those men go that I saw.”

You can watch the exhange below:

Graham, who said that “this was not a concentration camp that I saw,” also repeated an unsubstantiated myth broadcast by the president and the Department of Homeland Security during the last government shutdown: the idea that the southern border represents a point of entry for terrorists. “A terrorist could easily get in this group,” Graham said. “We have terrorists coming through the southern border because they find that’s probably the easiest place to come through. They drive right in and they make a left.” But as a State Department report from September 2018 found, there is “no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.”

Though let’s not forget, Graham did try to pass a bill that would of mandated that migrant minors be held in detention for 100 days.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has introduced legislation aimed at changing the asylum seeking process. Specifically, Sen. Graham’s new bill would target Central American migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border to legally seek asylum. Many of the Central American migrants are fleeing deadly discrimination, sexual exploitation, and rampant gang violence. Sen. Graham’s bill seeks to make asylum a harder and lengthier process.

After his shocking statements on migrants, Graham then weighed in on Trump’s blatantly racist attack on a group of congresswomen, including AOC.

Not only did Sen. Graham fail to condmen Trump’s disgusting comments, Graham decided to add fuel to the fire. Instead, he called the group of congresswomen (which included AOC, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts) a bunch of communists.

He then added, “they hate Israel, they hate our own country. They’re calling the guards along our border, the border patrol agents, ‘concentration camp guards.’ They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins. They’re anti-Semitic. They’re anti-America.”

Shortly after Graham made the comments, Trump shared them in a tweet, writing, “Need I say more?”

Many on social media were rightly wondering if this man even has a conscience?

I mean when someone is capable spewing this much hate on a round of Sunday morning talk shows, it’s a legitimate question to ask.

Can we all look back on the days when Graham was a staunch #NeverTrumper?

And now one organization is putting up billboads all over his homestate to remind voters of his flip flops.

Some of the memes this generated though are all too real…

Sadly, this just seems really disturbing at this point. The former #NeverTrump Graham seems to have gone all in on racist, hateful, hurtful policies, words, and so much more.

READ: Sen. Lindsey Graham Is Proposing A New Bill To Hold Minors In Asylum For 100 Days And Twitter Slapped Him With The Best Hashtag

Paid Promoted Stories