On Jan. 17, a humanitarian organization released a video that showed Border Patrol agents destroying food and water left for migrants who were trying to cross into the United States.
No More Deaths is an organization that helps migrants survive as they walk through Ajo, Arizona, a border town with a dangerously rugged terrain. The migrants from Mexico cross this town in hopes of entering the U.S.
The humanitarian group has been around since 2004 and their efforts of supplying migrants with food, water, clothing, shelter, and medical care is largely based on faith-based principals, according to their mission statement.
According to NBC News, the advocacy group says that out of 128 human remains that were found near the border in 2017, 58 of them were discovered in Ajo.
It seems border agents may have been watching members of the group leave behind supplies for migrants. At least that’s what No More Deaths believes.
Just hours after the video was released, one of their volunteers, an Arizona teacher, was arrested for giving migrants food and water.
— 12 News (@12News) January 23, 2018
Scott Daniel Warren, a volunteer with No More Deaths for many years and a faculty associate at Arizona State University, was arrested eight hours after the group did a press conference regarding Border Patrol agents and the destruction of supplies. He was charged with harboring undocumented immigrants. He has since been released from custody.
The Arizona Republic reports the video surveillance showed Warren walking towards a building referred to as “The Barn” where two migrants eventually showed up. No More Deaths volunteers typically leave supplies here for migrants. The migrants caught in the video eventually turned themselves in to agents.
“Scott has been instrumental in helping organize humanitarian aid in that region,” Jeff Reinhardt, a volunteer with No More Deaths, told NBC News.
His lawyer says the arrest was made in retaliation for releasing the video of the agents, which quickly went viral.
The same day a No More Deaths volunteer was detained by Border Patrol, the humanitarian group released video showing agents destroying water set out for migrants, reports @RafaelCarranza https://t.co/liP0PCRpaG
— azcentral (@azcentral) January 22, 2018
Warren’s attorney, Bill Walker, said the timing of the arrest was very suspicious and added that the organization isn’t doing anything illegal.
“We don’t smuggle them, we don’t do anything to help them enter the United States, we do nothing illegal,” Walker told The Arizona Republic. “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.”
No More Deaths volunteer Caitlin Deighan also agreed with Walker, saying the arrest was out of vengeance.
“It felt retaliatory in that it occurred less than eight hours after our press conference releasing these findings that implicated Border Patrol,” Deighan said. “But we can’t confirm that with certainty.”
Carlos Díaz, an agency representative with the United States Customs and Border Patrol, told Splinter that this arrest was lawful and not the result of the video’s release.
The Guardian reports that two volunteers with No More Deaths were arrested and charged in 2005 for driving three immigrants “from a desert location to a Tucson church.” A federal judge dismissed the case.
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