Things That Matter

After A Humanitarian Group Released Video Of Border Patrol Destroying Water Left For Migrants, A Volunteer Was Arrested

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.

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.

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.

READ: This Yale Student Is Fighting To Free Her Dad From ICE Detainment

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This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Things That Matter

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Lawyers are working hard to get a deportation order removed against a woman who just left a church sanctuary after three years in the refuge. Although she was previously denied asylum in the U.S., advocates are hoping that under new direction from the Biden administration, her case will be reviewed and she’ll be able to stay with her family in Ohio – where she’s lived for more than twenty years.

A mother of three is back with her family after living three years inside a church.

A mother of three who sought refugee inside an Ohio church from immigration authorities has finally been able to leave three years later. Edith Espinal, who herself is an immigrant rights advocate, had been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 to avoid being deported to Mexico. She’s now out of the church and back with her family following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who have agreed that she’s not an immediate priority for deportation.

“Finally, I can go home,” Espinal told reporters after meeting with the officials. With tears of relief, she celebrated the small victory in the presence of dozens of supporters who accompanied her to the ICE building.

“But it is not the end of her case. We’re still going to have to fight,” her attorney Lizbeth Mateo said.

ICE has agreed to hold off on her deportation proceedings pending her asylum request.

Espinal was released under an order of supervision, meaning that while she’s not considered an immediate priority for deportation, she must periodically check in with ICE officials to inform them about her whereabouts.

She has lived in Columbus for more than two decades and had previously applied for asylum, citing rising violence in her home state of Michoacán. But she eventually was ordered to leave the country, which is when she sought refuge inside the Columbus, Ohio church.

“We’re going to continue pressing the Biden administration to do the right thing, and try to get rid of that order of deportation against Edith, so she can walk freely like everyone else does without fear,” Mateo said during the press conference.

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The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Things That Matter

The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Texas is seeing an unprecedented weather crisis as much of the state is plunged into bitterly cold conditions. But that hasn’t stopped many migrants and refugees from attempting to cross into the U.S. for protection.

Many migrants cross the Rio Grande (or Río Bravo en Mexico) between Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Crossing the Rio Grande is always a dangerous undertaking but now, thanks to the freezing weather, it’s an especially perilous journey and it’s claimed the life of another child.

An 8-year-old boy has drowned while crossing the river with his family.

Authorities have reported that an 8-year-old Honduran boy has become the latest victim in a string of drownings at the Rio Grande, between the the U.S. and Mexico. Despite the unprecedented weather, migrants continue to attempt to cross the dangerous river to reach the U.S.

The child was with his family attempting to cross the river when he drowned on Wednesday, just as Texas was gripped by Arctic conditions which have killed more than 30 people and left millions in Mexico and Texas without power, water and food. The boy’s parents and sister apparently made it to the U.S., but were returned to Mexico by U.S. Border Patrol.

According to Mexican immigration officials, the boy “couldn’t withstand the pounding water, which covered him and kept him submerged for several meters”. His body was recovered but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The Rio Grande is notoriously dangerous for people attempting to cross the border.

The journey across the Rio Grande has always been a perilous one, with hundreds of people, many of whom could not swim, having drowned over the years after being caught by the deceptively deep waters and strong current.

Add in the current winter storm currently blanketing the entire state of Texas, has produced significant snow and prolonged freezing temperatures, has made the crossing even more dangerous.

In fact, earlier in the week, the river had claimed another victim. A woman from Venezuela died trying to cross the river in the same area after getting trapped in below-freezing currents. Three others suffered hypothermia: one was treated by the Red Cross in Mexico, while the other two made it the US border.

Drownings are just one of the dangers migrants face.

Apart from the potential for drownings, migrants face a wide range of dangerous while attempting to cross from Mexico into the U.S. In late January, 19 bodies were found shot and burned in a vehicle near the town of Camargo, also across the border from Texas.

There’s also the threat of violence from drug cartels and smugglers, corrupt officials, and other extreme elements, such as heat during the summer.

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