Man Who Supplied Hungry Migrants With Food And Water Can Be Put In Jail For 20 Years. "Help Is Not A Crime," His Supporters Say

Volunteer Scott Warren faces up to 20 years in prison for simply providing undocumented immigrants shelter.
Scott Warren, a volunteer for No More Deaths, an advocacy group based in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, United States, that fights for the rights of undocumented immigrants crossing over to the country from South America through the border between the US and Mexico, was arrested in January 2018 for handing such migrants basic necessities including food and water. He currently faces three felony charges which hold up to 20 years in prison. His trial for aiding border crossers recently began and is expected to continue up until the month of June this year, reports CNN.
Man Who Supplied Hungry Migrants With Food And Water Can Be Put In Jail For 20 Years. "Help Is Not A Crime," His Supporters Say
Nate Walters, the assistant US attorney leading the prosecution, affirmed in his opening statement on Wednesday morning, "This case is not about humanitarian aid. [It is about Warren's decision] to shield illegal aliens from law enforcement for several days." The charges he presently faces have been handed to him for helping two undocumented migrants cross over the border. The accused has pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor the two men as well as to two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants.
Man Who Supplied Hungry Migrants With Food And Water Can Be Put In Jail For 20 Years. "Help Is Not A Crime," His Supporters Say

The very serious charges that Warren is forced to face, paired with the increasingly threatening rhetoric that has been perpetuated by President Donald Trump's administration and White House, implies that all humanitarian aid volunteers are at risk if founding helping immigrants even in the most basic ways. Peg Bowden, a longtime volunteer with the Green Valley/Sahuarita Samaritans who was present at the trial, stated, "[It is] a difficult, frightening, profound moment for humanitarian workers."
Man Who Supplied Hungry Migrants With Food And Water Can Be Put In Jail For 20 Years. "Help Is Not A Crime," His Supporters Say

Warren's defense attorney Gregory Kuykendall has disputed all the claims against him. He described the volunteer as a law-abiding citizen and good Samaritan and claimed that his actions (handing the undocumented immigrants some food, water, and even sheltering them) were "squarely and fully within the law in the midst of a humanitarian crisis in Ajo," an area located quite close to the US-Mexico border. The region receives a flock of immigrants daily.
Man Who Supplied Hungry Migrants With Food And Water Can Be Put In Jail For 20 Years. "Help Is Not A Crime," His Supporters Say

According to Kuykendall, No More Deaths operates well within the legal framework of the United States as it is a ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson. Therefore, the humanitarian aid organization follows formal protocols and procedures that were established long before Warren's time in order to make sure the aid No More Deaths provides "is effective, responsible and legal." In addition to this, Warren was well-trained in these procedures.
Man Who Supplied Hungry Migrants With Food And Water Can Be Put In Jail For 20 Years. "Help Is Not A Crime," His Supporters Say

The attorney told the 41-person jury, carefully selected to represent a community of people whose lives and livelihoods are embroiled with local border tensions on a daily basis, "Scott Warren never committed anything but basic human kindness." However, some believe that the court is attempting to make an example out of Warren, such as his father Mark Warren. He said in an interview with CNN, "I do think they're making an example of him. He's the means by which they mean to send a message."
Man Who Supplied Hungry Migrants With Food And Water Can Be Put In Jail For 20 Years. "Help Is Not A Crime," His Supporters Say

This is not the first time such a case has entered the court. A similar case occurred prior to Trump's entry into the White House, disclosed Shanti Sellz, a vegetable farmer in eastern Iowa, who was a visiting summer volunteer at No More Deaths in 2005 when she and a fellow volunteer were arrested by Border Patrol agents for driving three extremely sick undocumented immigrants to a hospital in Tucson. She said, "Trump amped up a lot of this fear, but 15 years ago I experienced exactly the same thing. We argued that humanitarian aid is never a crime." It is unclear whether the same argument will stand in a court of law over a decade later, but there is no doubt that should Warren be punished for his basic act of kindness, chaotic demonstrations will ensue.
Man Who Supplied Hungry Migrants With Food And Water Can Be Put In Jail For 20 Years. "Help Is Not A Crime," His Supporters Say