An aid worker is facing up to 20 years in prison for giving water and food to undocumented immigrants who entered Arizona through the US southern border.
US Border Patrol agents arrested 36-year-old Scott Warren while he’s helping two migrants: Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday of Honduras and Kristian Perez-Villanueva of El Salvador.
The humanitarian aid worker, from Ajo, Arizona, was charged with harboring and attempting to harbor illegal aliens by the prosecutors during his trial at the US District Courthouse in Tucson.
Warren is a member of No More Deaths – a humanitarian group which leaves life-saving supplies like water and food for migrants crossing the desolate Sonoran Desert of Arizona.
Four other volunteers from the same organization have also been prosecuted since the incumbent administration started a crackdown on humanitarian aid workers in 2017.
According to Tuscon.com, the two undocumented immigrants Warren was helping showed up at the organization’s base – the Barn – in Ajo.
The pair told him how they had consumed just a burrito and sports drinks during their tiring two-day hike across the desert. Warren gave them water to drink, food to eat, and clothes to wear, and also allowed them to live at the Barn.
However, all three of them were arrested by US Border Patrol agents after three days.
According to US Attorney Nathaniel Walters, Warren’s case ‘is not about humanitarian aid,’ but it is about if he ‘intended to violate the law’ by hiding Sacaria-Goday and Perez-Villanueva from the border patrol.
‘No More Deaths is not on trial. Scott Warren is,’ the attorney said.
Gregory Kuykendall, Warren’s defense attorney, told the court that the aid worker is a ‘law-abiding, life-giving Good Samaritan,’ who ‘never gave [the migrant men] anything besides basic human kindness.’
Warren’s parents – Pam and Mark – and a number of his supporters staged a rally outside the courthouse to protest against his probable incarceration.
‘We were crushed to learn that he was facing serious federal charges that could result in his incarceration for many years,’ Mark Warren said to the crowd.
‘We had always been concerned, worried as parents about his work in a dangerous and tumultuous region. We just never imagined that one of the great dangers he faced was from our own government.’
The data collected by the Arizona Open GIS Initiative has found dead bodies of more than 3,000 migrants in the southern Arizona desert since 2001.
According to the Arizona Republic, 127 migrants died in the desert while trying to enter the United States in 2018.
Temperatures can reach up to 125 degrees during summer days in the 100,000 square-mile area with no source of water and food.
Most of the dead migrants can’t be returned to their families as they are never identified.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Warren said: ‘People are dying right on the edge of our town. That’s what drives me to act.
‘The government is responsible for the crisis of death and disappearance… If you stop people from putting water in the desert, that’s going to make the desert even more deadly.’