Daily Dispatch 11/8/2019: Scott Warren Goes to Trial…Again
In June, Scott Warren was put on trial in a Federal Court on conspiracy charges connected to human trafficking. His crime was helping two immigrants from El Salvador when they showed up at a shelter in Ajo, Arizona. We wrote on the background of Scott’s case in May, lifting up a detailed review from the Intercept. Scott’s trial ended in a hung jury, and in July, the Federal government decided to retry him on harboring unauthorized immigrants, dropping the conspiracy charge. The new trial begins next week.
The organization that Scott volunteers with, No More Deaths, will be hosting a webinar this Sunday for anyone interested in finding out more about the case and the advocacy that the organization is involved in to support immigrants. Scott was not the first No More Deaths volunteer to be prosecuted – indeed, attempts to prosecute volunteers, who leave water and other supplies in the desert, go back to at least the Bush administration. But Scott’s trial for conspiracy was a unique overreach, clearly intended to intimidate those not only helping immigrants but using those experiences to speak out for changes in policy.
Announcement from No More Deaths
No More Deaths is hosting a webinar this Sunday at 12 PST/1 MST/3 EST for folks interested in learning more about the case. Please join in:
*Water Not Walls: Resisting the Criminalization of Aid in the Borderlands* Register here.
An overview will be given of the legal challenges No More Deaths has faced this past year as well as discussion about the upcoming trial. This webinar is designed to give participants the information needed to speak about why the prosecution of aid workers sets a dangerous precedent for people of conscience everywhere.
The Intercept followed Scott’s trial with a detailed, fascinating account that you can read here. An interesting aspect of the trial corresponded to another action we joined in June that involved providing support for two human rights workers in Mexico, Cristóbal Sánchez and Irineo Mujica, who were arrested on trafficking charges as well. Part of the government’s conspiracy case revolved around connections between Scott and Irineo Mujica. From the Intercept:
Mujica operates a migrant shelter in the Mexican border town of Sonoyta, just south of Ajo. He is better known, however, for his role leading Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an immigration rights group that organized and supported some of the migrant caravans that led President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency and deploy thousands of troops to the border last year. In February, The Intercept revealed that Mujica and Pueblo Sin Fronteras were targets in a sprawling intelligence-gathering operation that swept up a number of activists, journalists, and immigration attorneys working with caravan members in the San Diego, Tijuana, area in late 2018 and early 2019.
Mujica and Sánchez were arrested during Scott Warren’s trial – indeed the day he was scheduled to testify. Both were released within days. At the time it seemed to be a clear cut effort by the Mexican government to make Trump happy amidst threats from the administration for increased tariffs and so on. However, I have to wonder about the timing and if this wasn’t also part of an effort to boost the government’s case against Warren.
In any event, none of this worked. The jury was split – eight finding him non-guilty, and four finding him guilty.
The day after Warren’s trial ended, a terrible reminder about the importance of the work of No More Deaths, and the abject cruelty of U.S. border policy:
Border Patrol agents recovered the body of 6-year-old Gurupreet Kaur the following day. She was found south of Ajo, on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where Warren and other area humanitarian groups have directed much of their work. Her cause of death was heat stroke. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, temperatures had reached a high of 108 degrees in the area where she was found. The second grader passed away while her mother, who came to the U.S. from India to seek asylum, was searching for water.
The full Intercept article on Scott’s first trial is here.
Take Action to Halt Deportation
[We received this from Mijente just before publishing the Daily today. Please take action and share widely!!!]
The community in Georgia is in need of help to halt the deportation of
Tania Romero, a Honduran mother and survivor of stage 4 cancer. She has
been detained for over two months and her health is deteriorating by the
day, particularly because ICE has refused to provide her with the medical
attention she needs.
As of today, ICE has attempted to get the Honduran Consulate to issue a
travel document to have her removed, despite her health condition. Her
attorney is currently working on a Stay of Deportation, but we need lots of
attention on this case to make time for this to happen.
If you can help us by sharing this petition far and wide, it would be very
helpful. Also, if anyone has any ideas for the family and community of
steps that can be taken in the meantime, they would be much appreciated!