Trial is beginning for a U.S. activist charged with harboring illegal aliens and conspiring to transport them.
Scott Warren, a volunteer with No More Deaths, faces 20 years in prison if convicted of three felony counts in a case that could set future precedent for what assistance U.S. citizens can provide to illegal migrants who cross the border.
“U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Scott Warren in a January 2018 raid near Ajo, Arizona, after they found two migrants hiding in the shower of a ramshackle building used by humanitarian groups,” Reuters reports.
“Warren was indicted after former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed prosecutors to prioritize cases involving the harboring of migrants. The crackdown was part of President Donald Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policies meant to deter illegal immigration.”
Warren’s lawyers argue his apprehension was a retaliatory move in response to a report published by No More Deaths denouncing Border Patrol for destroying water provisions left out for migrants by the group’s volunteers.
“After a dangerous journey across Mexico and a difficult crossing through the Arizona desert, someone told Jose and Kristian that they might find water and food at a place in Ajo called the Barn,” Warren explains in an article published by the Washington Post. “The Barn is a gathering place for humanitarian volunteers like me, and there the two young men were able to eat, rest and get medical attention.”
“As the two were preparing to leave, the Border Patrol arrested them. Agents also handcuffed and arrested me, for — in the agency’s words — having provided the two migrants with ‘food, water, clean clothes and beds.’”
In the piece, Warren goes on to slam the Trump administration for “warehousing asylees, separating families, caging children.”
While Warren’s attorneys argue their client was exercising his religious rights to provide aid to migrants, prosecutors are expected to assert the activist “went beyond humanitarian aid and helped migrants enter the country illegally,” according to Reuters.
The United States is experiencing one of the worst illegal migration surges in the nation’s history, as hundreds of thousands of migrants flood the southern border.
“Border Patrol’s apprehension numbers are off the charts,” CBP tweeted in mid-May. “Nearly 520,000 people have been apprehended on the SW border this FY.”
“In the past 7 days, agents have averaged 4,500+ arrests per day. USBP has already surpassed the TOTAL SW border apprehensions of every FY since 2009.”
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Cornelius Rupert T.