Volunteers convicted for leaving food and water for migrants crossing US-Mexico border
The US-Mexico border issue is getting out of hand with volunteers being prosecuted for showing any act of kindness towards migrants.
On January 18th, some members of the NGO, 'No More Death' were convicted guilty on all charges by a federal magistrate judge, Bernardo Velasco.
The volunteers, Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse, and Zaachila Orozco were charged on account of entering a national wildlife refuge without a permit.
(THREAD) #NoMoreDeaths statement on today's conviction:— No More Deaths | No Más Muertes (@NoMoreDeaths) January 19, 2019
Federal Magistrate Judge Velasco issued a guilty verdict in this week's case against 4 NMD aid volunteers, convicting them on all charges. A date for sentencing will be set within 10 days. #HumanitarianAidIsNeverACrime pic.twitter.com/GtZI63KjzD
One of the helpers, Ms. Hoffman, was additionally charged with operating a vehicle in the wilderness. All these charges are a misdemeanor, but they were all found guilty of the crimes. Although they have not been sentenced yet, they are liable to about 0 to 6 months in jail due to the weight of their crimes.
These four individuals are among nine others whose offenses are also related to helping and giving to the less privileged.
The 4 aid workers are among 9 #NMD volunteers facing charges for their efforts to place food and water on the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge, a vast and remote area near Ajo, AZ where 155 border crossers are known to have died since 2001 and countless more have disappeared. pic.twitter.com/mnHR7hHknZ— No More Deaths | No Más Muertes (@NoMoreDeaths) January 19, 2019
The remaining five will have their case presided on by a judge on February 26th and March 4 this year.
Sentencing for each charge can range from 0 to 6 months of time in federal prison and a fine of up to $500. The remaining volunteers facing misdemeanor charges are scheduled to begin trial on February 26 and March 4 of this year. pic.twitter.com/n3O2mNsLYN— No More Deaths | No Más Muertes (@NoMoreDeaths) January 19, 2019
Catherine Gaffney, a long time #NoMoreDeaths volunteer, said: “This verdict challenges not only No More Deaths volunteers, but people of conscience throughout the country. If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?” pic.twitter.com/7emWuf6tfF— No More Deaths | No Más Muertes (@NoMoreDeaths) January 19, 2019
In his ruling, Judge Velasco noted that the Refuge is “littered with unexploded military ordinances, the detritus of illegal entry into the United States, and the on-road and off-road vehicular traffic of the US Border Patrol.” #DropTheCharges pic.twitter.com/foTwZ8y0vP— No More Deaths | No Más Muertes (@NoMoreDeaths) January 19, 2019
The news is bewildering, and people have shared their discernment about the judge's ruling on Twitter.
One person commented:
"In addition to basic humanity, the judge’s words also lack a logical premise. A wildlife refuge littered with rotting bodies of refugees who died because rescuers were prevented from providing lifesaving aid flies in the face of preserving a pristine environment."
"How convenient. So they're environmentalists when it suits their inhumane agenda."
This is so sad. Convicted for trying to help other HUMANS! smdh— Tricia (@alwaztypin) January 20, 2019
The desert borderlands of the southwest are not conducive for people. The temperature is unbelievably high during the summer; annoyingly low during winter and there is also a scarcity of water. And the government is well aware of these details. It is quite ironical and sad to have people suffer for showing kindness towards others who are less privileged.
The USA- Mexico border issue is one of the most divisive issues currently, even at the highest tier of government. It's responsible for the longest government shutdown in the history of the USA.