Scott Warren, a well-known and longtime aid worker who helps migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, was found not guilty Wednesday of “harboring illegal immigrants.” Warren was facing a maximum of 10 years in prison for his humanitarian aid work.
Warren had been charged with two harboring charges by the federal government. This was his second trial. His first trial ended in a mistrial because the jury was unable to reach a verdict on one count of conspiracy to transport and two counts of “harboring illegal aliens.”
CNN reported that Warren, who lives and works in Arizona with the humanitarian group No More Deaths, was originally accused of harboring two undocumented men in Ajo, Ariz., in January 2018. The property where the men were staying is frequently used by No More Deaths and other humanitarian groups to leave food and water for migrants crossing the often deadly desert.
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“This really affirms the right(s) of people crossing the border or otherwise in the desert to receive humanitarian aid and our right to give aid,” Jeff Reinhardt, a spokesman for No More Deaths, told CNN.
“This verdict is validation of what we have always known: that #humanitarianaidisneveracrime We will continue to provide food, water, and medical aid to all those who need it, until the day that no one dies or disappears while crossing the deserts and oceans of the world,” No More Deaths tweeted following the verdict.
BREAKING: Dr. Scott Warren found NOT GUILTY on all charges for providing food, water, shelter, and medical care to two undocumented men. Yet again, No More Deaths has withstood the government’s attempts to criminalize basic human compassion.
— No More Deaths (@NoMoreDeaths) November 20, 2019
No More Deaths was founded in 2004 by several faith groups. Since 2008, it has been an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, according to its website. The group says that hundreds, if not more, migrants have died in the desert between Mexico and Arizona since 2001 alone.
So far in 2019, volunteers have put more than 12,000 gallons of water throughout the Arizona desert, where migrants have to walk between 30 to 80 miles to reach shelter, in an attempt to stop death by dehydration, according to their website.