Immigration

Prosecutors Will Retry the Volunteer Who Gave Humanitarian Aid to Migrants

Scott Warren is accused of harboring two undocumented immigrants after he gave them food, water, and a place to sleep.

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Federal prosecutors in Tucson, Arizona announced they will seek to retry Scott Warren on two charges of harboring undocumented immigrants but will dismiss a charge of conspiracy to transport them after a jury deadlocked in June over those same charges.

In lieu of another trial, which is currently slated for November 12, prosecutors also offered Warren a plea deal on Tuesday, offering to drop the harboring charges if he pleads guilty to aiding and abetting illegal entry without inspection. Greg Kuykendall, Warren's defense attorney, tells CNN that those charges would not include jail time.

Warren was arrested in January 2018 and accused of giving two migrants from Central America—Kristian Perez-Villanueva of El Salvador and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday of Honduras—food, water, and a place to sleep for three nights. He is a volunteer with No More Deaths, an advocacy organization that works to stop migrant fatalities that occur as they cross the dangerous stretch of Arizona desert along the southern border. Warren testified that his crimes amounted to nothing more than human kindness after the two migrants—suffering from dehydration, exhaustion, and blisters—showed up "the Barn," a communal building in Ajo, Arizona, used by a group of local humanitarian aid groups.

Prosecutors argued during the initial proceedings that the case was "not about humanitarian aid," but that Warren had intentionally worked "to shield illegal aliens from law enforcement for several days." Border Patrol agents testified that they observed a conversation between the two migrants and Warren in which he pointed to the mountains nearby. Although they admitted they could not hear the contents of the discussion, they said they assumed he was coaching them on how to avoid a Border Patrol checkpoint.

Testifying on his own behalf, Warren disputed that characterization, telling jurors that he provided no such workaround. "We are not going to hide them, we're not going to keep them from Border Patrol," he said he told the two migrants.

Several founders of No More Deaths provided their own supporting testimonies, explaining that they developed legal protocols for their volunteer work in line with those of the International Red Cross. Andy Silverman, an emeritus professor of law at the University of Arizona and one of the group's founders, said they shared those standards with Border Patrol and met with them regularly to guarantee that "we do things in a proper and a legal way, we do things transparently."

The charges and corresponding trial were part of a larger effort to crack down on illegal immigration, which has criminalized some good Samaritans in the process. A Texas city attorney was recently arrested and detained for stopping on the side of the road to help three Central American migrants, one of whom was gravely ill.

Warren has not yet announced if he will take the plea deal. "While I do not know what the government has hoped to accomplish here, I do know what the effect of all this has been," he said in a statement. "A raising of public consciousness. A greater awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the borderland. More volunteers who want to stand in solidarity with migrants. Local residents stiffened in their resistance to border walls and the militarization of our communities. And a flood of water into the desert at a time when it is most needed."

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  1. “Warren was arrested in January 2018 and accused of giving two migrants from Central America—Kristian Perez-Villanueva of El Salvador and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday of Honduras—food, water, and a place to sleep for three nights.”

    Uh, no, he was arrested and accused of harboring undocumented immigrants and conspiracy to transport. Those accusations arose from his providing the illegal immigrants with food, water and a place to sleep for for three nights. In addition to officers observing him pointing at a highway going through the mountains and a few other pieces of circumstantial evidence.

    You all reported this yourselves.

    1. Those accusations arose from his providing the illegal immigrants with food, water and a place to sleep for for three nights. In addition to officers observing him pointing at a highway going through the mountains.

      He have people food and shelter and pointed at a highway? Obviously execution is too good for him.

      1. Its offensive to liberty that he was even arrested in the first place with such lackluster evidence.

        1. Prosecutors are gonna prosecute. It’s a reason none should ever be elected as president.

    2. Reason is a cesspool of All the Spin that Fits The Narrative.

      The guy broke the law.

      It is a crime to knowingly induce illegals to come or remain in the US, bring in illegals to the US, transport illegals, and conceal, harbor, or shield illegals from detection.

      8 U.S. Code § 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens
      https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1324

      1. Not what I was saying. I don’t think there’s enough evidence to prosecute.

  2. Is there any chance he could be executed?

    1. Not by the government – – – –

  3. when your job is to verb you’d better verb.

  4. Pointing at a highway?
    Obviously human trafficking.

    1. He was pointing out the mountain. As in, don’t try to walk over that mountain, you will freeze your ass off. Use the lower passes.

  5. I’m not sure how they will ever get a unanimous verdict. If you are in the 40% who love trump and hate immigrants then the vote is guilty. If you are in the 60% who hate trump and have at least some compassion then the vote is not guilty.

    1. . . . who hate trump and have at least some compassion then the vote is not guilty.

      Not saying Trump-lovers are great people, but there is precious little evidence the Trump-haters have any compassion.

    2. You could get a unanimous verdict with a jury that actually followed the law.

  6. If a prosecutor does not know about and believe in double jeopardy, I’m all for deporting that prosecutor to Central America, no matter if he or she is native-born.

    1. Hung juries don’t count.

  7. Frankly, I think is a bit more complex than either side is painting it.
    He was not harboring violent fugitives having just committed a bunch of bank heists.
    On the other hand, this was not an ad hoc attempt just to leave some water out on the road. He took in people he specifically knew to be illegal (or undocumented, whichever word you favor) and kept them there for several days.
    The charge of conspiracy to transport sounds ridiculously thin. So, regardless of one’s position on illegal immigration, I can’t see that there is enough evidence of anything related to that charge.

    As far as harboring illegal immigrants, it is clear that he did that. The entire organization is specifically dedicated to that cause. Maybe the organization works with the Border Patrol, maybe not. Maybe Warren went beyond the legal guidelines. That is stuff for the jury to decide.
    I do support fully informed juries, as well as jury nullification. So hey, don’t think this should be a crime, then if you are on the jury, vote to acquit. And frankly, prison time for this does seem harsh. If he was involved with giving fake IDs or other fraud, then ok.
    Bottom line, I think he is guilty of these charges, and I do believe the law in this case is legitimate. But the punishment is probably way to severe.

    1. “He was not harboring violent fugitives having just committed a bunch of bank heists.”
      Objection, your honor, supposition. Assumes facts not in evidence.

      When he picked them up, he did not run a background check. He had/has no way of knowing the past criminal history, if any, of those he joins in criminal conspiracy to violate US laws. They could have been/may be terrorists from ‘other than South America’.

    2. How did he know they were illegal?

  8. The headline: “Scott Warren is accused of harboring two undocumented immigrants after he gave them food, water, and a place to sleep.”

    So, according to Reason, he did in fact do these things, which are against the law.

    1. >>>against the law

      Bronx cheer.

    2. Only one of those things is illegal.

  9. Must be a slow day in the office to want to retire this case. I would suggest that if this is the only case these prosecutors have they are not needed. Better to move their positions to some city where they are needed for real criminals.

    1. Trump has made it clear he wants an example made.

  10. Prosecutors Will Retry the Volunteer Who Gave Humanitarian Aid to Migrantsencouraged, aided and abetted illegal border crossings.

    FTFY

  11. While I do not know what the government has hoped to accomplish here…

    At this point I imagine it’s simply to save some face.

  12. Scott Warren should be given the death penalty for giving two undocumented immigrants food, water, and a place to sleep.
    We have no room for humanitarian acts in our beloved socialist slave state.
    I mean, what next?
    Allow these two to breathe without a government permit?

    1. All air north of the border is property of the United States Government.

      1. Technically, the air is a public trust owned by the people and administered by the government. Like the Great Lakes or the seabed inside the territorial limit.

  13. Border Patrol agents testified that they observed a conversation between the two migrants and Warren in which he pointed to the mountains nearby. Although they admitted they could not hear the contents of the discussion, they said they assumed he was coaching them on how to avoid a Border Patrol checkpoint.

    Because, due to their training and experience and the totality of the circumstances, they could totally read the minds of these people and their opinion on the topic of the conversation – even though likely correct – should just be taken as hard evidence.

    1. That’s up to the jury to decide.

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