When Humanitarian Aid Is Considered a Crime

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00:19

I’d like for you to write down any particular question

00:23

or thought that you have about the topic at hand for today.

00:28

Remember the topic at hand for today is borders,

00:31

walls and immigration.

00:33

First word was fear.

00:35

Borders are supposed to keep us safe and now I have fear.

00:41

where we didn’t have any people of any color

00:44

till I was about 40, up in Wisconsin.

00:47

So yeah, that’s the way I was raised.

00:51

[Scott] Thank you for sharing that, yeah.

00:52

We went through it, yeah?

00:53

I guess my thing is, they wanna come here.

00:55

They wanna come here for a better life so badly,

00:57

but then they also want to say,

00:59

Well, do it my old country way.

01:01

You know, I guess I don’t understand that.

01:04

I’ll be real quick.

01:05

She pretty much stole the some of my-

01:06

I’m sorry, I’m sorry Linda.

01:08

We have the same wavelength.

01:11

Assimilation is very important.

01:13

[Woman] Thank you so much. Thank you.

01:14

I really appreciate you being here.

01:16

Yeah, nice to see you.

01:18

Appreciate you being here, yeah.

01:19

[Woman] So what kind of work

01:20

do you actually do on the border?

01:22

Well, so I live in Ajo.

01:26

In Ajo, I’m a geographer

01:28

but another thing that I do is a lot of volunteer work,

01:30

getting water to people who are dying in the desert,

01:34

searching for people who have become lost

01:37

and have died in the desert.

01:39

There’s a lot of effort of civilian groups.

01:42

But a lot of those have been arrested, right?

01:45

I was one of them. Oh, were you?

01:50

In the interest of full disclosure,

01:52

you shouldn’t have told us about that.

01:54

Probably should have told you that first, yeah.

01:57

Thank you so much for being here.

01:59

I really appreciate it and thanks for your service, yeah.

02:03

[Narrator] We turn now to southern Arizona

02:05

where a humanitarian aid volunteer is heading to trial

02:08

for providing food, water and shelter

02:11

to two undocumented migrants.

02:17

Scott Warren of Ajo, Arizona,

02:19

faces up to 20 years in prison

02:21

after being charged with three felony counts

02:24

for allegedly harboring undocumented migrants.

02:43

People drink from these.

02:45

Migrants as they’re crossing through here.

02:47

Up into here, it’ll be a little bit clearer

02:49

whether we found a trail or not, I mean,

02:51

that’s the big unknown factor is finding a trail.

02:57

These geysers are probably key like,

03:00

the people would want to get to for water.

03:04

[Scott] This Scott talking.

03:07

[Woman] Maco. Polo.

03:15

[Man] Come on [indistinct].

03:31

Growing up here in Ajo, we were always taught

03:34

whenever you come to the desert, always carry water.

03:38

Ajo is the first town you reach when you cross the border.

03:41

I hear a lot of stories

03:42

of people who have died in the desert.

03:45

Sometimes there will be people passing through

03:50

They ask for [speaks in foreign language]

03:52

or a glass of water.

03:53

You know, I just gave it to them.

03:56

Ain’t supposed to let somebody die of thirst

03:58

or starve to death.

04:00

[speaks in foreign language]

04:03

We’ve lived with them all of our lives.

04:06

That was never a big deal

04:08

and then the government stepped in,

04:09

made a big deal out of it.

04:11

And now it’s a big deal.

04:19

Picking up this trash somebody left on the trail.

04:22

Just tell me, is it yours?

04:25

Not yours. Scott Warren,

04:27

Your organization released a report

04:29

detailing how US border agents

04:31

had intentionally destroyed more than 3000 gallons of water

04:36

left out for migrants.

04:38

Explain the significance of this.

04:40

The timing that same day.

04:43

The report was released that morning

04:44

and then agents arrested me that evening.

04:47

United States of America versus Scott Daniel Warren,

04:51

on or about January 17 2018

04:54

at Onio, Ajo in the district of Arizona,

04:57

United States Border Patrol agents

04:59

were conducting surveillance a building known as the barn.

05:03

Two subjects that matched a description

05:05

of two lost illegal aliens

05:07

received the address to the barn

05:09

as a place they could get food and water.

05:12

After finding their way to the barn,

05:13

Warren met them outside and gave them food and water

05:16

for approximately three days.

05:22

It’s a scary thing to face these charges,

05:24

but the two men that were arrested with me

05:27

have not and do not receive the same kind of support

05:31

and attention that I’ve been getting.

05:37

And that’s not lost on me either.

05:49

Stand up, gather around so you can see the maps, okay?

05:54

So you all understand that almost everyone

05:57

who migrates back and forth across this border

06:00

migrates through the urban areas of this border

06:03

through the cities,

06:05

because it’s the easiest and safest place to cross, right?

06:10

Except that in 1994,

06:13

the United States decided for the first time

06:17

to secure the border.

06:19

They called it prevention through deterrence.

06:24

So they said step one,

06:26

we believe we can seal off those urban areas from migration,

06:30

and they said step two, when that happens,

06:34

people are going to start to go around the edges, right?

06:41

But they said, now when they go around the edges,

06:45

they will have to go

06:46

through the deadliest areas of the border.

06:49

And they said that will be a deterrent

06:52

to other people trying to cross

06:55

and thereby we will secure the border, got it?

07:02

And they were wrong.

07:04

So this is the result of that strategy.

07:08

Every one of those red dots

07:10

is where human remains have been found.

07:49

We’re going to trial next week and I’m scared.

07:55

But this isn’t just going away.

07:59

We’re in this till the end,

08:02

whatever the end looks like.

08:19

There’s this water source

08:22

and then to the south like 15 miles out

08:26

and across the valley,

08:27

there’s another water tank like this.

08:30

And I think basically

08:33

why so many people are dying in this area

08:36

is that they’re trying to get to here

08:40

and then don’t make it.

08:55

So we can’t at this moment say

08:58

exactly what will be prosecuted

08:59

and exactly what will not be prosecuted.

09:01

We’re in this really interesting moment in history,

09:04

we’re kind of tracking human rights defenders

09:08

increasingly becoming targeted, intimidated,

09:11

harassed and prosecuted by state actors,

09:13

including the United States.

09:15

I have had over a dozen illegals,

09:19

they ask food, I feed them, I give them water.

09:22

But my question is, can the Border Patrol go in my yard

09:29

Would I be in trouble?

09:31

So is it my responsibility as a United States citizen,

09:35

to get identification for every person

09:37

I give a glass water to?

09:40

Can you not put water on the other side of your fence post

09:44

or your property line?

09:45

[Woman] Then you’re at liberty

09:46

and you have misdemeanor [indisctinct].

09:47

Can you hang it on your fence on the other side?

09:51

If it’s not touching the ground.

09:52

It’s all legal, legal, legal, legal, legal.

09:57

Power is in the details.

09:58

[Man] 500 years of legal, legal, legal.

10:00

When slavery was legal and slaves were running away

10:04

and people were helping them, it was probably illegal.

10:08

In your heart you know what is right to do

10:11

for another human being.

10:20

I know where my personal decision making

10:23

and my personal conscious stand with those things.

10:27

I cannot tell you what the answers are to those questions

10:30

in terms of the legal framework of the US code

10:35

or anything like that.

10:37

Sometimes this doesn’t get reported,

10:38

but there were three of us arrested that day.

10:40

It was me along with Jose and Kristian.

10:43

The judge released me on my own recognizance

10:47

after about 24 hours in custody.

10:49

He said, Yeah, whatever you’re not the kind of person

10:52

that we need to put in jail right now.

10:56

They kept Jose and Kristian in detention

10:59

in order to depose them as material witnesses

11:02

in a case against me.

11:04

And then in exchange for that,

11:06

they very quickly deported them back to the places

11:09

which they had been fleeing for their lives.

11:12

Do we know those people

11:13

that were deported back to the countries

11:16

to which they had been afraid to live in are still alive?

11:24

[Scott] I don’t know.

11:34

Before, I see somebody on the road, need some water?

11:41

because I’m afraid of

11:46

[speaks in foreign language]

11:52

Everyone and Scott should be innocent.

11:55

Yeah, I don’t think it was right.

11:56

He was just helping someone in need.

12:00

If you do the crime, you do the time.

12:07

[Woman] Do you have a preference

12:08

between shiny and not shiny?

12:11

I’m a matte finish kind of a human being.

12:14

This can be okay or like this kind of blue I like.

12:16

I like the black one looks like you’re going to a funeral.

12:19

The navy blue looks like you’re getting on a yacht.

12:23

[Woman] This is strategy.

12:27

[Woman] Okay. It’s not for you.

12:29

But we want you to look sharp for jury selection.

12:39

So I’ll see you really early.

12:56

All right, so thank you all for coming out today.

12:58

We’re here to stand in solidarity with Dr. Scott Warren

13:02

and everybody else who believes that water and food

13:05

are basic human rights.

13:07

[Woman] Have a good day.

13:10

[Woman] Yeah, you got this.

13:15

You are doing an impressive job of maintaining your cool.

13:26

Humanitarian aid is not a crime.

13:29

It’s not only not a crime,

13:31

it’s a duty, it’s a responsibility.

13:36

[Woman] Scott Warren, you go on trial today.

13:40

Amnesty is called for all charges to be drafted

13:42

the judges refused to drop the charges.

13:45

Scott, are you prepared to spend 20 years in prison?

13:53

[Woman] A federal criminal trial in Tucson

13:55

is hatching national attention.

13:57

[Man] Trial of an Arizona man

13:58

began today in Federal Court.

14:00

[Woman] Warren has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

14:03

[Man] If he’s convicted, he faces–

14:04

[Woman] 20 years in prison, reporting in studio.

14:06

[Woman] The legal aspect of this case–

14:08

[Man] As Martin King said,

14:10

the arc of history is long indeed

14:12

but it always bends toward justice.

14:16

Well, it bends toward justice

14:17

because people keep pulling on that end of the arc.

14:21

[Woman] And deliberating for five hours still no verdict.

14:24

When you get to be my age,

14:25

you understand that it’s gonna be a lifelong struggle

14:28

and you just gotta keep bending.

14:37

[Man] Could you get any feel for this–

14:38

So I’m gonna speak first

14:40

as representative in Scott’s legal team.

14:44

Scott Warren remains innocent

14:46

because the jury could not unanimously conclude otherwise.

14:50

The government put on its best case

14:52

with the full force of countless resources

14:55

and 12 jurors could not agree with that case.

14:58

We remain voted today in our–

15:01

The trial ended in a hung jury.

15:07

So there will be another trial

15:10

and that will happen in November.

15:22

You know, you think of places in the world

15:24

where extreme forms of violence and oppression are used

15:26

to coerce people into doing things or to not doing things,

15:30

and they still do them.

15:33

So, the short answer is,

15:35

I think that people always provide humanitarian aid

15:39

regardless of what the consequences are.

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