When Scott Daniel Warren was arrested last year for stating that food, water, beds, and clean clothes for well-documented immigrants near the Arizona Sonoran Desert were questioned whether he had violated the law or upheld the.
"No Más Muertes", an advocacy group that wants to "no longer kill" by people crossing the desert regions connecting Mexico and the Southwestern United States, sees Warren – one of its most visible members – as an apostle of humanitarianism. His advocates say that the geographer, who has learned courses at Arizona State University, listened to both religious rules and international associations that require sanctuary for the persecuted and removed.
However, the government sees Warren 36 as a felon. He was accused of border patrols in January 2018 on a property used to support immigrants in Ajo, Ariz., He was accused of helping cross-border evacuation authorities, which are prohibited by federal law .
He was an activist for 20 years in prison on charges for housing and conspiracy to transport unspoken immigrants.
At his trial that began last month, a federal jury was presented in Tucson with two different versions of the accused. Had he acted on "basic human kindness", which only provided the necessities that allow migrants to survive, as his lawyer claims? Or had he helped and moored those who made a twilight of the nation's immigration laws? Of the migrants, he helped, "they were not injured," said a federal prosecutor, according to the Associated Press. "They were not sick. They did not rest and recovered."
Decide who Warren is and what he turned out to be a task that is too difficult for the jury members who said on Tuesday that they remained unhappy in their deliberations and could not now a unanimous judgment.
The judge, Raner C. Collins, dismissed them and planned a state hearing in the case of July 2. The American law firm in Arizona did not immediately state whether it would seek another trial.
Addressing reporters outside the courthouse, Warren called Americans to tie weapons with immigrants, an attitude that activists claim is being criminalized as part of the Trump administration's harsh approach to border control. The geographic instructor is one of many members of the "No more deaths" group who have been through law enforcement to try to help migrants. He is the first to hit with felony charges.
Since his arrest, Warren said "at least 88 bodies were restored from the Ajön corridor in the Arizona desert." The government's response, he added, amounted to "Policy to target undocumented people, refugees and their families, prosecutions to criminalize humanitarian aid, kindness and solidarity."
Thousands of immigrants have perished in the desert region since President Bill Clinton 1994's border patrol strategy, called "deterrence through deterrence," closed off large urban areas, moving trips to more dangerous places.
No more deaths occurred in 2004 as a coalition of community and faith groups dedicated to protecting immigrants from punishing conditions in the desert. Since 2008, it has been an official department of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson. Its goal is to "uphold basic human rights".
In addition to leaving water, food, stockings, blankets, and other supplies in the distant corners of Arizona deserts, no more deaths seek "to document abuse, neglect, and ill-treatment sustained by prisoners in short-term border patrols and in the immigration detention system." has died since December after being detained by federal authorities.
The group runs its work from a small building in Ajo called "The Barn", about 35 miles from the border. The federal agents began to visit the headquarters in January 2018, according to court documents.
The days before the surveillance began, the two immigrants – Kristian Perez Villanueva in El Salvador and Jose Sacaria Goday in Honduras – crossed the border near the Mexican city of Sonoyta, they said in a deposit. They went through the desert and arrived at a gas station where a stranger offered to drive them to a better place. Authorities identified the driver as Irineo Mujica, the director of the Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a migrant's rights group that has organized caravans from Central America to the United States. Mujica was arrested last week in Mexico, in a move that his organization says is an attempt by the Mexican government to applaud Trump.
Mujica took them to the barn according to court records. There was no one on the premises, but the two men could find themselves in a bathroom on the spot. When Warren discovered them about 40 minutes later, the men said they were cold and tired, asking for food and water, as well as a place to rest, as described in court records. Warren provided this support and, according to a defense consultant, never hid the men or urged them to enter illegally.
Under the supervision of the site, agents like Warren saw outside the gate and appeared to provide guidance to the migrants, although the authorities acknowledge that they could not hear what he was saying. Agents approached the building. Warren told them to leave, but they decided that the two immigrants who had conversed with the help workers were illegally in the country under court documents and continued to arrest all three men.
The verdict rejected the pretrial motion by Warren defense lawyer Gregory J. Kuykendall, to reject the allegations. Kuykendall argued that the arrest of his client represented selective application of the laws, based on "discriminatory rebuttal", contrary to the right to equal protection guaranteed by the 14th amendment. He observed that border patrol officers voluntarily arrested no deaths the day the activist group released a report criticizing the agency, which included "video footage of agents acting cruelly and unprofessional".
Kuykendall also failed to convince the court that prosecution would jeopardize his client's religious freedom – his adherence to Christian principles forcing him to "give emergency aid to fellow human beings in distress".
The government replied that its actions had neither discriminatory intention nor influence. Instead, US lawyers claimed that the sting was only intended to enforce criminal law.
The application of the port regulations was strengthened in 2017 towards Advocate General Jeff Sessions, who ordered federal prosecutors to prioritize "any case involving illegal transportation or rental of foreigners."
Niels W. Frenzen, Director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Southern California The Gould School of Law said the session directive gave rise to the conflict between immigration management and a sanctuary that dates back to the 1980s. While maintaining a spiritual element, the movement has become more political and less religious, he noted, especially when the Trump administration hit strong lines of controversy on immigration.
The trial of the 36-year-old activist led protests outside the courthouse. A petition was circulated.
The case also drew attention to global attention, which UN human rights experts urged US authorities to release the allegations.
"Providing humanitarian aid is not a crime," said UN officials, pointing to dangers to Arizona wandering corridors, accounting for over one-third of the more than 7,000 border deaths recorded over the past 20 years.
The competition has parallels in other western countries where the tension between nativism and humanitarian obligation has become equally acute.
Last year, France's Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that an olive grower had not committed a crime when he smuggled dozens of immigrants into the country – a more decisive act than that of Warren's lawyer saying he took.
The dissident farmer was protected, the legal body said, by the "brotherly principle" laid down in the French Constitution. The find turned a judgment from a lower court that ordered him to pay a fine of over $ 3,000.
Still, other European states are continuing criminal proceedings against people trying to protect immigrants. Pia Klemp, a German boat captain, said in an interview last week with the Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung that she is preparing to become a trial in Italy to support the asylum seekers in the Mediterranean. More than 80,000 people have written an online application calling on Italy to release the charges against her and other crew members.
Most courts in the United States demand that the government prove part of the intention of a law enforcement procedure, Frenzen said. In addition to technical safeguards, he said that a respondent usually had to try to "prevent officials from detecting immigrants".
At least one jury member may have been convinced that the prosecution proved this element in their case, opposed a unanimous verdict, the lawyer professor said.
So, he promised, it was "very possible" that the decision not to judge arose from the "jury's suspension" when lawyers believe a defendant is guilty but refuses to deliver such a judgment, deciding that the underlying law is unfair.