A college professor and charity worker is facing up to 20 years in prison for leaving food and water for immigrants near the border, and also providing a safe house for them to stay the night.
Scott Warren, was arrested by border patrol and charged with two counts of harboring illegal aliens and one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens. The conspiracy charge is a federal felony that carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Warren’s arrest happened just hours after border patrol was criticized by the organization that Warren works with, “No More Deaths.” Among various outreach efforts that the group is involved in, they are also known for leaving behind food and water for immigrants crossing the border.
Last year, No More Deaths released a report showing that 3,856 gallons of water were destroyed by border agents over a four-year period. The report included video footage of border agents kicking over gallons of water and pouring them out.
“We document how Border Patrol agents engage in the widespread vandalism of gallons of water left for border crossers and routinely interfere with other humanitarian-aid efforts in rugged and remote areas of the borderlands,” No More Deaths said in a press release.
Just after the press conference when these videos were released, Warren was arrested while providing two immigrants with food and water at a safe house in the middle of the desert known as “The Barn.” Border patrol apparently had the safe house under surveillance and decided to raid the location just hours after the controversial press conference.
“After finding their way to ‘the Barn,’ Warren met them outside and gave them food and water for approximately three days. (One of the migrants) said that Warren took care of them in ‘the Barn’ by giving them food, water, beds and clean clothes,” the charges against Warren stated.
Warren’s attorney, Bill Walker, pointed out that Warren’s only crime was helping people survive.
“We don’t smuggle them, we don’t do anything to help them enter the United States, we do nothing illegal. This place that they raided is not in the middle of the desert, it’s not hidden anywhere. It’s in the city of Ajo, and it’s been used for a long time, not to help smuggle migrants, but to give medical care and food and water,” Walker told AZCentral.
A report last year from The Intercept detailed how federal agencies have been building a case against the organization for years, and revealed text messages that were sent between agents during the raid.
Warren is not the first activist to get arrested for helping people survive the arduous journey across the border. In fact, eight other humanitarian workers, all from No More Deaths, are also facing similar charges from previous encounters with border patrol agents.
While the true extent of the death toll is unknown, a report from USA Today found that well over 7,209 lives have been lost while crossing the border in the past 20 years.
The report indicated that the actual number is likely far higher because “federal authorities largely fail to count border crossers when their remains are recovered by local authorities, and even local counts are often incomplete.”
Below is hidden camera footage taken by No More Deaths, showing how border patrol agents pour out the water that could have saved someone’s life.