Sunday, May 5, 2019
Scott Warren Worked to Prevent Migrant Deaths in the Arizona Desert. The Government Wants Him in Prison.
The Intercept has published “Bodies in the Borderlands,” a long-form feature by reporter Ryan Devereaux focused on the prosecution of Scott Warren, a humanitarian aid worker volunteering with the immigrant rights group No More Deaths (also known as No Más Muertes) in Arizona.
Arrested on January 18, 2018, in Ajo, Arizona, at a barn where two Central American men, Kristian Perez-Villanueva and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Godoy, were taking shelter, Warren is now accused, “of providing the men with food, water, clean clothes, and a place to sleep over three days.” These charges amount to two counts of harboring and one count of conspiracy and, if convicted, Warren could serve up to 20 years in prison. (Warren’s first trial for a misdemeanor offense begins in Arizona this coming Monday, May 7; a second trial connected to more serious felony charges is scheduled for May 29.).
Devereaux’s reporting points to new guidelines issued during the Trump administration that explicitly criminalize humanitarian aid at the border, and writes about the mention of Irineo Mujica as an unindicted co-conspirator in the charges Warren is facing. Mujica runs a migrant shelter in Sonoyta, a Mexican town in the state of Sonora, and is perhaps better known “for his role in running Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an organization that has been instrumental in working alongside the migrant caravans to the U.S. border.”
“Humanitarian assistance and solidarity with migrants and refugees is a common thing along the border region,” said Warren. “The U.S. government is trying to criminalize all of that.” According to Devereaux, “Like No More Deaths, Pueblo Sin Fronteras has been a favorite villain of the Border Patrol union.”