Scott Warren, a geographer and humanitarian worker from southern Arizona has been found not guilty on two counts. One was for harboring unauthorized migrants and another for contentious crackdown on immigration by the federal government.
The 37-year-old humanitarian had been facing up to 10 years of prison time.
Warren told a crowd outside the court in Tucson, Arizona that the government didn’t succeed in criminalizing basic human kindness after the verdict was announced.
He also said that everyone did a detailed and diligent work and that he ‘loves them all’.
Why Was Warren Charged with Two Counts?
The humanitarian was arrested in 2018, January by the agents of the Border Patrol who had been surveilling a base used by humanitarian aid groups in Ajo, Arizona.
They leave water and food for migrants who make the unauthorized and often deadly trek through the Sonoran Desert.
Unfortunately, the desert has taken the lives of around 7000 migrants who’ve tried crossing it since the 90s.
Warren first began volunteering 6 years ago with aid groups such as No More Deaths.
The group wrote on their Twitter that they’ll continue providing food, water, and medical help to people who need it until the day no one goes missing or dies while crossing the oceans and deserts of the world.
When he was arrested by the agents, Warrant was found with two migrants from Central America. He said that he gave them food, shelter, and first aid.
But, the agents claimed that he was helping them escape custody and prosecutors charged him with two counts- harboring undocumented immigrants and conspiracy to transport and harbor migrants.
After a trial in June, the jury didn’t reach a verdict and the government asked for a retrial. This retrial dropped the conspiracy charges.
Satisfied from the Verdict
His lead attorney, Greg Kuykendall, who worked the case pro-bono, said that the verdict is a validation of the crucial work that these humanitarians are doing to a great risk to themselves and he claims it was a ‘heart-opener to be involved in this case’.
The humanitarian also faced two misdemeanor charges. One was abandonment of property for leaving water in the desert and the other for operating a vehicle on a wilderness refuge.
The judge acquitted him of the first one on the basis of religious freedom; however, he may face legal consequences for the second misdemeanor charge.