Humanitarian Aid

Humanitarian Aid is Never A Crime

The United States has a history of providing humanitarian assistance in our country and across the world to those who need it most. In recent months, a lot of that aid has been direly needed right here around our southern border. As thousands of people make exhausting and often dangerous treks across the desert seek refuge in America, groups of humanitarian aid workers, organized by community and faith groups, place water and other basic supplies along paths used by those crossing the desert. These groups act in concert with international humanitarian law, working under the same standards as the International Red Cross. However, the current administration violates the norms and laws of our country and has initiated a program through which these volunteers and workers have faced intense scrutiny and intimidation. The Trump Administration’s actions targeting U.S. humanitarian aid volunteers is wrong and must stop. That they are targeted based solely on their advocacy group, political opinion, speech, and/or activities is an outright violation of our Constitution, U.S. law, international law, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies. Those laws and policies clearly state that those civil liberties protections are legally binding.

In particular, No More Deaths, a local Arizona group, has encountered serious threats. Dr. Scott Warren, a volunteer with No More Deaths, was arrested in 2017 and indicted on three felony counts — simply for ensuring no one dies in the unforgiving desert seeking refuge and safety. The jury in his trial voted 8 to 4 to acquit him. Now we have learned that the Department of Justice is going to retry Dr. Warren. This is an attempt to establish questionable standards for humanitarian aid efforts. Simply put, humanitarian aid should never be a crime, and prosecuting it is un-American. I send my support to Scott Warren and all those working to protect the lives and safety of asylum seekers.