ARIZONA/SONORA: No More Deaths volunteers arrested for providing humanitarian aid to migrants

14 July 2005

ARIZONA/SONORA: No More Deaths volunteers arrested for providing
humanitarian aid to migrants

[Note: No More Deaths (NMD) is the organization that invited Christian
Peacemaker Teams (CPT) to set up its Arizona/Sonora project.]

On Saturday morning, 9 July, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested two No More
Deaths-No Mas Muertes (NMD) volunteers while they were evacuating three
migrants in severe medical distress. The NMD volunteers encountered a
group of nine migrants that morning who had been lost in the desert for
several days. The volunteers provided food and water to the group, washed
their feet and cared for their blisters. Three of the nine reported
vomiting and diarrhea, and one reported blood in the stool-- conditions that
are symptomatic of life threatening dehydration. After consultation with
NMD medical personnel and legal counsel, the volunteers made the decision to
evacuate the three most in physical distress. The Border Patrol arrested
the two volunteers and three migrants en route to medical treatment in

Border Patrol officers held the two volunteers over the weekend, charging
them with two felonies: "obstruction of justice" and "furtherance and
abetting" illegal entry. The officers then deported two of the migrants
and held the third as a material witness against the volunteers. The
volunteers were arraigned Monday morning, when the judge released them
without bond.

On the morning of 13 July, the two appeared in court again for a pre-trial
hearing. The prosecution offered to press less serious charges against the
volunteers if the two admit their guilt. They are currently reading the
offer and will make a decision by Monday, 18 July, when they are scheduled
to appear in court again.

NMD maintains a migrant camp in Arivaca, south of Tucson on the U.S. side of
the border, and supports a similar camp on the Mexico side of the border,
near Agua Prieta. The camps provide food, water, and medical attention to
migrants in distress. CPTers provide support to both camps.