Religious organization members prosecuted for leaving water, supplies in desolate border-crossing areas (1 Viewer)

superchuck500

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No More Deaths is a faith-based organization in Tuscon, Arizona. Formed in 2004, the organization's members believe that border control efforts at the US/Mexico border violate basic human rights. Professing a "faith-based immigration policy", the organization focuses primarily on outreach (letting people know about the often cruel and inhumane conditions at the border) and in "humanitarian aid" that includes the placement of water, food, and other survival gear at remote locations where individuals have been found dead (444 individuals since 2001, according to the group's website) while attempting to cross into the United States. Often these areas are vast tracks of federal land, such as the Cabeza Prieta Wilderness (NWR) along Arizona's southern border. http://forms.nomoredeaths.org/about-no-more-deaths/

Over the years, the federal government's views on the leaving of survival provisions in border-crossing areas has varied. In 2008, a Bush-administration prosecutor secured a conviction of a No More Deaths member for trespassing and littering . . . but the conviction was later overturned by the court of appeals. The Obama administration was more friendly to the group, as the Interior Department appears to have allowed (under certain parameters) the group's activity.

On August 13, 2017, four members of the No More Deaths organization entered the Cabeza Prieta refuge and left crates of survival provisions. In December 2017, they were arrested and prosecuted by the United States Attorney's office for the District of Arizona. Last week, a federal magistrate judge found the four guilty of trespassing onto federal land and the unlawful "leaving of personal property" on the federal refuge. Sentencing has not occurred yet but the members face jail time and financial penalties.

https://arizonadailyindependent.com/2019/01/27/whats-next-for-no-more-deaths-after-latest-convictions-of-volunteers/

Personally, I think the 'religious freedom' justification to violate the law is always contextual, you have to look at the law in question and the religious justification for breaking it. But, like most aspects of life in modern America, 'religious freedom' seems to have been claimed by a certain perspective of Christian Americans who are conservative and who use their "faith" as to parry against progressivism in American law. They have a well-organized network of defenders and are fairly good at getting their message out . . . but faith-based unlawful activity is not limited to Christian conservatives.

Does it matter that that the trespass and "littering" committed by the No More Deaths members is motivated by their faith?
 
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Zztop

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^ yeah, I'm aware of those... for me it is very difficult b/c I think no religion or religious beliefs should be above the law (even though I am sympathetic to the plight of immigrants trying to get in). So when there is religion included in a headline, I immediately think the spin of "YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF OUR RELIGION UNDER ATTACK" (not you personally, just where my mind goes).
I think we've seen erosion of separation of church and state to a great degree, and it worries me... but thats for another topic lol
 

B4YOU

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Should giving syringes to drug addicts be prosecutable? Should feeding the homeless on the beach or on the street be against the law? When faced with possible death on the line, prosecuting those who try and prevent it in ways that have little actual lawbreaking involved is immoral.
Would you be ok with a group leaving syringes on the sidewalk in your neighborhood?

I’m not aware of laws that prevent the feeding of homeless people. Can you provide an example?
 
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brandon8283

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Would you be ok with a group leaving syringes on the sidewalk in your neighborhood?

I’m not aware of laws that prevent the feeding of homeless people. Can you provide an example?
Is it your suggestion then that they need to wait in the desert, hoping migrants might come to them?

Or perhaps you are suggesting they build a food bank in the middle of the desert?

What should this religious organization, who is presumably pro-life because they don’t want people to die, do to ensure that they carry out their pro-life mission by saving lives?
 
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superchuck500

superchuck500

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Would you be ok with a group leaving syringes on the sidewalk in your neighborhood?

I’m not aware of laws that prevent the feeding of homeless people. Can you provide an example?
Many localities have made it illegal to give money or food to the homeless. The idea is that if you don't feed them, they'll go elsewhere . . . or (even more fantastic), they'll go get jobs and stop being homeless. Yes, this is how some people in this country think.

Examples: https://www.newsweek.com/illegal-feed-criminalizing-homeless-america-782861
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/10/22/357846415/more-cities-are-making-it-illegal-to-hand-out-food-to-the-homeless
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-shmuly-yanklowitz/forbidden-to-feed-the-hom_b_6146840.html
https://www.khou.com/article/news/local/houstons-homeless-feeding-ban-under-scrutiny/352513901
 

insidejob

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Would you be ok with a group leaving syringes on the sidewalk in your neighborhood?

I’m not aware of laws that prevent the feeding of homeless people. Can you provide an example?
I'm pretty sure nobody is leaving water for illegal immigrants crossing the border on the sidewalk in anybody's neighborhood. What an awful analogy. They're leaving it in the middle of nowhere and picking up any trash at the site when they go replenish it.
 

JimEverett

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Many localities have made it illegal to give money or food to the homeless. The idea is that if you don't feed them, they'll go elsewhere . . . or (even more fantastic), they'll go get jobs and stop being homeless. Yes, this is how some people in this country think.

Examples: https://www.newsweek.com/illegal-feed-criminalizing-homeless-america-782861
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/10/22/357846415/more-cities-are-making-it-illegal-to-hand-out-food-to-the-homeless
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-shmuly-yanklowitz/forbidden-to-feed-the-hom_b_6146840.html
https://www.khou.com/article/news/local/houstons-homeless-feeding-ban-under-scrutiny/352513901
I don't think those are the reasons, or at least the intelligent reasons for those bans.

I mean I don;t think there should be laws against it, but PSAs and stuff are good.
If you want to help the homeless your best use of money/time is with groups and organizations set up to help them - not giving money to panhandlers.
 
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superchuck500

superchuck500

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I don't think those are the reasons, or at least the intelligent reasons for those bans.

I mean I don;t think there should be laws against it, but PSAs and stuff are good.
If you want to help the homeless your best use of money/time is with groups and organizations set up to help them - not giving money to panhandlers.
Those might not be the reasons that are actually stated by the lawmakers, but if the subject matter experts argue that there are effective means of controlling the concerns (e.g. sanitary concerns) without outright bans, but the municipalities ban anyway, what's the actual intent?

But I'm also being somewhat flip, I concede that. It's a complicated issue for sure.
 

B4YOU

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Is it your suggestion then that they need to wait in the desert, hoping migrants might come to them?

Or perhaps you are suggesting they build a food bank in the middle of the desert?

What should this religious organization, who is presumably pro-life because they don’t want people to die, do to ensure that they carry out their pro-life mission by saving lives?
They should do the same as the other humanitarian relief group, Humane Borders, operating in this wildlife refuge, get a permit for water storage drums on federal land.
 

brandon8283

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They should do the same as the other humanitarian relief group, Humane Borders, operating in this wildlife refuge, get a permit for water storage drums on federal land.
So write them a citation for not having a permit and let them get back to work.
 

B4YOU

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Many localities have made it illegal to give money or food to the homeless. The idea is that if you don't feed them, they'll go elsewhere . . . or (even more fantastic), they'll go get jobs and stop being homeless. Yes, this is how some people in this country think.

Examples: https://www.newsweek.com/illegal-feed-criminalizing-homeless-america-782861
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/10/22/357846415/more-cities-are-making-it-illegal-to-hand-out-food-to-the-homeless
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-shmuly-yanklowitz/forbidden-to-feed-the-hom_b_6146840.html
https://www.khou.com/article/news/local/houstons-homeless-feeding-ban-under-scrutiny/352513901
Scary direction for the country, fines for feeding people. If municipalities want to protect public health while pushing people towards service programs that are shown to end reduce homelessness, then provide the data that in situ feeding vs sheltered feeding is ineffective and do a public education program on effective ways to help homeless people. Don’t fine good samaritans. Teach them a better way to help.
 

B4YOU

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So write them a citation for not having a permit and let them get back to work.
That’s what happened. They were cited for littering and informed that their means of providing water “leaving 1 gallon jugs in the desert” would not be permitted. There are other means, already permitted to another organization, which they most likely would be permitted to utilize.
 

brandon8283

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That’s what happened. They were cited for littering and informed that their means of providing water “leaving 1 gallon jugs in the desert” would not be permitted. There are other means, already permitted to another organization, which they most likely would be permitted to utilize.
They were arrested.

I’ve never been arrested for what amounts to a traffic ticket.
 

B4YOU

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I'm pretty sure nobody is leaving water for illegal immigrants crossing the border on the sidewalk in anybody's neighborhood. What an awful analogy. They're leaving it in the middle of nowhere and picking up any trash at the site when they go replenish it.
I think my analogy is more apt than yours. You suggested handing out syringes as a similar practice. This group isn’t handing out water. They are caching the water. They are leaving it on the ground in 1 gallon jugs.

Your description of a national wildlife refuge as “nowhere” speaks to your value of the area. We as a society have deemed the area to have intrinsic value. I compared it you leaving syringes in your neighborhood because though some people recognize the value of wilderness, most value their neighborhood.

Groups are not permitted to leave any items in a wildlife refuge without a permit.

So if I leave clean syringes on the sidewalk in front of your home and promise to pick up the used syringes intermittently, you would be ok with that right?
 
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B4YOU

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They were arrested.

I’ve never been arrested for what amounts to a traffic ticket.
Reckless endangerment is a traffic ticket. Hunting/fishing over your limit and without a license is a traffic ticket. They both can get you arrested. From memory, the officer instructed the group to remove the jugs, he followed behind them between stops, and they did not comply with his instructions to remove all cached items.
 

V Chip

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Would you be ok with a group leaving syringes on the sidewalk in your neighborhood?
That's a crazy extreme that doesn't happen, and it's nowhere near the same. But yes, having syringe dispensaries in my neighborhood, sure.
 

V Chip

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I don't think those are the reasons, or at least the intelligent reasons for those bans.

I mean I don;t think there should be laws against it, but PSAs and stuff are good.
If you want to help the homeless your best use of money/time is with groups and organizations set up to help them - not giving money to panhandlers.
It's not giving money -- it's food or clothes. It's charities giving homeless people something to eat for goodness sake, not charities handing out cash.
 

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