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...eaths-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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