Four women volunteers were found guilty of misdemeanors in federal court for leaving food and water in the Arizona desert for migrants coming to the United States by walking across the border. The volunteers are affiliated with No More Deaths, a humanitarian aid group.
According to No More Deaths, 155 migrants have died crossing the border in that area since 2001. The organization’s goal is to prevent those deaths. According to the Arizona Republic, Natalie Hoffman was convicted on three charges, and Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick were convicted of two.
Hoffman was charged and found guilty of operating a vehicle inside the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, entering the refuge without a permit and leaving behind gallon water jugs and cans of beans. The other three were found guilty of entering without a permit and leaving the supplies. Although a sentencing date has not been set, each could face up to six months in federal prison and a possible $500 fine.
Another volunteer with the organization reacted to the judge’s ruling: “This verdict challenges not only No More Deaths volunteers, but people of conscience throughout the country. If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?”