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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/2/19

Death and Resistance on the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Democracy Now! Special

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AMY GOODMAN: And they scatter, but what does it mean for them, for the migrants?

SCOTT WARREN: For people who are scattered by that, it can mean death.

AMY GOODMAN: If you could quickly summarize? You're actually facing... you're involved in two separate trials right now.

SCOTT WARREN: That's right, yeah. I have the I'm facing misdemeanor charges resulting from humanitarian aid work that we did particularly in the summer of 2017, providing water and food and doing search and rescue and recovery work on Cabeza Prieta. So, the charges I'm facing with that include operating a motor vehicle in a wilderness area and abandonment of property. And the other charges I'm facing are from a separate incident, and that's those are the felony charges of harboring, which resulted from an incident that happened in January of 2018, when I was arrested with two men from Central America, Jose' and Kristian, at a property in Ajo called the Barn. And so they charged Jose' and Kristian with illegal entry, and they charged me with harboring.

AMY GOODMAN: So, the jury was a hung jury on that?

SCOTT WARREN: That's right, yeah, the jury was a hung jury in the first trial. And then the government initially had also charged me with conspiracy, though they dropped the conspiracy charge, and now they're just pursuing the two harboring charges.

AMY GOODMAN: By dragging out these two cases, are they in fact, whether you are acquitted or not in these two cases, getting what they want, preventing you from speaking fully or going to all the places that you went to help migrants?

SCOTT WARREN: Yeah, it's a good question. I don't know what their purpose is, frankly. You would have to ask them what sort of the goal of all of this is. It's really unclear, I think. But certainly, you know, I have been affected by it my life, my partner and my family and my friends. And at the same time, there is a lot of awareness and a lot of people that want to help, because of because of the level of awareness around this, as well. So, it's ironically had the effect of also bringing a lot of people here who want to do something to help.

AMY GOODMAN: And it clearly looks like it's across the political spectrum, about humanitarianism, I mean, all of this happening against the backdrop of the separated families, of the children dying in Border Patrol custody, one by one. I mean, since you were first charged, scores of migrants have died. What is the count? From something like 2,000 to now, 3,000 migrants have died. That's averaging what? A hundred fifty migrants a year.

SCOTT WARREN: Right, and that number is for Arizona. For what we know, borderwide, including South Texas and California, it's much, much larger. And those are numbers of people who have been found.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you describe this Border Patrol van to us, that just passed?

SCOTT WARREN: That's a pretty typical Border Patrol truck that's been used here. And they're rigged up in that way to carry people they've apprehended, detainees. So that's what that cage is on the back. It can seat I don't know how many people on the back of that, but that's what they're for.

AMY GOODMAN: Also at this forward operating base, we see a cage. So, explain what happens, from cage to cage.

SCOTT WARREN: That's right, yeah. People will be apprehended in the field, typically, and then put into a truck like that or another vehicle. And then they can be brought here to this forward operating base. And there's a sort of garage door and an enclosed fence area, where they can be offloaded and then put into the facility inside, which is a detention facility. And then, from there, they get taken to the Ajo Border Patrol station, which is probably another one to two hours' drive on dirt roads to get back to the highway, further processed there, and then, from the Ajo Border Patrol station, taken to the Tucson sector headquarters.

AMY GOODMAN: So, at this forward operating base, tell us how many border agents are here. And how has it grown over time?

SCOTT WARREN: In the Ajo station, there's something like 400 to 500 agents that work out of there. And it's grown significantly. In the early 1990s, there were something like two dozen agents at the Ajo Border Patrol station. And that station has the capacity of up to 900 agents. So, that could be the number that could be there, I suppose. So it's grown significantly in the past couple of decades.

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Democracy Now!  is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on (more...)
 
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