GREG KUYKENDALL: Well, we are enormously grateful to the entire community for all the support that we’ve had for this fantastic result wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the fantastic and enormous support we’ve gotten from the community. Which is a poor way of saying thank you very very much to the community for everything thats happened.
Today the government took the position that people of conscience should not be prosecuted for acts of humanitarian aid. In other words humanitarian aid, by definition, is not a crime. [clapping]
REPORTER: Did he say that specifically or are you inferring this or do you have this written somewhere?
GK: It’s the only thing logical to infer. On the eve of Scott’s sentencing the government filed a motion in good faith to dismiss in the interest of justice justice demands that person of Scott’s background, faith, and activities not be prosecuted. And that’s what happened today. The government filed a motion and the motion said we are filing this in good faith in the interest of justice. And that’s why Scott’s not being prosecuted.
REPORTER: You were sort of raising the question in court of why they dropped the charges?
GK: I think it’s a reasonable question to ask.
REPORTER: So why do you think they changed their mind now?
GK: I think you guys should ask them why they changed their minds now. But I think it’s clear they changed their mind because the law is humanitarian aid is not a crime. Scott’s not guilty and they recognized that that was going to be writ large by the 9th circuit if they continued their prosecution of Scott.
REPORTER: They felt they would fail on appeal?
GK: I think it was pretty clear that they would fail on appeal and that there would be 9th circuit law explaining in even larger terms than Judge Marquez recently explained that humanitarian is not a crime.
REPORTER: In reference to No More Deaths different federal agencies over the past 15 years… do you think they’ve learned their lesson and are no longer going to target No Mor
GK: I hope that No More Deaths is no longer going to be targeted anymore. There’s certainly no reason for people of conscience trying to save lives in an environment where the government has intentionally weaoponized the desert and people are losing their lives in droves there’s certainly no reason why the government would target people like no more deaths.
From No More Deaths Media Coordinator:
“I’m just going to say it … Humanitarian aid is never a crime!
As people of conscience, we will continue to provide care and solidarity to people in the borderlands. Our organization has extended our streak of legal wins—now over 40 different victories in court over the last 18 years.
However, despite our organization’s victory today, we must also acknowledge the escalating violence toward directly affected communities—many people who seek justice in this country never find it.
As we speak, thousands are stuck along the border due to the disastrous Remain in Mexico Policy, or MPP (Migrant Protection Protocol). In the interior, the Trump administration has also promised to use SWAT-like teams aided by Border Patrol, to enforce immigration.
Last week a federal judge finally agreed that conditions in Border Patrol detention under Obama violated people’s rights. It took five years to get that decision, and over those years people continued to die in ICE and Border Patrol custody as a direct result of inhumane conditions, and medical neglect. Later today dozens more will be convicted in Operation Streamline and sent to these same centers.
Just a few days ago in DC, the family of teenager Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guerea got word from that the Supreme Court there would be no consequences for the Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa, the man who shot and killed their son in 2010. The ruling will impact the civil charge the family of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez in Nogales, who filed suit against BP agent Lonnie Swartz for his murder.
Arguments for this case were heard the same day Scott began his retrial, the same day arguments on DACA were heard. With no ruling on DACA, the program remains in limbo, with recipients unsure if the program will continue.
Finally, yesterday on Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, just south of where volunteers received their charges, Border Patrol hosted a media spectacle on Monument Hill, an attempt to show that wall construction and controlled detonations are “not a big deal” We know that this process is not just causing irreparable environmental degradation, it is destroying sacred sites of the Hia C’ed O’odham and Tohono O’odham and a massive violation of their sovereignty.
These are dark times.
We are glad—for Scott, his family, and the broader community of those providing and receiving humanitarian aid along the US–Mexico border—this final charge was dropped, but let us take a moment for Sergio, Jose, and the more than 100 others who have been killed by Border Patrol directly, as well as the countless more who have died or disappeared due to US Border Enforcement strategy.
We celebrate another victory today, and we celebrate the overwhelming support of our Southern Arizona community, but this is not over. We will continue to find ways to intervene and reduce harm in the borderlands. Thank you all for your continued support.”