Four aid workers have been convicted a few days ago on charges connected to their efforts to leave water and food for the migrants in the Arizona wildlife refuge along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The volunteers, all of them women, had been caught by a Federal Wildlife officer as they left water jugs, beans, and other supplies for the migrants in Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge on August 13, 2017,
Judge Bernardo P. Velasco ruled that three of the volunteers were convicted of entering a national wildlife refuge without a permit, and a fourth volunteer was convicted on an additional charge of operating a motor vehicle in a wilderness area.
Each one of them faces up to six months of prison time.
All of them are members of the faith-based humanitarian group “No More Deaths”, and the organization claims that 155 migrants have lost their lives in the refuge since 2001.
It has been reported that the women had failed to get permits for expanded access to the wildlife refuge, and had gone off the roads where they are allowed to travel.
The organization responded to the verdict by claiming that the decision is part of a larger crisis of conscience in the U.S.
A volunteer for the organization said that the four volunteers were driven by moral principles.
Five other humanitarian aid volunteers have also been charged this winter, and the judge rejected several defenses the volunteers used to explain their actions.
The judge also rejected the claim that an Assistant United States Attorney had deliberately misled the organization by telling them that the Department of Justice did not plan to prosecute aid workers.