Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Crime? Humanitarian Aid

by Julianne Ong Hing, ColorLines
March/April 2009

Dan Millis is a volunteer with the border humanitarian aid group No More Deaths, which regularly leaves water and sets up aid camps in the Arizona desert for immigrants. Last February, Millis was issued a $175 ticket for littering in a section of the Arizona/Mexico border that’s also a national wildlife refuge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers issued the ticket after Millis put several canisters of water along oft-traveled trails. The humanitarian worker faced a $5,000 fine and six months of jail time for his refusal to pay the ticket.

A federal judge found Millis guilty of littering, but didn’t issue a punishment, which Millis found strange but telling. “The ruling was an admission of the contradictory, hypocritical stance on immigration issues in this country,” Millis said. “The judge basically said, ‘Humanitarian aid is a crime, but the fact that it is a crime is ridiculous, so I’m not going to punish you.’” [...]

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