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Arizona clergy call activists to support migrants on border

FILE - In this Thursday Aug. 5, 2010 file photo, No More Deaths volunteer Katie Maloney checks water jugs at the group's camp before heading out to supply water stations for illegal immigrants near Arivaca, Ariz., about 13 miles north of Mexico. Arizona clergy are calling activists to gather this weekend at the state's border with Mexico and leave large bottles of water on remote trails for migrants who continue to cross the desert during the dangerously hot summer. (AP Photo/Amanda Lee Myers,File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona clergy are calling activists to gather this weekend at the state’s border with Mexico and leave large jugs of water on remote trails for migrants who continue to cross the desert during the dangerously hot summer.

The Sunday gathering organized by faith leaders and local groups such as No More Deaths comes just a week after the U.S. Border Patrol detained a group of 95 Central Americans, including at least one infant, in the same general area near the border where the heat regularly exceeds 100 degrees (37 Celsius) during the summer.

The people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador ranged in age from 3 months to 60 years and were found to be in good health. They were turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association who was a Phoenix minister for nine years, said she wants to demonstrate solidarity with migrants and aid workers. Arizona faith leaders have a long history of activism and were at the forefront of the 1980s sanctuary movement that provided safe haven to Central Americans fleeing civil war in their homelands.

“Providing humanitarian aid is not a crime,” Frederick-Gray said. “Fleeing your country to save your life or save your children is not a crime. Human beings have a right to flee when they are in danger.”

Also traveling to southern Arizona will be Rachel Gore Freed, a human rights attorney with experience representing immigrants. The vice president of the faith-based Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Freed said the stream of Central American migrants still crossing the region underscores “the incredible violence they are fleeing” and insisted that “access to water during a long and complicated route is something that should be protected.”

The administration of President Donald Trump has been outspoken in its opposition to illegal immigration and promotes the construction of a border wall to keep migrants out.

The activists will set out shortly after sunrise Sunday to leave one-gallon (3.79 liters) jugs of water along trails frequented by migrants in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge near Ajo, Arizona.

Thousands of migrants have died crossing the border since the mid-1990s, when heightened enforcement in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, pushed traffic into Arizona’s remote deserts. The remains of 128 such border crossers were recovered last year from the southern Arizona desert, according to figures from the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Alicia Dinsmore of No More Deaths said a large number of the remains were found in Cabeza Prieta and neighboring Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Local Border activist Scott Warren was arrested in January after Border Patrol agents conducted surveillance on a building in nearby Ajo, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of the border, where two immigrants allegedly were given food, water, beds and clean clothes.

The 35-year-old No More Deaths volunteer faces a federal charge of harboring two people in the country illegally. Warren has declined to speak with the news media and is seeking protection from prosecution, saying his spiritual values compel him to help all people in distress.
Warren’s defense attorneys have argued that their client “could not, consistent with his conscience and spiritual beliefs, turn away two migrants in the harsh climate of the Sonoran Desert.”

U.S. prosecutors at the federal court in Tucson have said the two migrants found with Warren were never in distress.

Warren was arrested several hours after No More Deaths gave news organizations videos of a Border Patrol agent kicking over water jugs meant for immigrants and of another agent pouring gallons of water on the ground.

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Anita Snow

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  • Begging the question, but:

    (1) Are “illegal immigrants … migrants”?

    (2) Are “migrants … illegal immigrants”?

    (3) Are “migrants” and “illegal immigrants” interchangeable?

    (4) Are there “illegal … migrants”, and not just “illegal immigrants”?

    (5) Are “illegal … migrants” and “illegal immigrants” interchangeable?

    (6) Is The Anti-Trump Associated Press reporting here about “illegal … migrants”, or about “illegal immigrants”?

    (7) What is the “Arizona clergy[‘s]” problem, then?

  • Now that “sincerely held beliefs” are a justification for avoiding compliance with the law, perhaps welcoming “the stranger” and caring for “the least of these” will be recognized as well. They are, after all, long held and widely recognized Christian practice.

  • Actually I think The deal is that only sincerely-held RELIGIOUS beliefs are elevated to special status with regard to ignoring the law. Non-religious beliefs don’t count. Of course since people can call virtually anything their religion the law remains unclear as to what constitutes a religion.

  • It seems rather unlikely that those embarking on a journey across our southern border are reading this publication (in a language they do not understand) so no worries there.

  • It’s a bad-news era when far more church people vote for kicking over water jugs than vote for filling and distributing them. But that is what you saw happen in the tipping of America at 2016.

  • Your bible uses the term “stranger”. As in *welcoming* the stranger in your midst. Legal, or illegal, migrants and immigrants are the strangers in our midst. No need to parse everything out as you want to do, to somehow justify not being welcoming.

  • Ah, but the command from God to care for the stranger in you midst and to do good for the least of these are most definitely strongly held Christian beliefs.

  • How about this? How about we treat this for what it is; a migratory workforce. They check in at the border, work wherever they want, and then move on. They pay taxes on wages earned and for services used. No citizenship for them or their offspring unless they go through the proper process.

  • Have a crappy economy and repressive society. Its the only disincentive which exists for such things. It looks like that is the ultimate goal of the Trump Administration.

  • Manual labor visas would save our country a ton of headache in terms of law breaking goon squads, private prisons, and kangaroo courts. It is a far saner solution than a pointless wall, putting children in concentration camps, having civil law enforcement agents break various laws and rules harassing people of color for its own sake.

    “or their offspring unless they go through the proper process.”

    If they are born here, THAT is the proper process. (see 14th Amendment Citizenship clause). 🙂

  • Then please explain what you mean by:

    (1) “Illegal immigrants [are] migrants”, and “the Unitarian Universalist Association [and] Unitarian Universalist Service Committee” are just trying to illegally “welcome” them (in)to the United States.

    (2) “Migrants [are] illegal immigrants”, and “the Unitarian Universalist Association [and] Unitarian Universalist Service Committee” are just trying to illegally “welcome” them (in)to the United States.

    (3) “Migrants” and “illegal immigrants” are interchangeable, but “the Unitarian Universalist Association [and] Unitarian Universalist Service Committee” are just trying to illegally “welcome” only the latter group (in)to the United States.

    (4) There are “illegal … migrants”, and not just “illegal immigrants”, and “the Unitarian Universalist Association [and] Unitarian Universalist Service Committee” are just trying to illegally “welcome” both (in)to the United States.

    (5) “Illegal … migrants” and “illegal immigrants” interchangeable, and “the Unitarian Universalist Association [and] Unitarian Universalist Service Committee” are just trying to illegally “welcome” them (in)to the United States – either one.

    (6) The Anti-Trump Associated Press is reporting here both about “illegal … migrants” and about “illegal immigrants”, and this presstitute, as Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, likes to call mainstream media nowadays, is just trying to illegally “welcome” them (in)to the United States.

    (7) The “Arizona clergy[‘s]” problem, then, is that they’re trying to illegally “welcome” illegal aliens (in)to the United States – by any means necessary, and that, too, in the name of their Unitarian deities.

    (8) “The Unitarian Universalist Association [and] Unitarian Universalist Service Committee” have, as the saying goes (and not just for exemplary convicts in prisons, either, mind), “found religion”; and, with it, are demonstratively founding their new post-religion religion, by trying to illegally “welcome” illegal aliens (in)to the United States – by any means necessary.

  • Prove that you haven’t devilishly twisted scriptures there, ignoring the illegal/legal contexts and ramifications of both such “most definitely strongly held Christian beliefs”, and the “water stations for illegal immigrants near Arivaca, Ariz., about 13 miles north of Mexico.”

    Chapter & verse, give’em to me. Otherwise, y’know …

  • I can understand the desire to help the victims of the Liberals’ insistence on leaving our borders wide open and not enforcing our laws within our borders, but I’m not sure encouraging more victims to thrust themselves into the monkey trap the Liberals have helped create will help. If anything, it may well add to the hundreds of deaths on our border every year.

  • That was the situation for quite some time, the norm in fact.

    What happened was that they stopped moving on and the Democrats saw them as an instant supplement to their voter base.

    Thus all the falderol.

  • This Administration is delivering what it promised.

    Next time run a trustworthy candidate who refrains from wagging her finger at those she disagrees with, exhibiting an unwillingness to mix and mingle with the common folks, and doesn’t run on a platform of LBGT, giving stuff away, and leaving the border a porous joke.

  • I know.
    I think the US should charge the home country $500k for every illegal that enters the US for services to be rendered.
    The Treasury can debit the country of origins account and the central banks can square up each day.

  • Didn’t Jesus say: “For I was a stranger and refugee and thirsty and you gave me water….oh wait.. I mean you kicked my ass top the curb.”

  • Keep in mind…there is a high probability that some of your ancestors and mine entered the US illegally. It was a not uncommon practice from the 18th century to today.

  • Their rejection of a border wall, insistence that any families of undocumented aliens caught entering the country be released into the general population, and the way they’ve done everything in their power to hinder ICE in the performance of its duties says otherwise.

  • the Iroquois confederacy
    Mohawks
    Ojibwas

    All had walls/palisades:

    the Cahokia Mounds site in Collinsville, Illinois.
    Angel Mounds Site in southern Indiana
    Aztalan State Park in Wisconsin, the Kincaid Site in Illinois, the Parkin Site and the Nodena Sites in southeastern Arkansas and the Etowah Site in Georgia.

  • No, they did not have walls.

    Mounds were either burial sites or fortifications.

    Do you what a wall is and how it is constructed?

    No, they did not have firearms.

    They did not have iron or bronze, they never discovered gunpowder.

  • Perhaps you failed to learn this in school — pretty easy to research.

    Nine hundred years ago, Cahokia was a sprawling city, home to perhaps 5,000 or more people. The city was a series of neighborhoods, each with a prominent flat-topped mound on which rested the residence of an important citizen. The city center was enclosed by a log stockade. Upright logs, perhaps 20 feet tall, were positioned side by side to create an impenetrable wall. Inside the wall was a large open plaza, a few neighborhoods, and several large earthen mounds.

    Azatlan
    The settlement was surrounded on the north, west, and south sides by a palisade, a wall of logs set vertically into the ground.

    GUNS
    As early as the 1640s, the mighty Iroquois confederacy in upper New York State mastered the use of short, light, and durable flintlock muskets.

    In the 1640s, well-armed parties of 100 or more Mohawks journeyed far from their native territories to terrorize Algonquin and Montagnais Indians, because these tribes were virtually defenseless against the Mohawks’ ample supply of muskets

    Having procured a substantial arsenal of these guns, the Ojibwas were able to decimate roving bands of Mohawks and Oneidas south of Lake Superior, and defend their territory from a number of other predatory tribes.

  • Perhaps you failed to learn this in school – pretty easy to research.

    Nine hundred years ago the white man had not come to North America.

    Cahokia, which ceased to exist in the 14th century, was was enclosed by a log stockade, a fortification, not a wall like that proposed for the border between the USA and Mexico.

    Azatlan, which sometime between 1200 and 1300 was abandoned, was similarly a simple stockade.

    The mighty Iroquois confederacy in upper New York State only used flintlock muskets they were able to buy or steal from whites. They never learned how to make them or to make gunpowder.

    So, moving on ….

  • I spoke of the Liberals’ “insistence on leaving our borders wide open and not enforcing our laws within our borders,” I never said that they called for abolishing the laws. After all, why waste time advocating the impossible (and politically damaging) when you can simply arrange for the laws’ enforcement to be gutted?

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