No More Deaths is an advocacy group that looks to end the deaths of migrants crossing the dangerous, harsh desert of the country’s southern border. Four women with the group who provided food and water to migrants are now facing possible prison time for their actions.
An Arizona judge found the four volunteers guilty of illegally entering a national wildlife refuge in the region. They drove through the protected refuge in the summer of 2017 and left gallons of water and cans of beans for migrants coming from Mexico to the United States.
A border patrol agent spotted their vehicle and apprehended them. The women—Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick—admitted to leaving the food and water and were charged in December 2017.
The Washington Post reports this is part of a larger rift growing between aid workers and Border Patrol agents in the region. The women were convicted in a federal court in Tucson, AZ. The judge said their actions violated the national agreement to keep the area pristine.
No More Deaths volunteer Catherine Gaffney said the guilty verdict should challenge everyone to take a hard look at their morality.
“If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?” she said in a statement.
Court records say the four women were motived by religious convictions and the base belief that everyone should be able to access basic survival needs.