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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Actually, humanitarian aid is a crime”

    Amid the many serious problems that illegal immigration poses for our country, the humanitarian concern about the loss of life that occurs daily in the border regions is a valid one. But that concern, emphasized by groups such as No More Deaths, does not trump society’s legitimate interest in regulating its borders and preventing its citizens from breaking the law.

    Geoff Boyce, media coordinator for the Tucson office of No More Deaths, said the organization sends groups of volunteers to “”areas where we know people are crossing the desert and provide (those we find) with food, water and basic medical attention.””

    But many concerned about the wildly out-of-control problem of illegal immigration in this state are not supportive of the efforts of No More Deaths volunteers, charging that their actions constitute assistance in the commission of a crime.

    Stephen Eichler, executive director of the Minuteman Project, says that groups like No More Deaths “”are exacerbating the problem”” by “”creating an atmosphere that allows the corrupt Mexican government to continue to send millions of its own people to their death.””

    In July 2005, Daniel Strauss and Shanti Sellz, two young volunteers with No More Deaths, were arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol while attempting to transport three migrants they found in the desert to a medical facility for treatment.

    Strauss and Sellz have since been charged with two crimes, transporting illegal aliens and conspiring to transport illegal aliens – both of which are felonies under federal law – and are currently awaiting trial after a motion to have the charges dropped failed.

    No More Deaths has defended the actions of Strauss and Sellz by launching a campaign revolving around the slogan “”Humanitarian aid is never a crime.””

    This argument, however, is nonsense, and anyone, minus a small contingent of bleeding-heart liberals who like to think of themselves as good Samaritans, can see that.

    The two volunteers in the desert at worst knew for a fact, and at best had good reason to know, that the migrants they encountered were illegal immigrants presently engaged in crossing the border illegally, a federal crime.

    The volunteers did not make any attempt to prevent the crime from continuing, nor did they report what they saw to the proper authorities. Instead, they consciously chose to support the effort of the migrants to illegally enter the nation by transporting them farther into the United States.

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is not humanitarian aid; that is aiding and abetting a felony.

    There is, of course, a positive way by which No More Deaths could address the problem of illegal immigration and the dozens of deaths it causes each year: help deter migrants from successfully crossing the border illegally.

    This humanitarian group should dedicate its work to finding migrants in the desert, providing them with the necessary food and water to survive and then promptly handing them over to the authorities for immediate deportation back to their home country.

    When asked whether No More Deaths does, as a matter of policy, promptly report the migrants that it aids to border authorities, Boyce replied, “”No. We do not report them. Our focus is on humanitarian aid, not law enforcement.””

    But this rationale amounts to nothing more than a refusal by No More Deaths to accept responsibility for the negative consequences of its actions, even if its intentions are good.

    Employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens could just as easily use this line of logic to say, “”My focus is on giving someone a job, not law enforcement.”” But that too is a federal crime that the government must enforce if it wishes to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

    The real reason that the illegal immigration problem has become an epidemic is that businesses, politicians and even humanitarians have refused to recognize their contribution to the problem and have chosen instead to simply hope someone else will address it.

    Boyce said that in most cases volunteers in the desert choose to respect the migrants’ “”right to make their own decisions,”” but what that really means is, “”We respect your right to come into our country and violate our laws.””

    This nonsensical turning of the cheek, even if labeled “”humanitarian aid,”” is and should absolutely remain a crime against the law-abiding citizenry of the United States.

    Michael Huston is a junior majoring in political science and philosophy. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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