While President Donald “America First” Trump and his merry band of foreign interventionists try to convince people how concerned they are with the plight of Venezuelans, four American women, Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick, might have doubts about this new-found Republican/conservative love for the poor, needy, and disadvantaged. That’s because the Trump administration has just prosecuted them in federal court for leaving jugs of water and food for immigrants illegally entering the United States by crossing the Arizona desert.
Last month in a non-jury trial, a U.S. magistrate, Bernardo Velasco, convicted all four women of misdemeanor offenses. They now face a possible jail sentence of six months and a possible $250 fine — and, of course, a federal criminal conviction on their record.
Now, mind you, these four young women (here is a picture of them) were not convicted of helping illegal immigrants avoid dying of thirst or hunger while crossing the desert. Technically, they were convicted of entering a federal wilderness refuge without a permit and for abandonment of property consisting of gallons of water and pallets of beans they left in the refuge.
But let’s be honest: Those are just the technical violations of the law. What they are really being targeted for is helping illegal immigrants to survive their journey across the Arizona desert. The prosecutions are intended to send a message: Don’t help these people. If they die of thirst, starvation, illness, or exposure to the elements, so be it. It will be their fault for trying to enter the United States illegally.
The four women are volunteers for a U.S. organization called No Mas Muertes. In English, No More Deaths. Its mission is to help immigrants who illegally enter the United States via the desert to help them avoid dying of thirst or hunger.
Needless to say, No More Deaths is not among the U.S. Border Patrol’s favorite organizations. The group incurred the special wrath of U.S. immigration officials when it published a video online showing members of the U.S. Border Patrol discovering jugs of water left for illegal immigrants and pouring the water out on the ground. Federal officials retaliated by indicting one of the group’s volunteers, Scott Warren, on felony grounds of “harboring” illegal immigrants for allegedly giving illegal immigrants food and water in a building in Ajo, Arizona. He’s facing a possible 20-year jail sentence.
These indictments and convictions demonstrate the utter viciousness and “banality of evil” that drive the enforcement of immigration controls. All you have to do is watch the U.S. Border Patrol agent in the video laughing and taunting as he pours out the water onto the ground to recognize the cruelty and brutality of the immigration-control mindset.
If the United States still had its founding system of open immigration, a system which we libertarians favor, no one would be crossing the desert to illegally enter the United States and, therefore, no one would be dying or suffering on the desert or in the backs of 18-wheelers. The immigrants would be crossing at regular crossing points, like international bridges, like normal human beings. It is the system of immigration controls — and their brutal enforcement — that have induced people to illegally enter the country by crossing on lonely deserts or in the backs of 18-wheelers, which have resulted in numerous deaths by thirst, starvation, exposures, suffocation, or illness.
Of course, statists blame the immigrants themselves for choosing to take such risks. But statists also know that people have always taken risks to better their lives. Knowing that and fully understanding that their system produces massive death and suffering, they have nonetheless chosen to continue their cruel and brutal system, even while many of them continue to go to church every Sunday to hear their preacher talking about God’s second-greatest commandment.
Of course, this lack of concern for the sanctity of human life is reflected not only in the enforcement of immigration controls. The mindset of cruelty and brutality also manifests itself in the sanctions and embargoes that U.S. officials are enforcing on people in countries they have targeted for regime change. Consider the massive suffering that U.S. officials have imposed on Iraqis, Iranians, North Koreans, Cubans, Venezuelans, and others, without one whit of concern for their victims.
Recall the words of U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright, who declared that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from U.S. and UN sanctions were “worth it.” Hey, those children were just Iraqis, not Americans. And those immigrants dying of thirst, hunger, illness, or exposure on that lonely Arizona desert are just Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, or Venezuelans. It’s not as though they are Americans. No big deal if they die trying to get here.
Recall what the feds did to Bert Sacks, the man who, in his own exercise of conscience, took medicines into Iraq to help the Iraqi people avoid the cruelty and brutality of U.S. sanctions during the 1990s. The feds went after him with the same vengeance that they are going after the No More Deaths volunteers. What Sacks was doing was no different from what the No More Deaths volunteers are doing — responding to the dictates of his conscience by trying to save people from the evil that was being inflicted by his own government, the U.S. government.
How much do U.S. officials care about the plight of the Venezuelan people, the same people who Trump and his anti-immigrant, interventionist cohorts want to keep out of the United States with their proposed Berlin Wall? The same amount they care about the plight of immigrants illegally entering the United States on the Arizona desert. Not one whit.