Sunday, April 02, 2006

Give water to a dying man -- go to prison.

Every year hundreds of people die in the desert trying to cross from Mexico into the United States. They are people seeking work, looking for a better life. But the trip is long and dangerous. And many die.

A group, No More Deaths, tries to save lives. They provide water and medical care to people they find in the desert. Emil Hidalgo-Solis was one of those people. He was vomiting and suffering from bloody diarrhea. He drank contaminated water from a cattle trough to try and quench his thirst. He finally collapsed and assumed he would die. But he was rescued by this private charity. He was picked up and being taken to a doctor for care. Two members of No More Deaths, Daniel Strauss and Shanti Seliz, were merely trying to save a life. Border patrol agents stopped the vehicle and not only arrested the individuals who crossed into the US but also arrested Strauss and Seliz.

Strauss and Seliz are to go on trial shortly and could face up to 15 years in prison for offering aid to a dying man. Last year alone 415 people died trying to cross the desert. But those who want honest jobs that can support their families have little choice. The "legal" method of immigration is closed to most of them, no matter how willing to work they may be, and it takes years to complete at costs that the poor can not afford.

Border bureaucrats say they don't care if someone is providing medical care to people. They say merely transporting and helping these people is a crime and they will be prosecuted. The racist Minutement Civil Defense Corps, would be border thugs who aren't smart enough to actually be hired for the job and thus resort to their own armed patrols, support arresting people for helping the sick and dying. Chris Simcox, who founded this shameful group, said "How do they know they're not assisting a rapist or criminal?" How stupid. By that logic all private charity of any kind would be illegal because it is possible that the charity might go to a rapist or criminal.