Humanitarian aid is not a crime,
federal judge rules
Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss were arrested July 9, 2005, while evacuating three seriously sick migrants from the Arizona desert. Volunteer doctors instructed them to bring the men to a Tucson clinic because the level of care they needed was more advanced than what could be administered in the field.
Indictments against two No More Deaths volunteers who were charged with transporting illegal entrants to get medical care in July 2005 were dismissed Friday.
Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss, both 23 at the time of their arrests, were facing 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines in the case that was scheduled to go to trial next month in federal court in Arizona.
No More Deaths is a faith-based group that provides food, water and medical aid to illegal entrants walking in the desert during the summer.
The two were following a "protocol" they'd been taught by No More Deaths, checking with a lawyer and a doctor by telephone before they began driving the entrants, whom they described as severely dehydrated.
Judge Raner C. Collins ruled that Sellz and Strauss had been told by No More Deaths officials that they could transport sick illegal entrants under certain conditions. "They were assured that the 'protocol' had been approved by Border Patrol and that the transportation for these medical purposes was not a violation of the law," Collins wrote.
Read the Arizona Daily Star article here. Check out the diatribes in the comments; many disagree with what Sellz and Strauss did.