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Man Faces Jail for Giving Immigrants Water

Society & Culture  (tags: society, rights, culture, ethics, humans, interesting, government, usa )

- 3031 days ago -
A judge has threatened to sentence a Tucson man to 25 days in prison for leaving jugs of water in the desert for illegal immigrants. A federal jury in June convicted Walt Staton of littering in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

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Gillian M (218)
Saturday December 5, 2009, 10:50 am
What you have to remember is that it is the act of leaving the jugs, which is littering, not the reason for it that is being judged. Depending on the container it could kill or hurt wildlife.

It is similar to an ecologist who threw an apple core out of his car window and being arrested for littering. The conservationist said that it wasn't littering as insects or another animal would eat it. However, it is the act itself and if you allowed the apple core, where do you draw the line?

Please note that I am only commenting on the law itself, not whether or not I agree with it. If a law is unfair or unjust then you have to campaign to change it and, in the meantime, work with whoever runs the wildlife refuge to see if there is a way that water can be left for the illegal immigrants without endangering wildlife or breaking the law eg special shelters.

Timothy M (14)
Saturday December 5, 2009, 1:11 pm
gilliam: also, in some places, i've seen apple trees themselves become invasive.

the whole immigration issue is sad. the only happy solution is to find a way to raise mexico's standard of living, and support a decrease in their population growth rate. once that's done, we'd have no reason to worry about any of this.

Linda B (71)
Saturday December 5, 2009, 1:18 pm
This is a raging debate here in Tucson. A lot of people are angry about the monetary and environmental costs of illegal border crossers. Others don't like the thought of these people dropping dead in the desert. There were over 200 discovered this past year.

There are some spots where large water tanks are erected, instead of leaving jugs around, which is not a good idea. Still, some, including lawmakers, see this as encouraging people to cross the border.

It's a conundrum, that's for sure.

Yes, the ecological damage done by decades of border crossers is HUGE. Millions of tons of trash is estimated to be strewn across southern AZ, Volunteers try to clean up, but it's a losing battle. Ranchers are irate because their livestock choke or get sick eating trash. And of course the wildlife suffer, too.

Gillian M (218)
Saturday December 5, 2009, 2:53 pm
There are something like 11 million illegal immigrants in California or so I've heard. My hubby thought that Mexico wants California back and a good way to do it is to outnumber the residents.

I don't like the idea of the immigrants dropping dead (which is why they are building the fence) and the damage done to the environment is of concern.

Past Member (0)
Saturday December 5, 2009, 2:58 pm
Disgusting. When did basic human compassion become a crime? Maybe the sentencing judge ought to be stuck in the desert without food or water for awhile and see how they feel if someone offers to help them.

Patricia N (41)
Saturday December 5, 2009, 3:34 pm
My brother lives in Az and sees illegal immigrants wandering around in the desert in circles looking for the town, they lose their sense of direction, my brother only lives 8 miles from town but he lives in the boon docks. He has told me they knock on doors begging for water and the homes are far and few between, illegal or not he gives them water and I would be ashamed of him if he didn't.

Rachel L (22)
Saturday December 5, 2009, 3:36 pm
People being jailed for trying to do good. It is a crime so much worse than any consequences the actual action could have possibly ever had: it discourages people from doing good.

Jeanne M (84)
Saturday December 5, 2009, 6:05 pm
"For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in." ~ Matthew 25:35
There is precedent, you see.

Shari G (27)
Saturday December 5, 2009, 6:55 pm
Without illegal immigrants the fruit and vegetables would rot in the field and the legal folks wouldn't be able to afford what ever was salvaged. The INS moves in and the farmers cringe. They know the citizens won't work in the fields. The conditions are horrid and wages are minimal. People die here too. The farmers say they can't do better and still make a living. It is a conundrum. Answers to this mess are way beyond me. As long as it's better to risk death for a chance of a better life (and i't still not good) people will keep coming and they will depend on the kindness of strangers for water in the desert.
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