Letter to the Editor: A statement of support for Scott Warren

ASU students and faculty show support for former faculty associate Scott Warren in light of his recent trial

As former professors, colleagues and students of Scott Warren at ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, we would like to express our strong support for his innocence in a federal case alleging that he harbored undocumented migrants.

Dr. Warren earned his Ph.D. in Geography at ASU upon writing a dissertation on the history of conflict along Arizona’s southern border with Mexico. Thousands of human remains have been uncovered in the Sonoran desert — most dead of exposure to the elements. 

More bodies likely remain unfound due to the difficulty of traversing the desert terrain. Dr. Warren continued his work outside the academy with a group called No More Deaths (No Más Muertes), to supply food, water and medical care to people who might otherwise die in the desert. 

He was arrested in Ajo, Arizona on the same day that No More Deaths published a report and videos that demonstrated Border Patrol agents destroying caches of drinking water left for migrants in the Sonoran desert. 

Scott recognizes the value possessed by every individual life. He has worked every day to preserve the lives of humans in an otherwise unforgiving landscape. Since his arrest in 2018, at least 88 more bodies have been recovered from the Arizona desert.

Acting in our personal capacity and not on behalf of the University, we stand in solidarity with our colleague Dr. Scott Warren and the UN-recognized right of people all over the world to provide humanitarian aid without the threat of being arrested for saving lives.

We are not alone in our sentiments. A recent survey showed that a vast majority, 87%, of American adults disagreed that, "it should be a crime for people to offer humanitarian aid, such as water or first-aid, to undocumented immigrants crossing the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border."

As faculty members and graduate students in a university in a border state, it is highly likely that we have students in our classrooms every day who are undocumented or DACA recipients. As the federal charges represent opposition to the presence of these students in our nation, we reiterate our support for them and their contribution to our diversity of experience and values. 

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this letter to the editor are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. This letter to the editor was submitted by Oscar Lopez, a doctorate student studying geography at the College of Liberal Arts and Studies.

Reach the author at oglj@asu.edu.

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to opiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com. Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

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