“I am moved by my faith as a Unitarian Universalist to be engaged in this work along the border. It’s an important social justice issue to be in solidarity with the courageous people who leave so much behind to try and build a more dignified life for themselves and their families.” –Walt Staton
Today marks the beginning of the federal trial of Walter Staton, a Unitarian Universalist who provides humanitarian aid to migrant border crossers as a volunteer with No More Deaths, an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson. Staton is being charged with knowingly littering after putting out jugs of water intended for migrants crossing remote areas of the Sonoran desert last December on Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.
Dehydration is often a factor in deaths that occur along the border. Approximately 20 bodies of migrants have been recovered from Buenos Aires since 2002, with many more deaths occurring just outside the refuge’s boundary. No More Deaths volunteers distribute water jugs throughout the refuge in order to prevent deaths by dehydration, and they routinely pick up trash they find on the refuge. When Staton received his citation for littering, the group of volunteers he was with was carrying out empty water jugs and other trash.
The trial is expected to last most of the week.
- Read No More Death’s official Press Release on Walt’s trial
- Walt Staton and No More Deaths were featured in a February UUA.org article entitled Awakening Compassion at the Border
- See an April 2009 video interview with No More Deaths volunteer Dan Millis, who also received a citation for littering, and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.