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THREAD—"In criminalizing the provision of humanitarian assistance to migrants we have resurrected the fugitive slave laws of antebellum America." nybooks.com/daily/2019/07/… via @nybooks
@nybooks "In the 1840s, an elderly abolitionist Ohio farmer, John Van Zandt, lost all his property for assisting nine runaway slaves from Kentucky and thus violating state and federal fugitive slave laws."
@nybooks "One does not have to look far to find our contemporary Van Zandts—or renewed attempts to criminalize humanitarian aid.
@nybooks "Scott Warren, a volunteer for the group No More Deaths that provides relief, usually in the form of supplies of food and water left in desert areas, to migrants attempting to cross the harsh, arid southern border of the United States, was arrested last year in Arizona...
@nybooks "... for rendering care to two dangerously dehydrated and injured migrants. His case was brought to trial recently. Warren was charged with providing food, water, clothes, medical care, and shelter to two undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert.
@nybooks "Last month, a jury in Arizona refused to convict him, eight finding him not guilty and four guilty. Warren, an academic by profession, was—like many volunteers with No More Deaths other humanitarian aid groups working in the desert—motivated simply to save lives."
@nybooks "Across the Atlantic, another humanitarian has been on trial. In Italy, the German ship captain Carola Rackete, who rescued forty-one African migrants adrift in the Mediterranean was tried recently for allegedly violating Italian law against assistance to migrants at sea.
@nybooks "The humanitarian group Sea-Watch International, with whom she is associated, has been banned from Italian waters. Italy’s anti-immigrant, right-wing populist deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, has called Rackete a pirate."
@nybooks "The prosecutions of those rendering aid to migrants and refugees across Europe and America demand that we extend anew our moral imaginations and recommit ourselves to universal human rights and democracy.
@nybooks "The abolitionists’ protests against the fugitive slave laws, which deprived large groups of people of their liberty and criminalized those who offered assistance to them, should be an inspiration in our dismal times."
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