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Leaving water on the trail

The case of U.S. v. Millis made national headlines. As reported by Time, four volunteers of the group No More Deaths were driving in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and were stopped by officers of the U.S.
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    January 10, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Leaving water on the trail

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The case of U.S. v. Millis made national headlines. As reported by Time, four volunteers of the group No More Deaths were driving in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and were stopped by officers of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who noticed several gallon-sized containers of water in the vehicle. When questioned, the driver and occupants of the vehicle admitted their affiliation with No More Deaths and that they were placing the water along refugee trails and picking up empties.

The officers informed the volunteers that special permits were required to leave water in the Refuge, and that such a permit had been granted to another organization. The driver was cited for "Disposal of Waste" on a national wildlife refuge.

The magistrate found Daniel guilty and gave him a suspended sentence. On appeal, a federal district court judge affirmed the conviction. The appeals court reversed deciding that it came down to a matter of definitions--the driver was not charged with littering per se. He was accused of disposing of garbage and other debris in a national wildlife refuge. The court concluded that the water bottles the driver left behind did not meet the common meaning of the word "garbage," especially given that courts are inclined to interpret ambiguous criminal laws against the government.

This case raises an interesting question: did placing the water bottles along a trail known to be used by illegals entering the country aid and abet those aliens? Is that a crime?

Federal law makes it a crime for any person, knowing that a person is an alien, to bring to or attempt to bring that person into the United States in any manner whatsoever other than a designated port of entry. The law also to knowingly or in reckless disregard of the law to transport or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States or to conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation. Thirdly, the law makes a crime to encourage or induce an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, when such entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.

The men who left the water bottles were not charged under any of these provisions. However, the owner of Cancun Mexican Restaurant in Maine was recently convicted of harboring undocumented aliens at his restaurant. He and his brother were convicted of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for profit as well as aiding and abetting document fraud. In total there were about 12 illegal immigrants found to be working at the three restaurants, he said. The brothers were also convicted for helping undocumented alien employees obtain false residence cards, also known as "green cards," and Social Security cards at the three restaurants.

Immigration is a national issue, but it affects people locally. For those in need of representation for any immigration issue, including aiding or harboring an illegal alien, consulting with an experienced Utah immigration attorney should be a priority.

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