Four women who left food and water for migrants in a deadly border area have been sentenced by a federal judge, the Arizona Republic reports. US Magistrate Judge Bernando Velasco sentenced them Friday to 15 months of unsupervised probation and a $250 fine, on charges of abandonment of property and going inside the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona without a permit. In January, Velasco found Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse, and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick guilty for their work leaving gallon-jugs of water and bean cans for migrants. The women were caught in 2017 as part of their volunteer work for the aid group No More Deaths.
"The humanitarian work that has ultimately brought us here today will continue to address the border crisis until there are no more deaths," the women said after their sentencing. No More Deaths lent their support by holding a vigil and a march Friday outside the Tucson federal courthouse, and said, per CNN: "I think it goes without saying: You need water in the desert, and without water you will die." But Elizabeth Strange, a first assistant US attorney, applauded wildlife officers who spotted the women and warned that other aid workers could get in equally hot water, saying "our office will continue to review potential violations on federal lands on a case-by-case basis and bring charges, as appropriate." (Aid workers say border agents are deliberately undermining their work.)