Four women were found guilty of misdemeanors and are facing possible prison time for leaving jugs of water and canned food in the Arizona desert for migrants braving the scorching triple-digit temperatures during the summer of 2017.\u0022If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?\u0022—Catherine Gaffney, No More DeathsU.S. Magistrate Judge Bernardo Velasco on Friday convicted Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse, and Zaachila Orozco—all volunteers with the organization No More Deaths—for entering the Cabeza Prieta refuge without a permit and leaving the items, which \u0022erode the national decision to maintain the refuge in its pristine nature.\u0022The volunteers—who face up to six months behind bars and a fine of up to $500—and other critics of the Velasco\u0026#039;s decision argued that the women were simply trying to save lives.\u0022This verdict challenges not only No More Deaths volunteers, but people of conscience throughout the country,\u0022 declared Catherine Gaffney, another of the group\u0026#039;s volunteers. \u0022If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?\u0022Professor Katherine Franke, faculty director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at Columbia Law School, challenged the outcome on legal grounds.\u0022Velasco\u0026#039;s guilty verdict in the case mirrored the government lawyers\u0026#039; trivialization of the defendants\u0026#039; religious liberty claims, describing them as \u0026#039;a modified Antigone defense,\u0026#039;\u0022 she said in a statement (pdf). \u0022He failed to undertake even a minimal legal analysis of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as the law required.\u0022Bill McKibben, a co-founder of 350.org who has talked openly about how his faith has driven his environmental activism, tweeted, \u0022This is literally—literally—what Jesus told people to do.\u0022This is literally--literally--what Jesus told people to do. https://t.co/kNsPChIKOa— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) January 20, 2019The case comes amid mounting national criticism of the Trump administration\u0026#039;s immigration policies, and rising tensions between U.S. Border Patrol and humanitarian groups such as No More Deaths. Although no one from Border Patrol testified in the case, those tensions were on clear display, as AZ Central reported:Prosecutors argued that the 10 rescue beacons that the Border Patrol installed inside the refuge was the \u0022preferred way to save lives,\u0022 rather than dropping off water jugs with gave \u0022false hope\u0022 to migrants, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Walters said.Defense attorneys responded that access to the beacons was key, and that migrants who were dehydrated might not be able to get to them.\u0026nbsp;What was not discussed during the trial were the accusations from No More Deaths that Border Patrol agents \u0022systematically\u0022 destroy or empty water bottles they leave behind for migrants in the desert.As The Intercept\u0026#039;s Ryan Devereaux noted on Democracy Now! last week: \u0022It\u0026#039;s important to keep in mind here that the sort of targeting of humanitarian aid on the border is part of a larger crackdown that the Trump administration has been orchestrating on the border. It extends to family separation. It extends to the sort of clogging of ports of entry for asylum seekers. So, you know, in these trials, there\u0026#039;s a ton at stake.\u0022The targeting of humanitarian aid groups like @NoMoreDeaths \u0022is part of a larger crackdown that the Trump administration has been orchestrating on the border,” says @rdevro, reporter for @theintercept. “It extends to family separation.” https://t.co/NFwiHbAVuI— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) January 19, 2019While these four women will be sentenced as early as next month, five more volunteers also face misdemeanor charges for work in the refuge, with trials slated to begin in late February and early March. According to No More Deaths, one of them, Dr. Scott Warren, \u0022is also charged with felony harboring and conspiracy related to humanitarian aid work.\u0022 That trial is set to begin in late May.