We heard another disturbing report of evidence of vandalism at several water drops, with water jugs intentionally emptied.
Judge D. Thomas Ferraro, 14 lawyers, Christopher Lewis for the feds
Observers; one GV Samaritan, Kayla Rutlege—a reporter from Flagstaff, a large group of about 20 young people came in after the hearing had started.
69 were on the list; 35 charged only with 1325 and 34 with both charges. There were 6 women, 47 Mexicans, 5 from Honduras, 7 from Guatemala and 2 from El Salvador. 21 entered near Nogales, 16 near Sasabe 13 near Lukeville, 8 near Douglas and 2 near Naco.
8 people were dismissed as soon as the judge entered and are not counted here.
The judge called the 8 to the bench first with their lawyers. There were some from the 1325 group and some with two charges. Lawyer Trull said most were dismissed for language concerns. Silverio Aguilar Olvera 24056M had his case continued and set to appear later in the month.
This judge divides the group into two groups and started with the 1325 group first. All the prisoners were shackled—wrists, ankles and waist. One of the lawyers announced before the session started that there was a stay on the mandate concerning the shackles and there would be no decision for 90 days. The mandate was not yet granted.
All of the 1325 defendants took the plea bargain and were given ‘time served’.
Gaudencio Valderanos Lopez 24063MP and his wife asked to be deported together.
The second group—1325,1326,--were brought in after the first group had left.
Ronald Josue Castaneda Nieto 24034M from El Salvador said he had fear of gangs if he was returned to El Salvador. He had been threatened and left the country. This was put in the record. I couldn’t hear very well but usually people seeking asylum or having credible fear are told to talk to immigration after serving the sentence or perhaps his lawyer can help him to get a credible fear interview while he is still incarcerated.
Jose Abel Vega Villegas 24058M was on crutches—I don’t know why.
Israel Lopez Lopez 24075M addressed the court and asked for a reduction of his 180 day sentence. He has 3 children including a sick child and needs his income for treatment. The judge explained he has no leeway in sentencing. He says Mr. Lopez can go to trial instead but the outcome may well be worse as Mr. Lopez has an old assault on his record. The defendant took the 180 days.
Judge Ferraro sentenced this group to 1770 days of incarceration. At $161 per day that is $284,970 for one day out of four court days in Tucson which is one border sector out of nine.
This judge is very speedy. The federal lawyer did not ask for incarceration for the 1325s and the lawyers did not say much. Somehow it seems even more inhumane but really there is no way to make this system look like due process.
Awed to be in their midst: Susie Sanders asked Rebecca Garcia, a GVS Samaritan, to share impressions from the mid-day meal at Caballo Loco Ranch, southwest of Three Points. The lunch was provided by our Sams group for the 2017 Migrant Trail participants on June 2nd. Sixty-five walkers, some of whom have walked this 7-day, 75-mile trek from Sasabe to Tucson for 14 years, participated to commemorate those migrants who have lost their lives crossing the desert.
Rebecca said: "There were so many people there who just blew my mind and heart away with their long histories of dedicated action on this issue. I mostly walked around feeling awed to be in their midst, amazed by the stamina and sacrifice of the hikers and forgot all about my camera! Next year I hope for better documentation at least and possibly greater personal involvement. Wouldn't it be awesome to hike with them on the first and last days, just for example? I'm inspired to do that (at least), plus the luncheon again, too.”
Judge Lynnette Kimmins
We started with 2 observers from the GV Sam’s, the new ACLU lawyer and two Dutch journalists and we ended with me.
Judge K took longer than any judge I’ve seen—2 and ½ hours.
75 people on OS list including 3 women. 27 people were only charged with 1325—illegal entry. The remaining 48 took a plea bargain to dismiss the felony—reentry—and plead guilty to the misdemeanor. The judge handled the latter group first and then the ‘petties’ (the first group charged only with illegal entry). I found the judge’s handling of the second group amazing and will address that first.
The judge called up groups of 5 with their lawyers, spoke carefully and clearly and individually questioned each defendant. Most of the 1325 group also signed a plea bargain, admitting the illegal entry and getting a time served sentence.
8 people were in the last group who did not sign the plea bargain. Judge K had Christopher Lewis—the federal lawyer—make a case for the feds. Mr. Lewis took about 5 minutes and explained the purpose of OS—to deter illegal entry into the US—and asked that this group be given 10 days each to impress upon them the severity of what they had done and convince them not to return.
The judge with the group of 8 and their lawyers before the bench asked the first lawyer Gregory Solares if he or his client had anything to say. Mr. Solares had a lot to say as did the other lawyers; Peter Matiatos, Patrick Doyle, Cheryl Blum, Daniel Anderson, Bert Vargas. For the next half hour the lawyers talked of the lack of previous records of any wrongdoing for their clients, the hardships that had pushed them to make the journey to the US, the physical and emotional trauma their clients had suffered on the journey and upon entry and family that depended on them. One man was a fisherman in a place where schools of fish had been depleted, a few had almost no education and came from remote areas, one had just turned 18 and 2 had been lost and run out of food and water on the journey. None, the lawyers said, needed 10 days in addition to the trauma suffered to drive home the point not to return.
Judge K. gave them Time Served and reminded them they had the right to appeal. WOW!
Back to the group of 48 charged with a felony and a misdemeanor. The defendants were picked up mainly near Nogales, Lukeville and Douglas with a few found near Naco and Sasabe. All together, the judge sentenced 3885 days of incarceration which at $161 cost of incarceration per day is $625,485. One day out of 5 in Tucson Federal Court, in one border sector out of 9. Can you imagine what real solutions creative, caring people could implement with all that gold!
There were several requests for incarceration in a particular place—mostly Arizona and the judge granted them all though this is not binding to the Department of Prisons.
Rodolfo Lucero Marquez—23470—appeared not to understand and the judge had him wait until the very end and went over the entire set of explanations and questions with him alone.
Martin Leon Zamora—23478—is an older man who said he entered the US 8-15-2013 and was apprehended by ICE in Tucson (?) on June 3rd. He was given 60 days which might mean he was stopped for a broken tail light or ICE went after him after he came to their attention.
Eudalia Domingo Lucas—23483—and Abraham Batres Avila—23492—a married couple, asked to have a few minutes after the hearing to decide how to meet if they were not deported together. Both were picked up near Douglas and given 75 days.
Arturo Luna Suaste—23550—asked for a reduced sentence as his family has no money and needs his wages. Judge K explained that she can’t modify the sentences. 75 days.
A Samaritan volunteer recently sat with a woman in the KBI Comedor in Nogales, Sonora, who'd lived in Houston for 21 years, has one son in medical school and another in middle school. Her husband is in immigrant detention in Denver. ICE entered her home, cuffed and deported her, not giving her time to get her medicine for pneumonia. There is no known criminal history for this mother. Relatives will care for the boy. The publicized policy from the executive branch in Washington D.C. is that only criminals are being deported. This does not square with what we are seeing in reality. -Laurie Jurs
Judge Jaqueline Rateau, 15 lawyers
The print out was 10 pages—75 people including 6 women. The first 3 pages, 23 people, were only charged with 1325, illegal entry. Mr. Lewis the Federal Lawyer asked that they all receive 15 days. The judge did not agree, dismissed all fines and gave them time served and sent them for return to Mexico and points south.
I did not understand what was going on though I later found that this was a return to what was done when OS started and I had trouble hearing Mr. Lewis. Today was the first day for the new policy. Hopefully when other observers go we’ll get a better picture of what is happening.
Of the first 23, one woman, Margarita Vasquez Gregorio 17. 22961 was dismissed before the hearing. The judge did not say why. Two other migrants did not appear to understand and the judge questioned them alone.
The other 50 migrants (2 men were not in court though on the list) had the regular OS hearing. Lawyers mentioned a second language for Israel Pascual Nolasco, 17-22969, and Joel Moreno Cantu, 17-22963. Angelina Rodriguez Bautista, 17-22951, was questioned alone at the end of the hearing because she appeared to have difficulty understanding.
Lawyer Bacall had concerns about two of his clients, Miguel Angel Quiroa Quiroa 17-22982 and Jaime Leonel Gabriel Morales 17-22949, I think he felt they should not take the plea but I could not hear well.
The 50 men and women who were sentenced to more than time served, received 3,870 days. At $161 per day—mostly at private prisons—the cost to taxpayers is $623,231 (10 years) in addition to court costs, border patrol and the cost of holding the 23 people returned with time served.
Judge Bruce G. McDonald, 13 lawyers
I was the only observer
13 shackled, male migrants: 6 were picked up near Nogales, 4 near Sasabe, 2 near Naco and 1 near Douglas. Lawyers mentioned the home country of 2 of the defendants—Honduras and Guatemala.
This judge does not mention the home country of the migrants. David Aguilar lawyer for Luis Torres Velasco (22737) noted how young his client looked but that did not stop his hearing.
Gary Rosoff lawyer for Cruz Perez Mejia (22753) said his client told him he had been targeted with threats and extortion in Guatemala and had credible fear. The lawyer said he informed the United States Marshall, he wanted this on the court record and he advised his client to request a hearing before his release date. The judge said he can address credible fear and request an interview and asylum when he is back at immigration, after the 30 day sentence is served.
Adrian Guzman Fedencio (22746) asked to serve his 180 day in Oxnard, CA. The request was made but the judge said this was only a recommendation and that placement is made by the Bureau of Prisons.
Judge McDonald sentenced 990 days. If the cost of incarceration—mostly in private prisons—is $161 per day, the cost to the tax payer is $159,390 for one day of Operation Streamline out of 5 per week in one sector of the US/Mexican border out of 9 sectors.
DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court
Magistrate Bruce MacDonald
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Lewis
Samaritans: Sara Busey, Heidi Geroux
Sixty-three, including four women, crowded into this Monday courtroom. Most entered the U.S. near Nogales and Lukeville and were apprehended within a day or two by Border Patrol. The exception was Teodolo Parra-Gamez , who had been in the country nearly 6 months.
An unusual move by the federal prosecutor occurred when Noe Paz-Mendez (17-22650M) from Guatemala was before the magistrate. Mr. Lewis dismissed Noe because his first language is Ma and Spanish is his second. Other similar cases have been held over until prosecutors obtain a Ma interpreter who has in the past been available. Noe’s lucky day!
The only other incident of interest: Jose Luis Castillo-Perez (17-22680M) lawyer Bert Vargas, asked to spend his 30 day prison sentence in Aurora, CO “where he has an asylum application pending.” No idea how he got from Aurora to OS!
In total, the 62 migrants will spend 3810 days in mostly private prisons for a cost to taxpayers of $613,410.
DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court
Magistrate Eric Markovich
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Lewis
Samaritans: Sara Busey, Shura Wallin
Visitors: Peter Hirschman from Tucson Samaritans leading a dozen young folks with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
There were very few migrants today. Of the 14, only 1 was a woman. Six crossed near Lukeville and 4 near Nogales and most were apprehended the day before, except for Rosario Monreal-Perez who crossed over a month ago. They will spend a total of 1010 days in prison at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $162,610.
Most interesting was the information Markovich shared when he spoke to the Jesuit volunteers after the short court proceedings. He explained the usual 5 court appearances for those charged with a crime are collapsed into one at Streamline.
Question: “How is it decided who comes to Streamline and who goes to a usual court proceeding?” Lewis replied, "It depends on the prosecuting attorney’s resources as to whether he expands the definition of criminal offense or not guilty," replied Lewis.
Question: “With so few migrants, will Streamline close as have five other Streamlines along the border?” Markovisch replied, “Last week we had only 6 migrants each at two different Streamline days. With the resources given to the court—magistrates, lawyers, interpreters, clerks, etc.—one wonders how long it will continue.”
Question: “Would Streamline again prosecute first time crossers?” Markovich replied, “That’s up to the politicians. When it happened before, most migrants were given time served, no prison time, and sent back to their county.”
Question: Why are so few coming? Markovich replied, “We now have a proverbial wall that has been put up with rhetoric.”
Question: “It is against International treaties to punish asylum seekers. Why are they sent to prison from Streamline?” Markovich replied, “Some don’t express credible fear until they arrive at Streamline. And ICE won’t do credible fear interviews until after they serve their prison sentences.” Lewis replied,“ICE’s protocol is not to give credible fear interviews to those who don’t cross at ports of entry. Those are criminals because they broke the law and are punishable.”
Judge D. Thomas Ferraro, 6 lawyers
6 Mexican migrant men
Observers—7 young teenagers and their teacher from Greenfields School in Tucson. The teacher was doing a class on the courts and they were going to different courtrooms. I was the only other person.
The migrant men entered near—Lukeville (2), Nogales (2), Naco and Douglas (1 each). The judge called them all at once taking about 20 minutes. No one spoke except sí, no and culpable. There were two requests for incarceration in Arizona. Both were noted though this is no guarantee. The total sentence was 750 days.
Judge F. came to talk to the school group. He talked about the origin of Streamline and the early days of the Obama administration when there were tens of thousands of apprehensions and deportations. He compared OS to individual hearings saying that he basically did the same thing only this was much faster.