Here are two Nuggets from Monday’s meeting that instruct us well. The realities of the border are complex. One of Samaritans’ purposes is to discover these complexities.
A young man from Honduras presented himself to a member of our group within the last few weeks. He had traveled four months from Honduras, ending in a five day walk, to reach the border. Abandoned by his coyote, he wandered the desert for 15 days before making it to Green Valley. After receiving food and water, he was on his way toward a hopeful future. Miraculous.
Out on a Samaritan Search, one team encountered a Border Patrol agent and talked for an hour. While some agents are reluctant to talk or they rant, this agent was fair minded and thoughtful. Possessing a Masters Degree, he endeavored to do his job with respect and concern. In six years on the job, he has had only 2-3 threatening situations and none involved firearms.
- Russ Peterson
Magistrate Jacqueline Rateau
Federal Prosecutor: Mr. Lewis
2 Border Patrol
14 CJA Lawyers
2 Public Defenders
Samaritans Attending: Sara Busey, Judy Konopaski
More migrants were first time crossers (45) than re-entry ones (30). Three were dismissed because the court lacked interpreters for them and one was dismissed without prejudice during court procedure when Mr. Lewis agreed he didn’t understand Spanish well enough to proceed.
Five crossed at the port of Nogales using fraudulent papers and two were apprehended trying to cross on the freight train. No point of entry or country of origin were given by Rateau.
The 30 were sentenced to prison for a total of 1290 days, a low number because the majority of migrants received no more than 30 days.
Sarita Maigualida Mazariegos-Castillo (18-38014MP) lawyer Myria Garcia. Sarita had been separated from her 11 yr. old sister by Border Patrol even though Saria had Guatemalan papers showing she had custody of her. Sarita would be a few days in prison before being flown back to Guatemala. She wanted to return with her younger sister.
Elvia Rodriguez-Valencia was very concerned because a large amount of money had been taken from her. Lawyer Ruiz mentioned it to the magistrate who assured Elva it would be returned before she was flown back home.
Magdalena Terraza-Lopez (18-38040MP) a first time crosser from Guatemala signed the asylum paper, but her lawyer Cheryl Blum said she would mail it to her in prison because the Marshalls would not let her take it with her. Blum thought Magdalena would receive it because she had to wait for a full plane to fly back to Guatemala.
Nicolas De Tolentino Cruz-Figueroa (18-38032M) expressed a credible fear. His lawyer Isabel Amsel said she gave him the asylum paper even though she understood he would not be allowed to keep it.
Magistrate Judge Lynnette C. Kimmins, 16 attorneys, 2 interpreters, Federal Prosecutor Ms. James and a variable number of marshals (started at 6 ended at 3)
Visitors: Andy, a teacher doing border research and one GV Sam
75 people were on the calendar including 5 women. All wore 5-point shackles. 44 had the misdemeanor charge of Illegal Entry 1325, and 31 had the additional charge of Illegal Re-entry after Removal, 1326.
This judge does not mention country of origin but only area of entry into Arizona and date of entry. 25 migrants were arrested near Sasabe, 24 near Lukeville, 15 near Nogales, 3 near Naco and 1 near Douglas. 9 people were arrested between 4 and 8 days after they said they had entered Arizona. The majority were picked up the day they entered. Perhaps this reflects the increased troop presence at the border.
Monday Judge Kimmins had almost the whole group sitting in the courtroom at one time and had to send for more headphones. Today she had only two groups of 8 at any one time after the dismissals. She repeated the charges to each group of 8 and asked each person individually 4 questions (about 280 questions in the course of the hearing).
5 migrants were dismissed at the beginning of the hearing most likely for language. Two were continued.
Lucia Magdalena Dubon Ulloa 18-37752MP (Atty Daniel Anderson) from Honduras will have a half day bench trial on 12/21 at 9:00 am. She had her Initial Hearing today in court.
Beatriz Mendoza Cirilo 18-37803M (Atty Diana Castillo Reina) from Guerrero is a Mixteco/Tlapaneco speaker and did not have enough Spanish to continue in Streamline. She was continued until 12/20 at 1:30 to await an interpreter. Ms, Castillo Reina spoke at length with the judge saying that OS had been designed for Spanish speakers and others who did not speak Spanish should not be put through this and asked to wait so long for a hearing. Her client had something she wanted to say but needed an interpreter which should be expedited. She also had injuries which were not explained.
The plea bargain group of 27 (after dismissals) were sentenced to 1515 day in prison. An indigenous language was put on the record for two in this group and one in the 1325 group. One man wanted a ‘credible fear’ interview.
Jorge Arturo Colindres Galeano 18-37760M (Atty Grace Goodman) who was arrested the day he entered wanted asylum. His lawyer put it on the record but I saw no papers—papers are more difficult now with 5-point shackles. 30 days.
Humberto Ailon Mendez 18-37810M (Atty Peter Matiatos) hurt himself in the desert—no explanation. His lawyer asked that he be allowed to sit for a moment before exiting the courtroom. He was limping when he left.
On Monday before this judge there were about 5 misdemeanor charges and all the rest had the additional felony charge. This came after the four day Thanksgiving weekend and was not reflective of the population that was arrested during that time. The Monday group and the group today were picked up within a day or three of the hearing. I asked a lawyer what happened to the rest of the migrants who were detained. He told me that about 250 people a day are found; only 75 may go to Streamline each day and they can’t be held more than 72 hours before a hearing. He said some will go to Streamline and some, at the discretion of the border patrol on the scene, will be offered Voluntary Removal. The migrant signs a paper saying s/he wants to return to Mexico and is released at the border. I imagine this only works for Mexicans.
Some migrants who do not go to OS will go straight to criminal court as we are now seeing with some folks with multiple re-entries. In the past we would have seen them in Streamline. Also going directly to criminal court are those caught committing a real crime or found to have a prior, real, criminal record in the U.S. Families entering Arizona no longer will be separated in the way we saw in May but have other arrangements. Unaccompanied minors are shifted to another government agency. There has to be a better way.
Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco, 15 attorneys, Federal Prosecutor Zachery Weist, 4 marshals, Mexican Consul Rep, 2 interpreters, Court Recorder and various Border Patrol—mostly in the holding room adjacent to the courtroom.
Observers: Two groups of teens—one group left early and about 10 were local students with an instructor, Suzanne Mattox from Oregon with one GV Sam.
75 migrants including 5 women were on the calendar. Yesterday, Monday, only 4 were charged with Illegal Entry (1325) only, Today 37. I think after a weekend those with a felony are sent to Streamline first and I don’t know what happens to those picked up for 1325 on Friday or Saturday. 38 migrants had the additional charge of Illegal Re-entry after Removal (1326).
We did not hear the country of origin, date or location of entry into Arizona for the 16 people dismissed or continued—2 to go to trial. Of the others 30 were from Mexico, 26 were from Guatemala, and 2 each from Ecuador and Honduras. It is likely that many of the 10 dismissed were from Guatemala and spoke an indigenous language. 19 migrants were arrested near Lukeville, 17 near Sasabe, 11 near Nogales, 7 near Douglas and 6 near Naco. 4 people were arrested 4-5 days after entry; most were arrested within a day or two.
Each of the 7 judges is handling the return of shackling differntly. This judge had the entire group of 38 charged with 1325 seated in the courtroom in addition to 7 to be dismissed or continued from the plea group. As one group of 6-7 finished, the seated defendants all stood and shifted toward the front. It was noisy today with the shackles, a mumbling judge and no access to earphones and I missed some information on those to be continued.
Marlon Alonso Caballero Guzman 18-37398MP (Atty Diana Castillo Reina) was continued until112/18 9:30 (trial??).
Pedro Almaraz Jose 18-37431M (Atty Peter Matiatos) was continued until 12/17 at 2:00.
Pablo Coronel Garcia 18-37439M (Atty Diana Castillo Reina) was continued until 12/6 .
Bartolo Gomez Gomez 18-37475M (Peter Matiatos) 12/17?
Judge Velasco said two of the 1325 group chose to go to trial. I noted one above and the other may have been one I marked as dismissed from the 1325 group--
Rogelio Ramirez Matias 18-37397MP,
Heriberto Espinobarros Silva 18-37414MP,
Mario Ramirez Chox 18-37441MP,
Domingo Tum Cotiy 1837445MP,
Maria Garcia Alvarez 18-37446MP,
Francisco Tzaput Guarchaj 18-37447MP or
Juanita Cayetano De Jesus 18-37449MP.
The remaining migrants from the 1325 misdemeanor group were given ‘time served’ except one who had a prior record of 5 days in 2009.
Olegario Reyes Ramirez 18-37348MP (Atty Charles Thomas) was sentenced to 7 days in prison though his lawyer argued against it.
There were two requests for Credible Fear interviews put on the record—no papers seen.
Francisco Morales Sady 18-37390MP (Atty David Maldonado) from Guatemala—time served.
Bryan Ricardo Sani Tenesaca 18-37396MP (Atty Grace Goodman) from Ecuador—time served.
Herculano Gustavo Vicente Ramos 18-37442MP from Guatemala—time served-- and Selvin Suazo Perez 18-37402M from Honduras—30 days-- were wearing face masks.
30 of the 1325/1326 group were sentenced to 1680 days of incarceration which will likely be spent in private prisons in Florence, AZ. One woman asked to go to a prison in Georgia or Tennessee. The judge made that recommendation but final decisions rests with the Bureau of Prisons.
Judge Velasco came back to speak to the group of students after the hearing as he usually does. He the judge who gives most information on the migrants and feels it his responsibility to talk to groups. If only he did not mumble.
Magistrate: Bernardo Velasco
Federal Prosecutor: Mr. Lewis
No Border Patrol
14 CJA Lawyers
2 Public Defenders
Samaritans Attending: Sara Busey
Visitors: Nancy Bennet’s friend, a woman & 2 middle school boys arrived at the end.
Only 4 migrants were first time crossers, although one other had his felony charge dropped during the proceedings. These were convicted and dismissed to their home country with a criminal misdemeanor on their record. An additional three were dismissed and 4 continued in order to obtain interpreters for indigenous languages. The remainder of the 75 were charged with entry and re-entry. Most received 30 days. All together they will spend 2925 days in mostly private prisons.
Over half of migrants today were from Mexico. Twenty came from Guatemala, 6 from Honduras and 1 each from Ecuador and El Salvador. The majority entered near Sasabe with Lukeville and Nogales other areas of entry. Six attempted entry at the Nogales port.
Court continues to speed up proceedings by bringing in the next 14 defendants while 7 are before the magistrate being tried. Velasco reads their rights to each group of 7-8, then personally directs a question to each migrant: “Is it true that….”
Credible fear: Lawyers of the following stated their client had told both the detaining officer and Border Patrol that they had a credible fear of returning to their country, but it was not listed on their I-213 form. The lawyers asked to put that in the public record. No sign of papers given to the clients.
Everet Antonio Fineda (18-37134M) Juliana Ore-Giron, lawyer, re-entry charge
Oguin Eliazar Zelaya-Perez (18-37141M) Alejandro Munoz, lawyer, re-entry charge
Definitely NOT a credible fear: Manuel Jorge Tzaj-Rosario spent 3 months in ICE detention after his last crossing because ICE thought he had requested a credible fear interview. He hadn’t. This time he didn’t want that same mistake to happen again.
One young man spoke with Shura - he'd had both arms amputated below the elbow and an eye gouged out by the gang Mara Salvatrucha (also known as MS-13) in El Salvador or Honduras.
Do we continue to wonder why there is an active exodus en route from those countries ??
- Barb Lemmon
Magistrate Judge D. Thomas Ferraro, 15 attorneys, Federal Prosecutor Ms. James, 6 marshals, 2 interpreters and a few other court officials
Observers: There was a full courtroom today with perhaps close to 100 people from all over the U.S. with members of local humanitarian groups and churches.
Since shackles are back in the courtroom each judge is conducting these hearings in different ways. This judge had the first group of 12 prisoners to be dismissed or continued before him as we entered. After that 40 shackled migrants charged only with the misdemeanor of illegal entry came in with shackles clanking, sat and heard the judge read the charges and consequences to the whole group. Judge Ferraro then called 7 to 11 people to stand in front of him. He asked each group the two questions one time—Did you understand the charges and consequences I just explained to you? And, are you pleading voluntarily? He does not repeat the questions for each defendant as most judges do but goes down the line, ‘And you Ms. Lopez? and you Mr. Gutierrez?
A difference this time was that attorney Bacal asked that the judge be sure that his client remembered the charges he gave to the group so the judge asked if they understood and went down the line with that question. He then did this with most groups At least one other lawyer has objected to this manner of questioning so today Judge F asked the later small groups if they remembered.
The plea bargain group was only 23 as 5 had been dismissed and 2 continued
It was difficult for me to hear today but there were some mentions of Credible Fear and asylum. Attorney Ore-Giron said that there were many mistakes on the I 213s where migrants had not been asked screening questions or their answers were not properly noted.
Lidia Rosibel Flores Quiñonez 18-36941MP (Atty Juliana Ore-Giron) from El Salvador, did want to talk to her consulate and does have a fear of returning home but did not want to pursue it right now. Time served.
Yerlin Skarleth Gomez Aguilera 18-36988MP (Atty Juliana Ore Giron) a Honduran woman requested to speak to the Honduran Consulate and did have fear of returning home. Time served.
Daniel Estuardo Hernandez Fajardo 18-36989MP (Atty Alejandro Muñoz) from Guatemala was afraid of returning to Guatemala. Time served.
Luis Fernando Cayetano Fuentes 18-37016MP (Atty Juliana Ore Giron) from Mexico does have a claim of fear and will seek an interview. Time served.
Fidel Gutierrez Martinez 18-37004M (Atty Juliana Ore Giron) was continued until 11/16 and another hearing on December 11. He has a wife and two citizen children here in Tucson and his lawyer argued for release as his case proceeded. I didn´t hear the answer.
Angel Rodriguez Gonzalez 18-36919M (Atty Mark Williman) was also continued until December 11th.
Dismissed—5–1325s and 5–1325/1326 many are Central American
The 5 dismissed who were 1325 only:
Rosalino Sanchez-Gomez (Deirdre Mokos FPD); Adolfo Orpeza-Castro (Myria Garcia CJA); Vidal Lopez-Marroquin (Mark Willimann CJA); Patricia America Ramirez-Vasquez (Charles Thomas CJA); and Mariolita Ramirez-Gabriel (Natalie Haywood CJA).
The 5 dismissed who were both 1325 and 1326:
Marcos Sanchez-Perez (Charles Thomas CJA): Ezequiel Aguilar-Godinez (Peter Matiatos CJA): Valentin Perez-Santis (Saul Huerta CJA); Eluvia Celeste Larios-Tomas (Myria Garcia CJA); and Jesus Villalba-Tapia (Daniel Anderson CJA). (Lois Martin)
75 migrants were on the calendar today including 12 women. 40 migrants were from Mexico, 15 from Guatemala 6 from Honduras and 2 from El Salvador. The group of 10 dismissed at the beginning for language concerns were probably largely from Central Amenrica.
24 people were arrested near Nogales, 19 near Sasabe, 7 near Douglas and 6 each near Naco and Lukeville. 6 people were picked up between 4 and 7 days after entering Arizona.
23 people in the plea bargain group were sentenced to a total of 1455 days in prison. This was difficult to hear today because of the way in which the judge does the sentencing.
A report from Operation Streamline (October 30) described how one Public Defender, Hortencia Degadillo, told the magistrate about her client's claim of "credible fear." The man, a Guatemalan in his early 20's, said he and his wife fled with their two-year-old son. They were faced with paying extortion money to gangs to keep their son from being kidnapped. They could not pay, so they left their home. - Laurie Jurs
Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman, 16 attorneys, Federal Prosecutor Ms. Cassidy
75 shackled migrants including 4 women were on today’s calendar. This judge only gives date of entry but later told us that there were many people from Honduras and Guatemala. Most had entered the country within the last 3 days but 12 had entered 4 to 7 days before their arrest.
8 migrants were dismissed at the beginning of the proceedings for language concerns and 1 later. Usually these are people who are being picked up for the first time, have no criminal record and speak an indigenous language. It is easier to deport them than hold them and find an interpreter. If the person has a prior record s/he may be held until an interpreter can be found. The interpreter may be in California while the defendant is incarcerated in Arizona—a difficult scenario to translate English legalize into Mam (K’iche, Cabecar, Q’anjob’al), where those words may not exist, over a TV hearing.
Martin Almada Salazar 18-36529M (Atty Mark Willimann) had his initial hearing and was continued until December 3 at 10:00. He is an older man with hearing and visual impairment.
36 migrants charged only with illegal entry (1325) were sentenced to Time Served and deported. 29 people with the additional charge of Illegal Entry after Removal (1326) were sentenced to 1,440 days of incarceration which will mostly be served in a Core Civic private prison in Florence.
5 migrants had ‘credible fear’ or asylum claims. It was very difficult to hear any interaction between the judge and the attorneys because of 10 shackled defendants, 10 lawyers behind them and 10 more shackled defendants entering during the proceedings. It seemed very intimidating and dehumanizing.
Javier Arturo Guerrero Barahona 18-36521MP (Atty David Maldonado) had entered Arizona on October28 and was afraid of returning to his country.
Josue Oswaldo Rodriguez Rodriguez 18-36543MP (Atty Tamara Mulembo) will ask for asylum.
Nery Caballero Rodriguez 18-36562MP (Atty Alejandro Muñoz) has a credible fear claim.
Bryan José Escobar Garcia 18-36523M (Atty Daniel Anderson) has a credible fear claim.
Rudi Anibal Hernandez Lorenzo 18’36579M (Atty Daniel Anderson)--credible fear.
Observers: 2 GV Sams, a group of about 15 university students and two professors from the Honors College at Northern Arizona University. Judge Bowman came back to speak to them and answer questions after Streamline.
When asked about where the migrants would serve time, Bowman said in Florence at the Core Civic prison. The judge also clarified terminology, saying there are many euphemisms, such as “migrants being held” or ¨detained¨, but she clarified those mean “imprisoned.”
Bowman also said she has no discretion in sentencing, but does have some discretion in “continuing” cases and in “dismissing” them usually in consultation with the prosecutor.
Judge Bowman said the judges had been urging thorough testing of the Spanish language ability of the lawyers after one had been found to be less than fluent.
- Katrina Schumacher
Magistrate: Leslie Bowman
Federal Prosecutor: Mr. Lewis
Samaritans Attending: Sara Busey
Visitors: Two women from Oregon
Bowman was at her best today. She encouraged defense lawyers and migrants to speak up whenever they had concerns and did not say requests for asylum did not need to be brought up in court. As an observer, I was thus able to document credible fear requests as lawyers spoke up for their clients.
Of 75 migrants, 6 were dismissed due to language difficulties and 5 continued to allow interpreters to be found or for lawyers to have more time with their clients. Only 8 were first time crossers, 67 re-entry and 3 caught with false documents trying to enter at a port of entry. most likely Nogales. Almost all were apprehended within a few days of crossing, but 2 spent over 2 weeks in the desert before being caught.
Most re-entry crossers will spend 30 days in prison, a few 75 days and one 180 days. (I missed 10 sentences while talking with the Oregon women.)
Moises Hernandez-Espana, (18-36304M) birthdate 12/12/88, age 29. Lawyer Mary Kincaid, FPD, told the magistrate she had given him papers re: an application for asylum.
Rosa Alvardo, his sister-in-law and friend drove all night from Oregon to see Mosises “to re-assure his mother that he is alright.” Rosa was very concerned Moises will be dropped off in the middle of night into Mexico after he spends 75 days in prison without money or belongings where “bad men” will pry on him. I gave them our information on Operation Streamline and told her someone from our volunteers would be visiting Moises to help him with the asylum process.