Magistrate Judge Lynette C. Kimmins, Federal Prosecutor Zachary Wiest, 15 Attorneys, 4 US Marshals, two interpreters
75 on the docket today—6 women and 69 men. 44 had the misdemeanor charge of Illegal Entry (1325) and 31 had an additional felony charge of Illegal Re-entry after Removal (1326). 37 migrants were arrested near Lukeville, 15 near Sasabe, 5 near Nogales, 4 near Naco and 3 near Douglas.
43 migrants were arrested the day they entered and only one was arrested 5 days after entry. With this number arrested near Lukeville, I’m wondering if we are seeing people from some of the large groups being picked up in that area.
7 migrants were dismissed without prejudice at the beginning of the proceedings, most likely because they speak an indigenous primary language and have limited facility in Spanish. Two were continued and had their initial appearances.
Jorge Cedeno 19-20811M (Atty Raul Miranda), an English speaker, was detained and his 90 plea was left open. He was continued with Mr. Miranda until 1/29/19 at 9:30. The Judge questioned him in English.
Alexander Fernandez Valencia 19-20830M (Atty Darlene Chavez) had his initial and was continued but no date given. Natalie Hayward took over as lawyer.
After dismissals Judge Kimmins addressed all the attorneys, telling them that requests for Credible Fear Interviews (CFIs), detention and deportation locations were all on the records in front of her and she would not mention them in open court. They could speak if they wished.
Credible fear and other issues in the 1325 group:
Rene Hernandez Salaz 19-20781MP (Atty Rene Miranda) a Mam speaker from Guatemala, was told to confer with his lawyer after his confusion became apparent in the first group. He was then seen last, alone. He had been to school in Spanish for 4 years but seemed confused at each question saying repeatedly, ‘No quiero pelear, no quiero juicio, solo quiero irme a donde vine’--I don’t want to fight, I don’t want a trial, I just want to go back where I came from. The judge insisted on going slowly through every sentence of her instructions despite his protests finishing each sentence with, ‘Do you understand?.
He would protest again and when pressed say the equivalent of ‘ un-huh’. They finally got through it and he was sentenced to ‘time served’ as were all the other misdemeanor cases. It was more difficult than usual to watch—he should have been dismissed.
Franklin Santizo Escobar 19-20831MP (Atty Jordan Malka FDP) was also seen at the end of the calendar after his lawyer said he wanted time to discuss his client’s plea of guilty to the misdemeanor. He was a student in Guatemala and has great fear of returning home which is in his I 213. He withdrew his guilty plea, was given an order of detention and scheduled for a status? hearing 1/29/19 at 1:30 with the same judge and lawyer.
Abner Ramirez Santos 19-20844MP (Atty Paul Breshears) from El Salvador was another confused person seen at the end of the calendar with..
Eustolia Pinzon Rivers 19-20879MP (Atty Natalie Haywood) from Mexico, arrested as she attempted to evade capture in the vehicle lane in Nogales(?) was also confused and seen at the end. She wanted to ask for political asylum.
Mr. Breshears spoke first saying his client was a university student and had great fear of return to El Salvador which was on his I 213. He had a copy of the petition we wanted his client to carry but he had also sent a copy to the Border Patrol and contacted the Florence Project. He said that because he had talked to his client about the criminal matter and the immigration concern, Mr. Ramirez had been confused with the initial questioning.
Ms. Haywood said she had filed all the same paperwork as had Mr. Breshears.
The two continued are above. There were a couple of language concerns put on the record as Antonio Ical, a Quiche speaker from Guatemala who said he understood about 50% of the questioning.
I think there were many Central Americans. I ran in to the Guatemalan Liaison again but we were crossing Congress in opposite directions—not enough time to get an answer about how many Guatemalans.
28 migrants were sentenced to 1530 days of incarceration in a Federal Prison. Many migrants with multiple re-entries that we used to see in Streamline are now sent individually in the regular criminal courts which will mean more prison time for them and a lot more money for our private prison industry and even more stretching of our justice system. Streamline lawyers often have to run upstairs for a few minutes to do an initial hearing for another client.
Visitors/ Observers: GV Sam Rita Denks with Cleveland Plain Dealer Reporter Mike, a group of 15-20 from Common Ground on the Border and another group came in later.
Magistrate Judge Lynnette C. Kimmins, 17 Attys (2 FPD), Federal Prosecutor Zachary Wiest,
4 marshals, 2 interpreters, Mexican Consulate Rep
75 migrants on the docket—6 women. 53 were charged only with the misdemeanor Illegal Entry (1325) and 22 with the additional felony charge of Illegal Re-entry after Removal (1326).
30 were arrested near Lukeville (western edge of our sector), 15 near Sasabe, 12 near Nogales, 3 each near Douglas and Naco.
6 migrants were arrested 10 days to 2 weeks after entry into Arizona—very rough if those days were in the desert.
This judge does not give country of origin but the Guatemalan Liaison said there were 20 Guatemalans and 2? Hondurans. In court, migrants from El Salvador and Ecuador were mentioned. All others were from Mexico.
10 prisoners were dismissed and 2 continued at the start of proceedings. Another man was continued later on and all 3 had their initial appearance today. Most of the dismissed were migrants who speak indigenous languages and also have a minor charge with no multiple re-entries or other previous charges in the US. On Monday Judge Kimmins said the judges had been told to dismiss more indigenous language speakers rather than go to the time and expense of finding an interpreter.
Ramon Alfredo Caceres-Hernandez 19-20729M (Atty Joel Parris) –no date given.
Edgar Alberto Polanco Esquivel 19-20733M (Atty Charles Thomas) was continued to 2/1/2019 at 10:00.
Continued during the proceedings:
Jesus Alberto Vivaldo Mendoza 19-20709M (Atty Paul Breshears) has a US citizen wife and child with another on the way. He was arrested for Attempted Illegal Entry, the felony was dismissed, he had his initial hearing, was detained despite family ties, and had his next date set for 2/4/19 at 9:30. There was some question about a deportation as a juvenile in 2010.
Dismissed and requesting Credible Fear Interviews:
Luis Alfredo Llivi Lazo 19-20720MP (Atty Juliana Ore-Giron) From Ecuador does have fear of returning home and says he was not asked at immigration.
Irving Gomez Valdez 19-20785MP (Atty Joel Parris) From El Salvador wanted to see an immigration judge.
Requesting CFIs during the proceedings:
Ramiro Garcia Hernandez 19-20746MP (Atty David Maldonado), Time served, had fear of returning home to Mexico?. Judge K. suggested that he not only put his comments on the minute record but contact the Border Patrol as the man would be deported today.
Wilber Arevalo Orellana 19-20776MP (Atty Juliana Ore-Giron) from El Salvador does have fear of returning home. This and other mistakes were on forms from his arrest. Time served.
Jose Santos Margarito Dominguez 19-20786MP (Atty Hugo Reyna) and Yeimy Vargas Gallardo 19-20788MP (Atty Charles Thomas), husband and wife requested deportation together so they may travel safely. The judge said she would make that recommendation and that they should tell the Border Patrol.Time served.
After dismissals and before the rest of the calendar Judge Kimmins addressed the lawyers telling them that she had the requests for CFIs, asylum, detention and deportation and would not repeat them in court. The lawyers could if they felt they needed to. We hear several judges are doing this to speed up the process. This judge is polite, careful and thorough. I calculated she asked 305 questions of 61 migrants in about 1 hour and thirty minutes.
The head interpreter was, I was told, ‘old school’ and would not give me earphones so I missed some conversations between the judge and lawyers.
A Borderlinks group of about 15 college students from Minnesota, GV SAM Randy Meyer with a group of 10 from all over here for Common Ground on the Border and Katrina Schumacher—GV Sam.
During a seemingly routine recent water drop, our vehicle was approached by a Border Patrol agent who told one of our members "You walk on water." He went on to say that back in 2014 he had found a young girl in the desert who had been raped repeatedly and left to die. As she was severely dehydrated and near death, the agent picked her up and began to carry her back to his vehicle. On his way, he found water Samaritans had left in the desert. Our work and the agent's humanity saved her life. No one should die in the desert. - Russ Peterson
OPERATION STREAMLINE (OS) 1:30-3:30
January 14, 2019
Magistrate: Lynnette Kimmins
Federal Prosecutor: Mr. Lewis
No Border Patrol
13 CJA Lawyers
2 Public Defenders
Samaritans Attending: Sara Busey, Jane Shuttleworth, Hank Miguel, Jonathan Best
Visitors: Ithaca College, NY students; Tricie Decker, Red Lodge, MT.
A full docket with 75 migrants. Nine were dismissed due to lack of translators and 2 were continued, one of which requested a bench trial because he didn’t want to be sent home to an abusive father. Seventeen crossed near Sasabe, 20 near Lukeville, 6 near Nogales and 1 near Douglas.
Magistrate Kimmins instructed all the lawyers that credible requests were not to be mentioned in court unless the lawyer desired it. She had all those requests already.
Credible fear/asylum requests, both first time crossers:
Simon Cirineo Yuicela-Mendoza (19-20549MP) from Ecuador. Lawyer Maria Davila. Kimmins took pains to describe all his rights again and said as a first time crosser he would be immediately turned over to Immigration where he could request a credible fear interview.
Eric Alva (19-20576MP) Lawyer David Valadez.
Federal Prosecutor Lewis moved to dismiss Federico Mendez-Sales. His lawyer said his first language was Spanish and he understood the interpreter, but he didn’t understand the legal process.
Sentences were low for the 39 re-entry migrants. They will spend a total of 1320 days in mostly private prisons.
Magistrate Kimmins talked with the Ithaca College students following court.
She said a new policy is to dismiss first time crossers that don’t have Spanish as a first language. Finding an interpreter slows down the legal process. There are so many different dialects within an indigenous language that finding as interpreter with the identical dialect is almost impossible.
“How did you become a magistrate?” which she has been since 2016. They are chosen after interviews and a final appointment by a politically appointed Chief Justice for 8 year, renewable terns. Tucson magistrates currently rotate with Flagstaff and Yuma which have no magistrates currently.
“How can lawyers be sure their client is an adult?” They check the CURP Mexican data base where all births are recorded.
“How do you feel about your job?” I try hard to remember that every one of those in front of me deserves fair and impartial justice, that I am convinced that they understand the process and that what happens today strongly affects their lives.
Lawyer Mark Willimann also answered questions. He insisted Operation Streamline deters future crossers and ended the “game” of back and forth across the border. Numbers are down.
A young women with Kemmins requested that only questions come from the college students. After court I assured her (she turned out to be a legal intern) that if I had been allowed to speak, I would have told Magistrate Kemmins how fair and compassionate she is, one of the best.
Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco (RETIRING AT THE END OF MARCH)
4 US Marshals, 16 attorneys, a federal prosecutor
There were 47 migrants on the docket today including 5 women. 25 were charged with the misdemeanor of illegal entry and 22 had the additional charge of illegal re-entry after removal. 7 people were dismissed without prejudice at the beginning of the session. All this in one half hour.
Judge V. sees 8 shackled migrants at a time. He rapidly explains the charges, consequences, rights, and trial. Then he asks each prisoner one question covering all of these points and another outlining the country of origin, date and place of arrest for that individual. Today everyone remembered his/her lines. 34 migrants were from Mexico, 3 from Guatemala and 2 from Honduras. It is likely that most of those dismissed were from Central America and were dismissed for low Spanish skill.
15 people were arrested near Nogales, 12 near Sasabe, 8 near Lukeville, 2 near Naco and 1 near Douglas. 5 migrants were arrested 4 or 5 days after entering the Arizona Desert.
Credible fear interview and asylum requests:
Juan Daniel Pacheco Rosendo 19-20304MP (Atty David Maldonado) from Mexico asked for a credible fear interview and will pursue it. Time served.
Rosalba Flores Aviles 19-20307M (Atty Juliana Ore-Giron) asked for a credible fear interview. She said she was not asked about fear and there are other mistakes on her I-213 form. 30 days.
Jairo Eduardo Sandoval Cruz 19-20328 (Atty Juliana Ore Giron) asked to withdraw his CFI request. Time served.
The 1325 group all were sentenced to time served. 18 of the 1325/1326 group were sentenced to 995 days of prison.
There were two groups of observing college students of about 15 each-- one from Boston College and the other from NYU law school and Rutgers with the Hirschmans. Judge V. talked to them and answered questions for about an hour. They had questions about the morality of this court, the history and working of OS, what existed before, the loss of petitions, why the use of shackles ( the judge said that after SCOTUS sent it back to the district, each area had to make their own decision. The judges from Phoenix and Tucson voted and Phoenix won).
One student asked him what he would fix. Judge V. said, The Dreamers, non-citizen vets who had served in out military and were now being deported and people with US citizen children.
- Katrina Schumacher
Many Hands Make Light Work
Sara Busey initiated the idea to serve one meal to migrants in Tucson who had come from detention and were awaiting transportation to their sponsors’ homes around the country. Dozens of GV Samaritans donated over $600 and food to organize a dinner for 60-100 people. Callie plans to use donations for future dinners when needed.
On December 23rd, Callie Conrad organized cooks and buyers to assemble the chicken and rice, beans and tortillas, fruit, cookies, drinks, and snack items. A handful of GV-Sahuarita Samaritans represented us in Tucson - feeding about 60 people, about half of whom were children less than ten years old. Many thanks to everyone who contributed time and money to this worthy project. The picture, below, shows the truck packed with food on its way to Tucson. Samaritans Callie Conrad and Susan Dyer are in the photo.
- Alyson Ball
Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman, 15 attorneys, Zachery Weist Federal Prosecutor, 4 marshals
Observers: GVS Sams Sylvie Robertshaw and Katrina Schumacher
There were 69 migrants on the calendar today—only men. I asked the Mexican Consulate representative how many Mexicans were here today. She said only about 15 with all the rest being from Central America. This judge does not mention country of origin or place of arrest and only a few bits of information are mentioned by the lawyers during the proceedings. What seemed different today was the lower number after a four day break, the lack of any women and higher sentences than we’ve been seeing. 6 migrants were arrested 5 to 10 days after entering our desert.
Judge Bowman started with a group of 9 shackled migrants to be dismissed or continued and then addressed 10 at a time with 10 more migrants entering as she had 10 standing with their lawyers before the bench. She spoke to all the lawyers after the dismissals telling them she had all their requests and they did not need to repeat them and she would not ask them or their clients if they had any comments but they could speak up if they wished.
Dismissals are usually because the migrant speaks an indigenous language and has no criminal record (such as illegal re-entries) or a very minor one. 2 people were continued.
Edgar Omar Arce Alaniz 18-39192M (Atty Diana Castillo Reina) grew up here from the ages of 11 to 23. He had his initial hearing and was continued until January 8 at 1:45.
Jose Antonio Rodriguez Garcia 18-39205M (Atty Mark Williman) was continued until January 8.
Josue Estrada Lopez 18-39246M (Atty Peter Matiatos) is a Cora speaker from Nayarit who had been in Streamline in 2008 (the year OS started in Tucson). The prosecutor wanted him held. When it appeared that no Cora interpreters were available and that he did speak some Spanish, he was held until the end of the hearing to try Streamline in Slow Spanish. Judge Bowman then went very slowly through everything often stopping to say, ‘Do you understand?’ to which Mr. Estrada would say, ‘Yes’.
The lawyer wanted the case dismissed. When the judge asked him what he thought of his client’s understanding he said the questions were leading—that was the nature of the beast. All, including the client, were discussing percentages of understanding 50%, 60%? They finally figured 60-70% was good enough and he was sentenced to 45 days instead of the 75 originally assigned and given the ‘Don’t Come Back’ talk.
This judge is very concerned that the prisoner understand the charges, his/her options and the consequences of pleading guilty. When I think of a half hour with an attorney discussing points of a foreign legal system after days traveling rough, a night or two in the helera, a day in bus and courtroom in 5-point shackles, I wonder how much understanding I would have.
12 migrants charged only with Illegal Entry were sentenced to ‘time served’. 47 of those charged with the additional Illegal Re-entry after Removal were sentenced to 3135 days in federal prisons or about eight and a half years. Eight and a half years of loss of income to 47 families and a cost to taxpayers of $504,735—using the figure of $161 per day for incarceration.
We were not sure whether Lucia Carillo Samano 18-39222MP (Atty Myrla Garcia) was in court. There were no women but if this is a man he may have been one of the dismissed.
I think there were most likely more CFI and asylum requests but one lawyer spoke during the hearing
and I didn't include it.
Herman Hidalgo Lopez 18-39235M (Atty Darlene Chavez) from El Salvador wants to request asylum.
He had a form (M488?) that she wanted to record and send with him. He was requesting Florence to
be closer to legal help. 30 days. (December 26, 2018)
- Katrina Schumacher
Magistrate: Bruce MacDonald
Federal Prosecutor: Ms. James
No Border Patrol
13 CJA Lawyers
2 Public Defenders
Samaritans Attending: Sara Busey
Visitors: A group of rabbis from around the US with a Kino Border Initiative guide; Caitlin Camper, a college student from Arkansas
MacDonald instructed the lawyers that all detention location and immigration requests were on the record and need not be repeated during court.
Two-thirds of the 75 migrants were first-time crossers. Ten were dismissed without prejudice at the beginning, probably due to a lack of interpreters for their indigenous languages. One was dismissed during proceedings when it became apparent he could not comprehend MacDonald’s questions. Another three had their cases continued. Those three asked for asylum, but I didn’t catch their names except for one:
Orain John Ross Douglas (18-38924M), who is from Jamaica and speaks English. His lawyer Kevin Lerch said he had asked for asylum when first stopped by Border Patrol. No papers evident. Re-entry.
First-time Crossers Asylum Requests: Maria Transito Mayancela-Aguayxa (18-38887MP), lawyer Ruben Teran and Juan Rafael Chavarria-Palma (18-38970MP), lawyer Kevin Lerch. No papers evident.
Attorney Ruben Teran challenged the contention by Prosecutor James that his client Benito Reynoso-Aguilar, a first time crosser, had entered the US before, saying that it was a different migrant. Both the prosecutor and MacDonald said they had papers to prove it was Benito. James asked that he spend 15 days in prison, but MacDonald sentenced him instead to 10.
All re-entry plea bargain migrants will spend a total of 1485 days in mostly private prisons.
Magistrate MacDonald talked with the rabbis after court. One rabbi had protested Operation Streamline in San Diego before coming to Arizona and was quite agitated. Others had excellent questions, which MacDonald tried to answer thoughtfully.
“My greatest fear is that they don’t understand and are only parroting answers.” “I realize the optics of 75 migrants in shackles is bad, but I try to give them dignity by addressing them directly.” “Prisoners are shackled in all courtrooms when more than 1 is present.” “Justice is an administrator of the law; we don’t make it. I encourage you to run for office if you don’t like it.” “Many of the “first-time crossers” in OS crossed before, but weren’t prosecuted then.”
I brought up the “request for asylum” paper and how it would help those with limited Spanish ask ICE for asylum when they are released from prison/detention. MacDonald said, “That paper is in Spanish,” implying that it wasn’t helpful since the migrant couldn’t read it. He said both the Mexican and Guatemalan consuls meet with those from their country at noon and he would hope they would explain the asylum process. He didn’t say how those from El Salvador and Honduras might be enlightened or how a Qeqchi speaker would communicate to ICE his asylum request.
- Sara Busey
It was announced at the Samaritans meeting Monday that we will be extending our efforts to help migrants in need, offering a search opportunity Sunday afternoons, in addition to searches most weekday mornings.
- Sandra Rooney
Magistrate Judge Bruce G. MacDonald,
16 Attys, Cassidy James Federal Prosecutor, 3 Federal Marshals
There were 75 migrants on the docket today including 4 women. 12 were charged only with Illegal Entry (1325) and 63 had the additional felony charge of Illegal Reentry after Removal (1326). This judge only gives the date of entry into Arizona. 36 migrants were arrested the day they entered. 5 people entered Arizona 4 to 10 days before arrest. Although nationality only came up in passing there were several Guatemalans and two from Ecuador.
11 migrants were dismissed; most because they spoke an indigenous language and did not have a serious enough case to merit an interpreter. One of these was from the 1325 group and 10 from the plea group including 2 during the hearing. It is unusual to have this many dismissed from the plea bargain group.
In addition to these 10 attorneys put an indigenous language on the record.
Ms Cassidy objected to dismissal for three people. She said the prosecutors had been directed to sentence migrants to some time if they had been deported during the last year even with the language issue. The judge said these three had no record and he would dismiss them. He spoke to a few more to assess fluency in Spanish and dismissed two of them.
Judge MacDonald addressed the group of lawyers telling them that he had all their requests about location of incarceration and deportation and other issues and he was not going to repeat them. They could put something on the record if they wished their client to hear it.
Each judge is doing things a little differently. This judge had 14 (plus or minus) prisoners seated in shackles and addressed them as a group. Then he called 6,7,or 8 in front of they to ask about their understanding of the charges, consequences and terms of the plea agreement. There was one asylum case put on the record in court.
Mariana Cervantes Aparicio 18-38700M (Atty Jessica Ruiz) from Mexico has a fear of returning home. She had applied before and lost but wanted to try again. 30 days.
53 migrants were sentenced to 2655 days of incarceration. That’s more than 7 years supporting our private prisons.
I talked to one of the lawyers about the instructions some judges have been giving. He said the judges have been saying not to put CFIs or asylum requests on the record unless they feel the client needs to hear it. Also since they can no longer send petitions or other paperwork with the client it makes it more difficult to help. He thinks they need a scanner in the courtroom so the petition and other supporting material can be scanned right there and sent to ICE or CBP. Especially with the misdemeanor clients there is very little time to contact immigration.
There was one other observer who came late and left. She may have been connected with one of Ms. Ruiz' clients.