We heard an update on the situation in Nogales regarding asylum seekers. Local shelters are providing humanitarian assistance to the 90 some families still waiting to present themselves to US border officials to request asylum hearings. It's still important to protest Attorney General Sessions' decision that women fleeing domestic violence and families fleeing gang violence are not eligible for asylum. - Sandra
OPERATION STREAMLINE - MAY 21, 2018 (from Laurie)
Today was the first time we heard about migrants in Operation Streamline who had been recently separated from their children. There were six Guatemalan parents, first-time crossers, on the day we heard reported. The parents were distraught and the lawyers and magistrate judge upset. No one seemed to know where the children were or how to expeditiously find out.
WAITING AT PORT OF ENTRY - JUNE 4, 2018 (from Sandra)
Today we heard first-hand reports of the desperate plight of the Guatemalans, Hondurans and Mexicans at the De Concini Port of Entry, women and children and some men, all fleeing violent situations, who are seeking asylum in the U.S. They are forced to live at the Port of Entry while they wait to be processed--only four or five families a day, and parents fear being separated from their children. No official care is given, though volunteers are coming forward to provide food, clothing, simple things like tooth brushes, toys for the children.
Magistrate Judge Bruce G. MacDonald, Federal Prosecutor Christopher Lewis, 17 defense lawyers, 2:40 - 4:08 pm
This was a devastating hearing. One of the lawyers said, ‘You didn’t think it could get any worse’. It was Judge MacDonald’s first time at Streamline since Trump/Sessions new policy has been in operation. Of the 75 defendants only 16 were 1325 (illegal entry) and of those and a couple of dismissed cases,8--all Guatemalans--had been separated from their children. Before court started the judge had a sign up sheet started where the lawyers could put down the information that is needed to contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and try to locate a child. On each case Judge MacDonald put on the record—to be reunited with his/her child before deportation. We know what a judge recommends is only a recommendation and may not happen. The following is a list ofGuatemalans who entered with children and were sentenced to Time Served.
Alicia Fabian Matias 18-27841MP (Atty Rosemarie Valdez)
Josefina Bolom Che 18-27844MP (Atty David Valadez) dismissed
Fredy Orland Perez Gregorio 18-27854MP (AttyJoel Parris) We are saddened not to be with our children. We are poor, we have nowhere to live. This man spoke at length. If there is any way to get a transcript of what he said it was powerful. (more than one child)
Quedin Chavez Lopez 18-27856MP (Atty Raul Miranda) Asks judge to tell him what the judge had just said—that he would be reunited with his child.
Juana Martin Cruz 18-27865MP (Atty Kevin Lerch) Also seeks a Credible Fear interview and will seek asylum.
Cerafino Perez Andres 18-27869MP (Atty Mary Kincaid) also a ‘humanitarian crisis’. (more than one child)
Abel Ramirez Nicolas 18-27891MP (Atty Isabel Amsel) (crying)I didn’t want this. There are lots of problems in my country.
Eliver Tomas Diaz 18-27898M (Atty David Valadez) dismissed
At one point Judge MacDonald asked if anyone from the Guatemalan Consulate’s office was in court—no. He also asked Mr. Lewis to ask ORR for information.
Daniel Jimenez Gonzalez 18-27885MP (Atty Cheryl Blum)Requests Credible Fear interview and will be seeking asylum.
Angel Rafael Gonzalez Esquivel 18-27805M (Atty Isabel Amsel) answered in English. With all the others he directed them to answer in Spanish but with this group he said,’all except Mr. Gonzalez.’
25 migrants were arrested near Sasabe and 25 near Lukeville, 12 near Nogales, 7 near Douglas and 1 near Naco. 11 people were arrested more than 5 days after they entered the Arizona Desert. 4 were not picked up until two weeks after entry.
56 people were sentenced to 3310 days of incarceration or about 9 years.
Lots of observers got to see this today. There was a large group from Longwood University in Virginia. Judge MacDonald talked to them for about 20 minutes after the long court session. He mainly explained Streamline and encouraged everyone to vote. Lois Martin was there with a reporter from the AZ Republic. Also there were a couple of U of A students and one GVS Samaritan, Katrina Schumacher
Addition from Lois Martin
(I was also at this hearing, along with AZ Republic reporter, Rafael Carranza. Yes, it was devastating! There was a lot of confusion and disorder mainly resulting from the number of parent/child separations as Katrina indicates here. I do have a couple of additions or elaborations.)
At least two of the separated parents had lost more than one child as the reference was to "children"--Fredy Orlando Perez-Gregorio and Cerafino Perez-Andres. Attorney Kincaid asked for information about the location of her client's child. MacDonald referred the question on to Prosecuting Attorney Lewis who explained the referral to ORR. When MacDonald asked Lewis to ask the ORR for specific location of a child, Lewis said "you can inquire, but you get no information." Several of the parents spoke in detail about their fears for their children in Guatemala. Several also specifically asked to be detained until they could be reunited with their children.
Credible fear of return to Guatemala was also mentioned by Attorney Isabel Amsel relative to her client, Abel Ramirez-Nicolas (parent crying). So far as I could tell none of the 3 credible fear defendants was given a petition, but MacDonald did enter it in their records. He also checked with the attorneys for reassurance that they had given their clients the information they needed relative to requesting asylum.
As Katrina mentioned, there were long periods of time between crossing and apprehension, especially for some Lukeville crossers--the worst part of the desert. Two of these men were out there 16 days, and one for 20 days!
Magistrate Judge Eric J. Markovich, Zachary Wiest Federal Prosecutor, 16 lawyers
Observers: 2 Norwegian journalists, a U of A student working on a project, one GVS Samaritan
65 migrants today including 5 women. 24 were charged only with a misdemeanor--illegal entry—1325 and 41 had the additional charge of illegal reentry, 1326—a felony. This judge does not mention country of origen so that only came up in conversations between the judge and a lawyer. 25 migrants were arrested near Sasabe, 12 near Lukeville, 8 near Nogales, 7 near Douglas and 3 near Naco. The others were not given. 12 people spent between 5 and 9 days in the desert before arrest. 6 people were dismissed at the start of the proceedings, 3 from each group, and another during the questioning.
Armando Anselmo Ramirez Vasquez 18-27621MP (Atty Maria Davila) entered with, and was separated from, his child who I believe is a young teenager. He said his uncle (or the child’s uncle) had agreed to take the child. Judge Markovich said he would put on the record an order that he be removed with the child—that they be removed together. Time served. They entered the U.S. 5 days before their arrest.
Adan Mendoza Perez 18-27616MP (Atty Paul Breshears), a Mam speaker from Guatemala, was dismissed but asking for asylum. His lawyer said this was on his record, he had spoken to him about the Florence Project and would contact them about his client. Mr. Mendoza was going to Eloy (?) to await a hearing.
Lurvin Marely Banegas Valle 18-27622MP (Atty Grace Goodman), a woman from Honduras, I believe had requested a credible fear interview and did not want to proceed. Time served.
Andres Sebastian Andres 18-27579M (Atty George Soltero) is a 21 year old limited-Spanish speaker from Guatemala. He was dismissed when he did not understand the questioning.
Jose Escobar Vindel 18-27628M (Atty Cheryl Blum) was continued to June 15 at 2:30 at the start.
Herlindo Diego 18-27612M (Atty George Soltero) is a limited-Spanish speaker from Guatemala. His plea was for 30 days and the judge and Mr. Wiest decided to ask for an interpreter when he seemed not to understand the questions.
Gerardo Quintero Cuevas 18-27532M (Atty Deirdre Mokos) needed his medication for diabetes. This was put on the record and the judge instructed him to ask for the medication when he got to his destination—30 days.
36 migrants were sentenced to 1785 days of incarceration. 22 people were given 30 days which means the crime they committed was entering the U.S. twice without going through a port of entry.
Magistrate Judge Lynnette C. Kimmins, Prosecutor Christopher Lewis and 17 defense lawyers, 1:30-4:20pm
There were 38 migrants charged with only illegal entry—1325 and 37 with the additional charge of reentry—1326. 4 were dismissed from each group. This judge does not give country of origin but there were many language issues and migrant concerns so many were identified as Guatemalan.
In the 1325 group there were at least 6 Guatemalans who had been arrested with their child/children. They were sent to detention and the child was in BP detention–not sure where. Apparently there had been talk that entering with a child gave you a better chance to stay but with Jeff Sessions that is not true at all. The lawyers were trying to figure out what they could do. A representative from the Guatemalan embassy had been there and talked to them. These people were very distraught, a couple spoke out about the fear they and their children felt. They were all given ‘time served’. The judge repeatedly explained that this was a criminal court, not an immigration court and she could do nothing.
The following Guatemalans crossed with a child or children. All were given 'time served'.
Cesar Augusto Garcia Garcia 18-26730MP—Atty David Valadez crossed with his 15 year old daughter and spoke to the court.
Herman Garcia Hernandez 18-26733MP—Atty Bert Vargas is a Mam speaker.
Moises Lopez Vaquez 18-26738MP—Atty Isabel Amsel.
Ninfa Lorena Gonzalez Escobar 18-26739MP—Atty Richard Bacal.
Rene Vidal Rivas Monzon 18-26740MP—Atty Cheryl Blum
Miguel Vasquez Aguilon 18-26742MP—Atty Patrick Doyle
I talked to lawyer Isabel Amsel after the proceeding and she said they (the lawyers?) think there are four main options.
Ask that the children be kept in custody until the parents are to be deported so they can go together.
Children may be held in foster care possibly with relatives here until deportation can be arranged.
The Embassy here can get a power of attorney from the parent designating someone in Guatemala who will receive the child at the airport (if a parent is still in Guatemala she/he can meet the child.)
Atty Amsel said most of this group were economic migrants. She said although Guatemala is a dangerous place that that alone does not qualify someone for asylum. Crime is not a sufficient reason—there needs to be persecution by the government.
Transito Aguilar Lopez (a woman) 18-26722MP—Atty Jessica Ruiz had credible fear but I didn’t see ant papers and am not sure whether her lawyer was putting it on the record or withdrawing it.
In this group there were a few who spoke Mam or another indigenous language.
3 people were ‘attempted’ entries at Nogales—one tried to jump the fence and another was a passenger in a car.
Two people needed medical help; one was on a medication and another Rolando Palacios Ramos 18-26741M had broken his knee and needed an operation. It must have been close to the time he was picked up on May 10 but they didn’t say what happened.
Gary Rosoff, the lawyer for Javier Antonio Manzanares Matote 18-26654M, put something fairly extensive on the record but I couldn’t hear him.
18 migrants were arrested near Nogales and 18 near Sasabe, 7 near Douglas, 6 near Lukeville and 1 near Naco. 17 were only given as Southern Arizona. 7 people had entered the country about 5 days befoe being picked up and on may have had 10 days in the desert.
The 33 people in the 1325/1326 group were sentenced to 2355 days of incarceration.
Most of this time will be served in private prisons.
The Supreme Court found against the shackling challenge today so we may soon see shackles back in court.
Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco, Federal Prosecutor Christopher Lewis, 16 defense attorneys,
4 Federal Marshals, 2 interpreters, a court recorder, bailiff, Mexican consul representative, and 3 assorted security.
Observers: 3 GV Sams, one Tucson Sam
75 migrants were on today’s calendar including 7 women. They were seen in 1 and ½ hours.
6 people were dismissed at the start of the proceeding—most likely for limited Spanish fluency but possibly for being under age or unable to understand the proceedings. One man was continued which may mean he had enough of a prior record to merit waiting for an interpreter.
Of the 68 people after the dismissals, 21 were from Guatemala, 4 from Honduras and 1 each from El Salvador and Nicaragua. 33 migrants were arrested near Sasabe, 12 near Nogales, 10 near Naco, 5 near Lukeville and 4 near Douglas—I missed a few. Most people were arrested in the previous 3 days, about 14 were picked up between 5-7 days ago and 2 had perhaps 2 weeks in the desert.
20 migrants were charged with only illegal entry 1325. This means that this is the first time they have been arrested entering though some people may have lived peacefully in the US for years. 3 of this group were dismissed and the others got ‘time served’.
Neftali Lopez Coronado 18-26288MP (Atty Ashley Gilpin) withdrew his request for a credible fear interview. This sometimes happens when people realize that they may have to stay incarcerated for an uncertain amount of time while waiting for a hearing.
Rony Alexis Cardenas Garcia 18-26296MP (Atty Joel Parris) from Honduras requested a credible fear interview. His attorney sent a letter to immigration and talked of some of the material from the Stop Streamline group.
In the 1325-1326 group—illegal entry with reentry—there were two concerns put on the record.
Omar Espinoza Marin 18-26311M (Atty David Valadez) is from Nicaragua. He is afraid of returning to Nicaragua and reprisal from the Nicaraguan government—30 days.
Juanita Ivania Tapia Cabrera 18-26314M (Atty Bert Vargas) from Mexico was injured in a fall toward the end of her journey which injured her abdominal area. It went on the record and the judge and lawyer urged her to ask for medical help when she arrives at her incarceration site—30 days.
This group was sentenced to 3180 days of incarceration or close to 9 years at a cost to taxpayers—including some of these migrants—of $511,980 for one day out of 4 in Tucson OS criminal court which represents one sector out of 9 sectors on the US/Mexican border.
DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court (1:30-3:05)
Magistrate: Jacqueline Rateau
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Lewis
Fifteen lawyers, 3 Marshalls, 1 Contract Marshall, 2 Border Patrol
Mexican Consulate representative
Samaritans: Sara Busey
Visitors: Adult group from Holy Trinity Cathedral in D.C. with Katie of Kino Border Initiative
Three migrants spoke:
“I am here because my family is in Phoenix.” (He received 180 days for multiple entries.)
“ I want to apologize to this great nation.”
“I am guilty and will never do it again.”
Three were dismissed due to a lack of interpreters. Only 8 were first time crossers who plead guilty and were dismissed into the custody of “Bureau of Prisons,” by Rateau. (I think she meant Border Patrol or ICE.) Two migrants had presented fraudulent documents at Douglas’ port of entry. All other crossed through the desert.
Magistrate Rateau has a unique process. She doesn’t tell each group of migrants who she is nor bid them good luck as they leave. She asks the first migrant in the group a question, then says “to you” to the next migrant. No mention was made of when and where they entered the US or what country they originally came from. “Sometime within the last week you crossed into Arizona without being inspected at a port of entry. Correct?”
No requests for asylum or medical treatment.
The 72 sentenced migrants collectively received 4245 days in mostly private prisons at a cost to you and me of $683,445.
- Sara Busey
The first members of the Caravan from Central America (known to us anyway) crossed the border in Nogales within the last few days. This Honduran family, including the mother, who is expecting, a 16 year old and a two year old, have been released until their court dates, at least partially thanks to a Letter of Support from The Good Shepherd UCC. We wish them very well.
Judge Leslie A. Bowman, 16 attorneys, Zachary Wiest Federal Prosecutor, 1:30-3:30
75 migrants including 5 women. 19 were charged only with illegal entry (1325) and either dismissed or given ‘time served’ and 54 people had the additional (felony) charge of illegal reentry (1326). This judge does not mention country of origin or the place of entry into the US. Most people were arrested within 0 to 3 days after the date they said they entered the US. 7 migrants were in the desert 5 days before arrest.
10 migrants were dismissed, 9 at the beginning ond one during the proceedings. Often this is a language issue usually for people being arrested for the first time. Today there was also one minor and one person who may have had reduced mental capacity.
Ernesto Quiroz 18-25895MP (Atty Micaela Portillo) has crossed many times and been picked up but appears not to understand at all though he speaks Spanish. The judge talked to him at length and told him he would be officially deported and not to return as he would risk jail time.
Dany Alexander Perez Rodriguez 18-25922MP (Atty Darlene Chavez) was seen with those being dismissed but was continued until May 8 at 11:00 with this judge. I don’t know why.
Samuel Rodrigo Perez Jeronimo 18-25913MP (Atty Grace Goodman) from Guatemala was afraid of returning home and asked for a credible fear interview. I believe the information in his file about his fear was incorrect. The judge said he must speak to immigration.
49 of those charged with 1325-1326 were sentenced to 2,560 days of incarceration at a cost to the taxpayers of $412,160—mostly going to private prisons. The reason we include these figures is to explain how the system works and dismay at the waste of money that might go far to addressing the underlying issues that drive migration. This figure does not include the perhaps greater court costs. Just here in Tucson we have the judge, 17 lawyers, 4 marshals, many Border Patrol, 2 interpreters, additional security. A bailiff and a court recorder, 4 days a week at least 51 weeks a year.
To continue with the plea bargains…
Atty Paul Breshears had two clients with asylum issues.
Sein Manuel Cruz Barahona 18-25865M was put on the record as having fear of returning home. I believe this was changing what was written there—60 days.
Alonzo Pascual Francisco 18-25904M had fear of returning to his home country but was (I think) also concerned about the long process and the likelihood of being incarcerated all that time. I think his lawyer related a previous contact with immigration but I could not hear well.
Two weeks ago Atty Richard Bacal had a client Ismael Suarez Chavez 18-25223M who had entered the US in 2013 and 4 family members were in court for him. Apparently he was a passenger in a car that ran a stop sign and was stopped by a sheriff. They called the Border Patrol and he was being deported.
DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court (1:30-3:50)
Magistrate: Leslie Bowman
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Lewis
Fifteen lawyers, 4 Marshals, 3 Border Patrol
Mexican Consulate representative
Samaritans: Sara Busey, Steve Teichner
Visitors: U of A pre-law student
This magistrate mentions neither country nor place of entry into the U.S. However, lawyers said there were an unusual number from Guatemala. There also were an unusual number of women (8), those who couldn’t understand and had to confer with their lawyers, and those who were out in the desert before being apprehended 2-4 days, several 8 days.
Of the 75 migrants, 17 were 1st time crossers who pled guilty and were released with a criminal record and returned to their countries. Four were dismissed due to lack of an interpreter, 1 held over to find an interpreter. One was found to have violated his supervised parole so will be tried on the felony charge. Two refused the plea bargain and also were rescheduled to be tried only on the felony charge. (They are looking at 2 years in prison if they fail their case.)
Asylum: Gilberto Enrique Monreal-Perez (18-25674M), lawyer Raul Miranda, asked for asylum. No indication he gave Gilberto a paper to request asylum and I couldn’t catch Miranda before he left court.
Some lawyers, especially Miranda and Lerch, make a point of telling the magistrate their client’s first language is not Spanish, but he appeared to understand. The magistrate then asked their client if this is true. Always, “yes.”
Altogether those sentenced will spend 3120 days in mostly private prisons at a cost to you and me of $502,320.