April 20, 2016
Magistrate Leslie A. Bowman
Federal Prosecutor Eric McNeils
Samaritans Attending: Monte and Linda Rogers, Sara Busey
Others: Annie from D.C. and No More Deaths, a group from Boston Catholic Memorial High School led by Peace Links, a Spanish speaking women apparently there for a relative or friend’s sentencing.
Three of the 50 male migrants were excused. Eleuterio Hernandez-Vasquez (16-23735M0 had his hearing rescheduled in two weeks at which time the court will bring in an interpreter who speaks his indigenous language.
Magistrate Bowman stated neither the migrants’ country of origin nor where they crossed into Arizona from Mexico. However, Attorney Zapata did say his client Oscar Geovanny Galdamez-Villegas (16-23742M) was from El Salvador. Oscar had asked for asylum and Zapata said he had explained that Oscar must first serve his prison sentence of 30 days. He was, however, in the process of filling out paper work for asylum.
Sentences seemed light: a total of 2965 days in prison for the 46 migrants sentenced. Often only 30 days are given to Central and South American migrants so many of them may have come from there. Also, the cost to US taxpayers seemed lower than usual: $477,365.
Magistrate Bowman told all migrants that they have the right to have their consulate notify their families that they have been arrested. (Will it also say what prison they will serve in and for how long?)
Very few relatives or friends of migrants have been in the visitor section this winter, but today a Spanish speaking women sat with lawyer Goodman throughout the proceedings, leaving only after Goodman stood before the judge with an older male migrant who had looked back at the woman several times. He received one of two maximum180 day sentences. (Was the stiff sentence for reentering multiple times? Was he returning to his family?)
Annie, a young high school graduate from D.C. attended OS on a recommendation from No More Deaths. She is taking a year off before attending Yale in the fall, learning all she can about the Border. Next month she plans to spend it at the Bird No More Deaths Camp.