DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court (1:30-3:40)
Magistrate: D. Thomas Ferraro
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Lewis
Two Public Defenders
Samaritans: Sara Busey
Visitors: U of A student
Almost half of the 75 migrants were first time crossers. An overwhelming number were from Mexico, with 15 from Guatemala, and 2 from Honduras. The magistrate explained the maximum prison time they could get was 6 months, but, after they plead guilty, he excused all with “time served without prejudice” to return to their countries.
One migrant answered Farraro’s questions with, “I want to leave.” Another, a Mam speaker from Guatemala, also said he wanted to return to his family in order to support them. He only came he said because of poverty. Two migrants admitted to providing false documents at Nogales port of entry rather than cross in the desert.
Mary Kincaid, federal public defender, reported her client, Isai Murillo-Raudales (18-22005M) had a medical problem. Ferraro instructed him to tell that to the agents when he gets to prison, but to also fill out paper work to that effect to be sure his needs are attended to. Isai thanked him. “God bless all of you here.”
Ranferi Morales (18-22007M) requested asylum. An earthquake in Guatemala destroyed Morales’ home and worldly possessions. Speaking with his lawyer Raul Miranda after court, I discovered that on January 31st Ranferi crossed the border with his wife and children. She received an asylum interview and is now staying with Ranferi’s brother in Florida awaiting her court date. Ranferi, on the other hand, was deported. On February 10, he attempted to cross again, was caught and sent to Streamline where he requested asylum. Miranda said he noted that in the court’s minute entry.
Two migrants had their felony charges dropped. Saul Mazahua-Garcia (18-22020M) is now 18, but during a prior crossing fudged his age to Border Patrol. Since he wasn’t 18 then, his conviction was invalidated and this time was given time served as a 1st time crosser.
The government could not prove Octavio Ortiz-Canaies’ was deported after his 1st crossing. Prosecutor Lewis had to drop the felony charge of re-entry and Octavio was given time served after he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor. Another lucky one.
Prior to court, I was able to help a family find the lawyer of someone who had been picked up at the Border Patrol checkpoint. When they didn’t find their migrant’s name on the OS roster, I suggested they check with the Courthouse clerk.
All together, the 40 migrants who were sentenced will serve 2615 days in mostly private prisons at a cost to US taxpayers of $423,625.