Magistrate: Bruce MacDonald
Federal Prosecutor: Mr. Wiest
15 CJA Lawyers, 2 Public Defenders
Mexican Consul Representative
Samaritans Attending: Sara Busey
Visitors: Group from School for International Training, VT
Forty-two of the 75 migrants were Mexican, according to the Mexican consul’s representative. MacDonald doesn’t state country of origin, but many others were probably from Guatemala. Twenty were first time crossers. One of those had his 1325 charge dropped and replaced with a 1326 felony. After MacDonald held a first-time appearance for him, Alexis Martinez-Esccuen’s (19-21855MP) lawyer Isabel Amsel said he had credible fear checked on one of his papers from Border Patrol.
Jose Luis Madldonado-Mendez (19-21898M) lawyer David Valadez, expressed a credible fear.
Six were dismissed at beginning of court due to lack of interpreters and 2 detained for Spanish interpreters.
Most received 30 days in prison for a total of 1575, although that is inaccurate as MacDonald forgot to state sentences for the first batch of 1326’s.
MacDonald’s Talk with Students
MacDonald said his major concern with OS is the parroting of other migrants’ answers to his questions. He depends on the lawyers to accurately assess each migrant’s Spanish comprehension prior to court.
He stressed that the court is an administrative branch just following what the legislative and executive branches task it to do, and urged the students to run for office to fix our broken immigration laws.
Three Lawyers’ Talk (No idea who invited them to attend. The school didn’t)
Blum, Amsel and Ruiz sat in on MacDonald’s talk and when he left they asked the students, “Is there anything you want to ask us now that the magistrate is gone?”
There weren’t many questions, but Blum especially spoke a long time on lots of topics:
“All lawyers call immigration to be sure their migrants had a credible fear interview.” (The 3 of them weren’t sure if that interview takes place at the Border Patrol station or at Eloy.) Blum also calls their parents unless the asylum seeker doesn’t want her to.
“Lawyers always ask, ‘Why did you come?’ Who are your relatives? These answers are not allowed during a jury trial.”
”We need more immigration judges.”
Few refuse a plea bargain as the wait for a trial is longer than the time they would spend in prison from an OS sentence.
Asylum: Must prove political persecution. Gang violence is not an acceptable reason for asylum unless the victim went to the police and they did nothing about it.
Blum stated that the US sending aid to Central American countries was a good thing. But felt not much would change there because their government is happy to have their countrymen go to the US to send back remittances.