DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court (1:30-3:00)
Magistrate: Bruce MacDonald
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Lewis
Two Public Defenders
Samaritans: Catherine & David Colby, Linda Rogers, Tessa Reed (Peg Bowden’s cousin), Sara
Visitors: Two groups of college students from Boston College & Ganzaga U. (Spokane WA)
A very long court session today. Many, both first time crossers and re-entry ones, had trouble understanding the magistrate’s questions. MacDonald took care to re-phrase and/or have the migrant confer again with his lawyer and finally they answered his questions “correctly.”
Of the 73 migrants, 3 were dismissed due to lack of interpreters and 2 had cases continued. There were 34 first time crossers, all of whom pleaded guilty to crossing without proper papers; and 39 re-entry cases, none of whom declined to sign a plea agreement. Most crossed near Sasabe in an area near or on the Tohono o’odham Indian reservation. No wall exists there, but there is a barrier and it is patrolled by Border Patrol.
Credible Fear: Herlinda Gozez-Ramirez (18-20302MP) expressed a fear of returning to Guatemala, partly because her brother had disappeared and she hadn’t heard from him in over a year. She will, however, be sent back unless someone intervenes quickly because after OS court, first time crossers are immediately deported. Her lawyer Bert Vargas spoke into the record about this. He also said she is a Mam speaker and didn’t seem to understand legal concepts, but did specific Spanish words.
The 36 sentenced re-entry migrants will spend a total of 2885 days in mostly private prisons at a cost to you and me of $464,485.