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!