DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court (1:30-2:50)
Magistrate: Bernardo Velasco
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Lewis
Samaritans: Sara Busey
Visitors: Graduate students from Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, OK, led by Humane Borders
Of the 75 migrants, 22 were first time crossers. Five were excused to return to their countries and 1 held over to obtain an interpreter for him.
No asylum claims nor medical issues. At least ½ were from Mexico, 13 from Guatemala, 11 from Honduras. The overwhelming point of entry was near Sasebe. All entered via the desert except one who attempted entry at the port of Nogales. Noe Guerrero-Cruz (18-23867M) was tried alone at the end in chains. The magistrate said he had been fighting with other inmates.
All together the 53 convicted re-entry migrants will spend 3240 days in mostly private prisons costing you and me $521,640.
Magistrate Velasco spoke to the Phillips folks after court.
Q. Who decides how much time a migrant receives in prison?
A. The Border Patrol has prosecutorial discretion to charge or not and where.
Q. Are you a judge?
A. No, a magistrate, who is appointed by the District Court Judge for 8 years.
Q. How many of today’s migrants came across to be re-united with their American families, to work, or to flee the consequences of Global Warming, i.e. drought?
A. If they come for families they also come to work. A great migration will be coming in the future due to competition for water resources.
Q. If an undocumented man has lived in Tucson for 20 years and picked up, will he be tried in Streamline?
A. (Mr. Lewis: The statute of limitations runs out in 5 years for 1st time entry, so if he crossed once, no. If he re-entered in that 20 years, he can be tried as the charges accumulate for every day in the US.)
Q. What would an improved immigration program look like?
A. Think about the facts that we like cheap labor and low agricultural prices, how workers want to go back and forth to Mexico. All those issues need to be addressed.
Q. Does only Border Patrol operate within the 100 miles from the border, or does ICE also?
A. Didn’t answer.