DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court (1:30-3:00)
Magistrate: Thomas Ferraro
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Lewis
Fifteen lawyers, 4 Marshals, 3 Border Patrol
Samaritans: Sara Busey, Steve Teichner
Visitors: UU Community of Schenectady, NY high school group; Tucson Samaritans Lois Martin, the Peter Hirschmans
A full house today with 75 migrants. Nineteen were first time crossers and six were dismissed due to a lack of translators, Most crossed near Sasabe, but some also near Lukeville. Over half were Mexican, fifteen Guatemalan and two from Honduras. Although the number of migrants crossing is way down, this time of the year usually sees an up tick. (Lawyer Anderson before court, said they had discussed increasing the number from 75-150 in OS, but didn’t have the personnel.)
No one expressed “credible fear,” medical or Border Patrol problems. No one spoke up nor did their lawyers. Of the 49 sentenced, they will collectively spend 3495 days in mostly private prisons at an expense to us taxpayers of $562,695.
Magistrate Ferraro seemed rushed at times. He got a few migrants out of order, called one who he had already dealt with and forgot to always give the country of origin or place of crossing. He asked a question and then went down the line only saying each migrant’s name as they are expected to remember the question.
After court Ferraro spoke with the high school group. I could not hear their questions, but summarize below what the magistrate responded.
Ferraro said he has been a federal prosecutor since 1985, spending the last 10 years as a judge and “nothing has changed.” He began practicing in San Diego when thousands of migrants would flood across the border each day and melt into the US. Later a wall there pushed migrants into the dangerous Arizona desert. Today he handles cases where more defendants have zero education than high school graduation, many only 6th grade schooling. He admitted the legal concepts and language are impediments to understanding (How many Americans would understand?) but that the migrants just want to know what will happen to them.
Ferraro didn’t know the daily cost of OS, but said, “it’s cheaper than without OS.”
“What changes would you make to OS?” “Is it effective in deterring crossers?”
Ferraro responded, “I don’t handle politics. I can’t do anything. Contact your Congressman.”