Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco (final week on the job), Federal Prosecutor Greg Martin, 15 defense attorneys (2 FDPs), 4 U.S. Marshals, 2 interpreters, Mexican Consulate Rep, a few other court and security personnel
There were 75 migrants/refugees/undocumented U.S. residents on the docket today including 5 women. Judge V. is the only judge who gives all the stats. 44 migrants were from Mexico, 16 from Guatemala, 11 from Honduras and 1 from Ecuador. From west to east, 21 people were arrested near Lukeville, 19 near Sasabe, 16 near Nogales, 6 near Naco and 8 near Douglas. 50 people were arrested the day they entered Arizona, 3 people were picked up 5 to 7 days after entering through the Arizona desert.
44 defendants were charged only with the misdemeanor of Illegal Entry—1325. 3 of those were dismissed probably because their primary language was not Spanish and the charge was not serious enough to warrant getting an interpreter. 6 lawyers put a Credible Fear Interview request on the record some with the judge prompting them to do this.
Miguel Angel Lemus Lima 1924807MP (Atty Bert Vargas) from Guatemala is seeking political asylum.
Oscar Rolando Martinez Vasquez 19-24814MP (Atty Myrna Beards) from Honduras is seeking a CFI.
Marvin Geovany Vail Juarez 19-24824MP (Atty David Maldonado) from Guatemala is an asylum seeker.
Melvin Gustavo Galea Reyes 19-24826MP (Atty Alejandro Muñoz) from Honduras is asking for a CFI.
Carlos Simbaina Guaman 19-24847MP (Atty Natalie Haywood) from Ecuador will ask for a CFI.
Luis Abdulio Bonilla Navarrete 19-24848MP (Atty Elizabeth Lopez) from Honduras is seeking asylum.
One from 1325/1326 group
Walter Adonis Escobar Hernandez 19-24867M (Atty Peter Raptis) from Guatemala. His I 213 is wrong. He does have a fear of return to Guatemala.
None of the lawyers elaborated on the request other than the comment about political asylum and Judge Velasco asked some if they wanted to put these CFI requests which he had on the paperwork in front of him on the record.
The 31 migrants with the additional felony charge of Illegal Re-entry after Removal were sentenced to 1755 days of incarceration, most likely in a Core Civic private prison. That’s almost 5 years of loss of income and support for many families and at $161 per day, $282,000 of our tax dollars at work.
Observers/Visitors; Lois Martin, No More Deaths, with a group of about 25 students and Joanna Williams, Kino Border Initiative, with a group from Fordham University. One GV Sam.
Judge Velasco came to talk to the group as is his custom. Many of the Fordham students were from out of the country and he related the record keeping on the migrants to what happens to people with visas in the U.S.
He talked of the fingerprinting of migrants. Our record keeping is better now and the government can keep track of people.
He spoke of the difference between Federal Criminal custody (Streamline) and Civil Custody where CFI requests were processed.
He talked of the American desire for cheap labor which is much cheaper if it is illegal. One student on a student visa asked about legal entrance for people from Central America. Judge V said we don’t want poor, uneducated people; it’s not the same as being a poor student on a student visa.
On the differing goals of Streamline; Bush—Prosecuting criminals, Obama—Showing Congress that we are securing the border so that they will pass immigration reform, Trump????? (He didn’t finish the thought or I didn’t hear it).
Judge Velasco is known to be the fastest judge in Tucson. Today he saw 75 defendants from plea to sentencing in 50 minutes.
He does not address the lawyers as a group but with each group of 8 he asks if their lawyers think the plea is correct.
He sees people in groups of 8. He informs the group very briefly of their rights etc. Then he asks each individual two compound questions—Do you understand your rights, the consequences of conviction and do you want to give up the right to a trial and enter a plea of guilty? And—Are you a citizen of____ and on ____did you enter the United States near____?
It does not bother him if a defendant says ‘Yes’ instead of ‘Sí’ as it does some judges and he does not do extensive questioning for comprehension if the lawyer puts another language on the record.
He does give us information on where a migrant is from and when and where s/he entered Arizona. He also repeatedly asks for questions or comments and even prompts lawyers to put things on the record.
I will miss his question and answer talks to groups of observers.