Magistrate Bernardo Velasco
Samaritans: Sara Busey, Barbara Wells
The migrants had arrived that morning from the Border Patrol detention center at Gulf and Swan Street where they had been kept briefly since being caught. After meeting with their lawyers and having lunch, they waited, shackled, for criminal court to begin at 1:30.
Magistrate Velasco sentenced the 54 migrants in 40 minutes. Of the 6 women and 48 men, none spoke in the 45 seconds each spent before the bench. Three were dismissed “without prejudice” to be returned to their country, because they couldn’t understand English or Spanish and no interpreters were available in their language.
The migrants will collectively spend 3090 days in prison at a cost to taxpayers of $497,490.
Two men were from Honduras, eight from Guatemala and the rest from Mexico. Many had specific prison/location requests which the prisons may or may not honor.
Velasco spoke with us after court. He guessed 25% of the 200 currently apprehended each day in the Tucson Sector are processed in Streamline. Previously, when over 1000/day were caught, a much lower percentage ended up at OS. How are migrants chosen for OS? We don’t know.
What happens to the rest? Some are immediately returned to Mexico or flown to Central American countries through an “expedited removal,” process, others to criminal court for more serious charges that can result in 2,10, or 20 year sentences.