DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court (1:30-3:00)
Magistrate Leslie Bowman
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Christopher Lewis
Samaritans: Sara Busey
Visitors: Fredrik Kalstiert, a Norwegian journalist on border story assignment; Jessica Garcia, a No More Deaths volunteer from the Olympic Peninsula, WA.
Today was notable for what didn’t happen. No requests for asylum nor reduced sentences; no complaints about Border Patrol mistreatments; no requests for medical attention; no mention of migrants’ country of origin nor where they crossed into the U.S, nor the attorney of each migrant by Magistrate Bowman.
A bit of bittersweet levity, though. When asked if he was a U.S. citizen, Arnulfo Rosales-Martinez, in perfect English, replied, “Sadly, I am not. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
Twenty-nine of the 71 detained were first time crossers, an unusually high number. All will be returned to their country of origin with a criminal misdemeanor on their record. Of the first 9 migrants, all but one crossed at a port of entry. Curious, I asked Federal Prosecutor Lewis what Bowman meant by that. “Not a great number, but increasingly migrants are using fake ID’s to cross at a port or even dashing through security there. Department of Homeland Security has chosen to prosecute them for 1325 (crossing without proper papers) rather than for fraudulent ID’s, “ Lewis explained.
Of the 71 before the court today, 7 were dismissed due to lack of English or Spanish. Still, of those remaining, three couldn’t understand Bowman’s questions and sat down with their lawyer for further instruction. Two lawyers failed to join their client at the bar and had to be called up to represent them.
Migrants today will spend a total of 2550 days in prison and you and I as taxpayers will pay $410,550 to keep them there.
- Sara Busey