Magistrate Bruce MacDonald
Samaritans: Sara Busey
Visitors: Lois Martin from No More Deaths with a young man and women who volunteer at No More Deaths camp.
With a new sound system installed this summer, we heard quite clearly Magistrate MacDonald explain their rights to the 40 migrants arranged before him this afternoon.
What we didn’t hear were their stories: who had wandered for days in the hot, unforgiving desert; who had lived in the U.S. for years and was seeking to return to their family; who had experienced robbers, brutal police or threatening drug dealers in his months long trek from the dangerous Northern Triangle; who was seeking work to feed his family back home or pay for medical treatment for a child.
We had heard these stores before. But today all defendants sat quietly. Defense lawyer Margarita Bernal mentioned that Celestino Ambrocio-Perez (16-29457M) had a medical problem and MacDonald encouraged the young man to tell the marshals and prison officials, calling his lawyer if care wasn’t provided. Another explained his client’s first language wasn’t Spanish, but he seemed to understand the proceedings. Several requested prions in specific places and MacDonald said he would recommend these. He explained each migrant had the right to contact his home country consulate to notify his family he had been arrested. Some countries with treaties with the U.S. would automatically contact them.
Almost all were caught near Sasabe within the past few days. Several crossed near Douglas, one each near Naco, Nogales and Lukeville. (A full moon increased crossings, according to the No More Deaths folks, and brought 15 migrants to their camp.) They collectively will spend 2025 days in prison at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $326,025.