A reflection by Jacob Tressel:
For me, the experience of witnessing the mass hearings of Operation Streamline was dehumanizing. It made me feel subhuman to watch other people being treated as subhuman. The defendants were all in chains and were still wearing the cloths that they had been apprehended in. Some of the lawyers and border patrol officers would sanitize their hands after touching or shaking hands with the defendants. It was all very formal and not compassionate.
The primary language spoken by all of today’s defendants is Spanish, so a translator was necessary to translate what the judge was saying, as well as what the defendants were saying. One thing that really stood out to me as I listened was that the translator would repeat the word “no” after the defendants had used the word “no” to respond to a question. This stuck out to me because “no” is the same in English and Spanish, and the judge obviously understood that the defendants were saying “no.”
To me, this action illustrated the “us and them” mentality that drove our country to the point of instituting mass hearings to criminalize and more efficiently transition immigrants to private prisons rather than deport large number of undocumented immigrants. Rather than focus on the commonalities of English and Spanish, the court officials created a divide in something that is shared… the word no. Which is exactly how we are treating the borderlands; as something that can be divided but is shared in nature.
Monday, March 13th
8:30am: Talk with Colibri
10:30am: Chat with representative of End Streamline Coalition
11:30am: Operation Stream Line(OSL) Documentation Training
12:45pm: Walk to OSL
1:30pm: Operation Streamline
3:30pm: Meeting with Immigration Attorney
The Colibrí Center for Human Rights is a family advocacy nonprofit based in Tucson, Arizona. “We work with families, forensic scientists and humanitarians to end migrant death and related suffering on the U.S.-Mexico border. Our work approaches the crisis on the border through a human rights perspective, focusing on three main program areas: The Missing Migrant Project, DNA Program, Red de Familiares” – www.colibricenter.org
“Every day in the Evo A. DeConcini Federal Courthouse in Tucson, Arizona, 70 immigrants are convicted as criminals and sentenced to 30-180 days in federal detention prior to being deported. The End Streamline Coalition is a group of organizations, community groups, and individuals who are working to end this mass criminalization and deportation of our immigrant sisters and brothers.” – https://afscarizona.org/resources/partners/end-streamline-coalition/
Operation Streamline is a federal court preceding that happens every weekday at the Federal District Court in Tucson, where up to 70 immigrants receive prison sentences in Operation Streamline. Charged with the felony of “re-entry after deportation” and the misdemeanor of “illegal entry,” they are offered a plea bargain by which they plead “guilty” and agree to a prison sentence for the misdemeanor, in exchange for dropping the felony charge. Sentences range from 30 to 180 days after which they will be deported and, by having a criminal record, barred from re-entry into the US.