Defendants prepare for trial, intend to enter “Not Guilty” plea
Tucson, AZ – On Wednesday, December 4 at 9 am, six individuals charged with blocking a federal entrance during the October 11 shut down of Operation Streamline were presented for their first court appearance before Magistrate Bowman at the DeConcini Federal Court House. The activists learned in court that they are charged with double misdemeanors of Disorderly Conduct and Failure to Follow Direction of Federal Police Officer, carrying a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine, 30 days in jail and five years’ probation. The Magistrate set the trial date for February 5, 2014 at 10 am.
On October 11, twenty-four local activists stopped the Operation Streamline proceedings, temporarily halting the fast-track mass criminal prosecution of immigrants. Under Streamline each day up to 70 immigrants are funneled through the court system, receiving a criminal sentence of up to six months’ in prison prior to being deported. Under the law, immigration violations are civil in nature, and prior to Streamline have not been prosecuted as a criminal violation. Criminal prosecution for ”illegal entry” and “illegal re-entry” have ballooned the prison population with non-violent offenders resulting in more than half of all those entering federal prisons being Latino.