12 Immigration Activists Found Guilty in Arizona

12 Immigration Activists Found Guilty in Arizona

On Tuesday, an Arizona judge found 12 immigration activists guilty of public nuisance and obstructing a highway; they face a maximum penalty of four months in jail.

The charges stem from a 2013 protest where they stopped buses carrying immigrants who were headed for the federal government’s fast-track immigration court: Operation Streamline.

At first, each activist was charged with four to seven misdemeanors for a protest that occurred in October of 2013. The activists stopped two busses that where carrying 70 immigrants en route to the U.S. District Court in Tucson.

The protestors wanted to draw attention to Operation Streamline, a federal program that charges illegal immigrants with crimes for illegally entering the United States, and processes them en mass.

The protestors argue that the program violates immigrants’ civil rights, while the other side contends that the Streamline is reducing recidivism for illegal entry.

On Oct. 11, 2013, the activists stopped the buses, and chained themselves to the front wheels. They used pipe called a “dragon sleeve,” and covered their arms with it, making it virtually impossible for police to break the groups of three apart.

After five hours, the police were able to cut away the plastic pipes with power tools. While the protestors succeeded in stopping the Streamline court for a day, nearly 70 immigrants were deported by that weekend.

A total of 18 people were arrested during the protest, 16 of which were charged. Two of the defendants accepted plea deals, and two more could be facing criminal charges.

Judge Susan Bascal found the protestors not guilty of resisting arrest; she dismissed four charges, including criminal trespass, obstructing a government order, disorderly conduct, and hindering prosecution.

The protestors’ sentencing hearing will be sometime in July.

Last month, U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake introduced a resolution seeking to continue Operation Streamline along the Tucson and Yuma Border, while demanding that the White House removes any order to cease the prosecution of first-time border crossers under Operation Streamline.

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If you, or someone you love is a non-U.S. citizen facing criminal charges, contact a Plano immigration attorney from the Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC for help! Call (888) 493-6529 for a case evaluation.