Hear Them Ring: Operation Streamline and the Future of Our Courts

Upon entering, the room was filled, like a Christmas carol, with the jingling of shackles.  Were it a song, it’s chorus, more haunting than catchy, “are you an alien?”And as a choral, 11 men being charged simultaneously, “yes your honor” with a line of defense attorneys like a baritone backrow “no questions your honor.”

As if those who come from those who emerged from this soil, whose stomachs are filled with the corn nourished in this valley since long before the arrival of the Niña or Pinta, have less claim to this land than the Baltic fair skinned judge asking if they understand.


70 defendants an hour. Guilty pleas. For entry on land that’s been claimed by the United States for barely 150 years but whose peoples’ claim dates to time immemorial.

Streamline. Because, according to the judge who spoke with us afterwards, the hospitals and schools complain of the cost of services but not of incarceration and the descendent of who the courtroom is named after, coincidentally, is a shareholder in the private prison that will cage these migrating people.


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