- Most of the workers did not understand the criminal charges they faced.
- Workers didn't understand the rights they were waiving.
- The rapid pace of the proceedings was remarkable.
- Prosecutors upped the ante in a highly unusual way by pressing criminal charges instead of deporting the workers immediately for immigration violations.
- Defense lawyers had little time or privacy to meet with their court-assigned clients in the first hectic days after the raid.
- Most of the Guatemalans could not read or write. Most did not understand that they were in criminal court.
Professor Camayd-Freixas, who is the director of a program to train language interpreters at Florida International University, has stirred controversy among legal interpreters because of his "highly unusual" stance here. He may be called to testify before the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee. What a heroic act: to courageously call this kangaroo court process into question.
I urge you to watch the video on the Times site in which the Professor cogently explains the travesty. The post-ICE raid legal processing is a direct result of the Patriot Act, he says.Taking shortcuts with justice in this case against undocumented workers in this country is another slip taking us further down the slippery slope. Eventually it may well affect citizens like you and me.
Please go to the site of the Times article and watch the video (I can't embed here) while the link still works. The Professor's testimony is convincing, his empathy is unmistakable. How rare and wonderful to experience a hero in action!
First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.
--Pastor Martin Niemöller, about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.
Photo credit: NY Times--"Erik Camayd-Freixas is a certified Spanish interpreter."