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The Champion

April 2008 , Page 51 

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Inside NACDL: Responding to Operation Streamline

By Norman L. Reimer

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Who could possibly imagine the spectacle of 42 individuals brought into a U.S. district court, manacled at the ankles, wrists and waist, formally presented with criminal charges, entering guilty pleas and receiving sentence, all within one hour and eight minutes? Sound like fiction? Well, it’s not. It’s happening everyday in this country, and I can attest to it because I witnessed it in Tucson, Ariz.

“Operation Streamline” began in Del Rio, Texas, in December 2005. It has since been expanded to Laredo, Texas, and Arizona. The program consists of border patrol agents criminally prosecuting a small percentage of illegal border crossers — through an expedited procedure that brands 40 to 50 individuals a day in each participating jurisdiction with a federal misdemeanor conviction. Plans are already underway to increase this conviction assembly line to 100 a day. The idea is to make an irresistible offer to desperate people. Many of these people have risked thei

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