TUCSON — “My record is 30 minutes,” Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco of Federal District Court here said one afternoon, describing the speed with which he had sealed the fates of 70 migrants caught sneaking into the country. Each of the accused had 25 seconds, give or take, to hear the charges against him, enter a plea and receive a sentence.
This is a part of the battle against illegal immigration that many Americans have never heard of. Known as Operation Streamline, it is the core of a federal program that operates in three border states, using prosecution and imprisonment as a front-line deterrent to people who try to cross the border illegally. It is part of a broader strategy of increasing the consequences for people who break immigration laws.