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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Operation Streamline Shutdown: Si preguntan porque? – If they ask why?

Lupe Castillo holding it down in front of Tucson's Federal Courthouse

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

Scouring media outlets nationwide, it is evident that Operation Streamline – which was shut down by human rights activists on Oct 11 in Tucson – remains “America’s dirty little secret.”

One of the media outlets reporting on this unprecedented action – which included blocking the entrance to the federal courthouse’s parking lot – plus the disabling of two immigration buses – elicited this response from readers:

“They should be shot on site.”

“Just run them over.”

While many will decry this wanton display of inhumanity – the lens should not be cast on these types of dehumanized bigots. The problem with this nation’s immigration system is not the crypto-fascists outside of government. The problem isn’t even extreme right-wing Tea Party Republicans (am I repeating myself?). Instead, in this case, it should be focused on the operation itself. While the Bush administration created it, the operation belongs to the Obama administration.

The first question people should ask is: why does this operation even exist?

Make no mistake; Operation Streamline is the judicial equivalent of torture and political violence… but with a profit motive. I’ve said it before and will say it again: not even in apartheid South Africa did that nation have a similar daily operation, masquerading as a judicial procedure. And yet, here, in the supposed freest and most democratic country in the world, this sham court proceeding not only continues to exist, but as proposed in the current comprehensive immigration bill, it is slated to triple in size and budget.

The private prison industry is dancing in the streets on this one. It is the benefactor of this 90-minute court proceeding that sees between 60-70 brown prisoners per day, tried, convicted, sentenced and shipped off to a private prison.

I believe that the only reason this operation continues to exist is because most Americans are unaware of its actual existence and most importantly,  because most Americans have not been inside one of these courtrooms to witness this complete abomination and mockery of justice.

To not rehash a description of what goes on inside this operation, please read: Operation Streamline: Expedited Indian Removal (

Suffice to say that people took the extraordinary step – worthwhile of a Hollywood action movie – to “commandeer” two migra buses… on their way from the INS detention facility across town to the courtroom – and to blockade the entrance to Tucson’s federal courthouse parking lot. Both actions prevented the buses from entering the courthouse, causing the operation to be shut down for the day. 

Everyone that took part in the shutdown understood that there could be consequences, yet that was not deterrence. As a result, 24 protestors were arrested on an assortment of charges, with 12 being charged with felony interference with prosecution.

The media has yet to understand why people were willing to take that risk and seem to believe that it was about shutting it down for a day. The truth is, most of us who have ever stepped inside one of these sham proceedings want it shut down permanently. Yesterday.

Media coverage of this event generally has reported about the daring exploits of the protestors… but they have not actually asked about those being transported. They have not written or spoken about what happens inside the courtroom, precisely because they have not been inside this onerous courtroom.

In speaking with a good friend, she noted that the president himself – who is a constitutional lawyer – has himself never been inside this operation. Enough said.

I believe that an invitation is in order.

“Dear President Obama… Dear First Lady Michelle Obama…

You are hereby invited to sit through one entire proceeding of Operation Streamline in Tucson. You give us the date, and we will greet you. It is always at 1:30 pm. We have little doubts that both of you… and please bring your daughters too, will be convinced that this is one operation that should not exist anywhere in this country. It should not exist in any country. I will guarantee that one of you will leave crying and one of you will get very angry. Your daughters will probably be hurt the most because they will not be able to believe that such a court proceeding – which is 100% racially based – resembling a judicial version of Indian Removal – takes place in a land that preaches justice for all.

But President and First Lady Obama… please, don’t simply issue a decree instructing the courts to remove their chains. You should do that… but more important is that such an expedited procedure should come to an immediate halt.

And while you are at it, also please visit the morgue where the remains of migrants are stored and also, please visit the militarized border. Also, please visit the children, the spouses and loved ones who continue to be separated by your policies.

Dear President and First Lady Obama, some things in life are worth dying for or going to jail for. This is one of them.

But as we say in Arizona: some things in life are worth living for…peace, freedom and human dignity. And these are certainly worth living for.

For more info, go to: 

Rodriguez can be reached at: -

 * Because of the crisis situation, this story can be printed, posted, shared, etc, no permission required.

* Lupe Castillo was at center of a large protest/uprising May 3, 2011 at TUSD Headquarters in the struggle over Raza Studies


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