What would you consider a good reason to send a dozen armed police into a family home, arrest everyone age 11 to 60 and throw them in prison?
According to our source at the Dallas Federal Courthouse today, the reason turns out to be that the federal government claims it sent a letter to the father of the family asking him for a meeting to discuss his immigration status.
The federal magistrate judge presiding over the hearing asked if the feds sent the letter to everyone in the family? No, the letter was sent to the father only. Could the feds prove that they actually sent the letter to Radi Hazahza? No they could not.
“So this is why 15 people came with assault weapons into the Hazahza home, sticking gun barrels to their heads, arresting them and sending them to prison?” asks Jay Johnson-Castro, who stood vigil outside the Dallas federal courthouse Thursday morning.
He says courtroom observers described the magistrate as very distraught about the government’s case. The magistrate assured the US Attorney that if the Hazahzas lingered in prison past the six-month mark, the US Attorney would find himself ordered back to court to explain.
With about five weeks left until the six-month limit expires, some of the courthouse observers were hoping for an earlier release of the four Hazahzas who remain in the Rolling Plains prison of Haskell, Texas. Two of the Hazahzas were released from the T. Don Hutto prison earlier this year.
“If they keep the Hazahzas another month, that’s another seven-thousand-dollars per person that the prison camp gets to collect,” said Johnson-Castro in response to the day’s legal event.
“Everybody’s in agreement that what the US is doing is not legal,” he says. “The US Attorneys don’t want to defend the legality of these actions. But if what they are doing is not legal, then it’s illegal.”
Apparently one legal consequence of keeping this case at the level of “distraught magistrate” on Thursday is to evade an outright ruling by a federal judge, which would not be kind to this recent exercise of federal power. So why not free the Hazahzas on Friday?–gm