Freedom Folks

Monday, January 29, 2007

Welcome To Babel!

Source: Arizona Republic
Language barrier stings prosecutors

The three men gave brief, sometimes- disjointed statements to officers. Then they entered a courtroom where a judge entered a plea of not guilty on their behalf. That was nearly a year ago. Since then, the three human-smuggling suspects have sat in jail while attorneys and court staff try to figure out what language they speak.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that the charges against the men will be dropped if the courts can’t find someone to translate trial proceedings into the men’s indigenous languages by Feb. 14.

It would be another blow to Attorney General Terry Goddard’s plan to target smugglers by investigating their wire transfers.

Earlier this month, Western Union got a different judge to partly halt the program, citing constitutional issues.The case against the three men appears solid.

On March 6, investigators followed two vans leaving a Western Union office in Mesa that is known to be used by smugglers. Those vans went to a Wal-Mart parking lot.

When officers approached the vans, according to a Department of Public Safety report, one of the drivers, Roberto Santis-Lopez, fought briefly with officers before he was handcuffed.

Another person in one of the vans directed officers to a nearby apartment complex. There, inside two units, officers found 63 undocumented immigrants, mostly from the Mexican state of Chiapas. According to the report, their smuggling value was $113,400.

Miguel Gomez-Santis answered the door of the first apartment. Andreas Aguilar-Sanchez was hiding in the shower of the second apartment. Police suspected the two were smugglers because their clothing was clean, while the immigrants’ attire was dirty. Immigrants also described the men as having free run of the apartment and watching television.

But almost immediately, the language barrier showed itself. Transcripts of initial interviews with the men show they gave odd and unresponsive answers to the Spanish-language questions posed by officers.
Know what works in any language?


H/T immigration watchdog

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

powered by performancing firefox