Operation Streamline by Jessye Weinstein Operation Streamline, a taxpayer-funded Department of Homeland Security program, began in December 2006 as a measure to deter undocumented immigration. The way it works in theory is that undocumented migrants who are found in specific enforcement zones face immediate prosecution for up to six months in jail, and upon completion of their sentence, are formally deported with a newly developed criminal record. It is assumed that with this official finger wagging they will get the idea and never again attempt at illegal entry. The way it works in practice is slightly different. Every single day of the week, a room on the second floor of the Tucson Courthouse fills with people. The day I observed the proceedings there were 76 migrants with ten public defenders to represent their cases. Some of the public defenders had difficulty pronouncing their clients names, and one hadnt even shown up that day, forcing his eight clients to be assigned on the spot to a new lawyer they had never before spoken to. The men and women wore shackles around their wrists and ankles, and when called forward were forced to make their way as best they could to the front of the court. I say as best they could because a combination of leg chains and shoes without shoelaces (standard safety precaution) makes walking quite difficult. Many migrants get detained in the desert, are processed and sent straight to court. It became clear from the way that many limped that there were still blisters and sprains that had not been attended to properly. One man on crutches had to ask for a wheelchair to bring him forward because his various shackles did not permit him use of his crutch. The judge tore through the line of men and women. Are you guilty of illegally entering into the United States? One by one guilt was admitted. At the end of each round the judge would pause to ask if anyone had anything they would like to say. One woman stepped forward, allowing her voice to break only once as she spoke. There was a moment of silence as the translator turned to address the judge, Please forgive me for having entered into your country. I only came because my two children are here and they need me. Securing our nations borders from a potential terrorist threat and from the illegal entry of people, weapons and drugs is absolutely paramount. David Aguilar, Chief of Border Patrol. At the end of the two-hour court hearing, all 76 had been sentenced, and in a single-file line they exited through a side door of the courtroom. The same proceedings happened yesterday, and the same will happen tomorrow and the day after.