Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: Immigration Activist Speaks Out as Trump Administration Forces Asylum-Seekers To Attend In-Person Hearings or Face Deportation During Coronavirus Outbreak
Press Release

RELEASE: Immigration Activist Speaks Out as Trump Administration Forces Asylum-Seekers To Attend In-Person Hearings or Face Deportation During Coronavirus Outbreak

Washington, D.C. — A new lawsuit filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia calls for the Trump administration to stop forcing asylum-seekers and their attorneys to attend in-person immigration hearings at the threat of deportation, amid safety concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, which, to date, has infected more than 200,000 Americans and claimed the lives of more than 5,000. The lawsuit comes as the Trump administration temporarily closes field offices that process new asylum-seekers around the country, citing these same safety concerns. 

Now, the Center for American Progress Action Fund is releasing a new video in a social media campaign to highlight the impact of the Trump administration’s spiteful immigration policies and President Donald Trump’s broken promises to the Latinx community. The campaign is telling stories of Americans such as Juvencio Rocha-Peralta, the executive director of the Eastern North Carolina Latin American Coalition, who believes that the administration’s policies and Trump’s anti-immigrant screeds against the Latinx community have hurt economic advancement in his state, despite Trump’s promises that “[n]obody will do more for the Latino community than Donald Trump.” In the video, Rocha-Peralta says that the Trump administration’s policies have fallen far short of the promise he made to expand opportunities for immigrants. 

“The story of any immigrant,” Rocha-Peralta said. “We’re looking for better opportunities. You’re looking for opportunities for yourself. You’re looking for opportunities for your family.”

According to reports, the Trump administration will begin turning away all asylum-seekers at the southern border in its effort to contain the spread of the virus, leading some to question whether this is at least, in part, another hard-line stance against Latinx immigrants given that Mexico has so few confirmed cases of the coronavirus. In the past, President Trump has disparaged migrants from Mexico and South America, saying, “I don’t want them in our country” and even going so far as to say, “These aren’t people, they’re animals.” 

“Trump has brought a message back in the 21st century: ‘Go back home.’ But this is my home. This is the home that we create to have peace,” Rocha-Peralta said. “This is a home where we want our children to grow, to go to school. He [Trump] doesn’t represent my interests. He doesn’t represent my values. He doesn’t represent Latinos.”

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Freedom Alexander Murphy at fmurphy.af@americanprogressaction.org.