Local immigrants, lawmaker blast Trump administration over new asylum rules

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SEATTLE – Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., slammed President Trump’s administration Monday over immigration rules during a press conference Monday morning.

DelBene, immigrants and local attorneys are calling the Trump’s administration’s treatment of immigrants seeking asylum for domestic violence and gang-related violence as being cruel.

“Just a few years ago we were living in Honduras when our father was killed due to violence,” said Mikol Alvarado.

Mikol and his younger brother, Ronald, fled Honduras five years ago seeking asylum. Their family settled in King County and have a new life as permanent residents of the United States – but if they had been turned around like thousands of new asylum-seekers could be, they doubt they would have survived.

“Being over there suffering from violence from gangs, it really is scary,” said Ronald. “It feels you’re in the jungle and you’re the prey.”

“This is what happens when the president calls immigrants animals,” said DelBene. “The Trump administration calls this a zero-tolerance policy. We should have zero tolerance for hatred, for bigotry, and for separating children and tearing families about.”

While Trump falsely blamed Democrats for inaction on immigration reforms, one of the most recent changes comes from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The new policy means those fleeing domestic and gang violence in their own countries will no longer be allowed refuge in America for those reasons alone.

“It’s preposterous to blame Democrats for the administration’s own choices,” responded DelBene.

DelBene also says there is legislation in Congress that could end the separation of children and their parents seeking new life in the United States.

“We have legislation in the House right now to do that. Republicans could help move that; in fact, we need Republicans to move it because they’re in the majority in the House and the Senate,” she said.

So until Trump’s administration changes course, or lawmakers can band together, the future of thousands of foreigners seeking safety on American soil grows less certain.

“People who have been beaten to almost death are now being told they cannot make a claim for asylum,” said local immigration attorney Carol Edward. “If they come to our borders because they’re almost killed in their home country, we’re going to lock them up, steal their babies out of their arms, and because of this newest decision.”

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