Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who is applying for asylum in the United States, is at risk of being deported by immigration authorities for 19 years. Now, Morales plans to enter the US Capitol to show President Donald Trump that she intends to stay – no matter what he promises in his speech to the Congress.
Tuesday night, Morales, who has worked for more than five years at the Trump Golf Club in New Jersey, will join other undocumented immigrants in the State of the Union address as members of Congress. In light of recent US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) infiltration operations as part of Trump's persistent crackdown on immigration, Senators and representatives who have invited immigrants undocumented Capitol do not take any chances with the security of their charges.
Lawyers and translators will be on the line during Morales 'stay in the nation's capital, Anibal Romero, Morales' attorney, told The Daily Beast, though he is skeptical that even Trump would plead for the arrest of immigrants seeking asylum one of the most watched live events of the year.
"I'm just here to make sure everything is covered and nothing happens to him," Romero said. "It's a high profile case. It's a business that everyone looks at, [and] During my career, no asylum seeker has been arrested unless he has a criminal record. "
The office of Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), who represents the original district of Morales and invited her to attend the state of the Union, said that the right to invite guests to the state's speech of the Union was part of the Congress of Congress. constitutionally bound obligations towards voters, including undocumented voters – and that ICE would have a dangerous constitutional ground to interfere with these obligations.
"Our office has expressed serious concerns about potential law enforcement actions, as well as any type of retaliation. [from the White House] for what she did, but Ms. Morales has said time and time again that she was delighted to be here, "said Courtney Cochran, communications director for Watson Coleman. "She is incredibly brave and ready to take whatever is thrown at her because she is no longer interested in silence."
Romero told the Daily Beast that her client had already been to the United States in hopes of fleeing violence in her native Guatemala, where she had witnessed her father 's murder in the United States. 7 years old. Since Morales arrived in the United States in 1999, Romero said, she lived a peaceful and law-abiding life, eventually settling in New Jersey, where she worked as a cleaning lady at the golf club. National Trump in Bedminster, preparing the chair's bed and cleaning his toilet.
After the New York Times began reporting the number of undocumented immigrants working in the club, however, Morales – who is currently applying for asylum – stopped reporting to work at the club, partly because of fears that his employer does not ask ICE to expel him.
"We asked for asylum before The New York Times published the story, and I think her asylum case is even more convincing because she has become a public figure and that she becomes a more important target in Guatemala ", Romero said, pointing out that the early stages of the Morales asylum procedure should appease anyone.Offers fear that its presence poses a security risk.
"She has fingerprints – the asylum office has her fingerprints," said Romero, who will be with Morales all day to "make sure nothing happens to her".
"I see absolutely no reason why his arrest is necessary," said Romero. "This would send a scary message: now, even after your asylum application, ICE has decided to arrest people."
ICE declined to specify in his minutes that he had protocols for undocumented immigrants attending the State of the Union speech.
At least four members of Congress have invited undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers such as Morales as guests to a speech on the state of the Union in which one s & # 39; Expects Trump to mount a trial for his long-promised border wall. Although undocumented immigrants have been invited to attend the State of the Union speech – designated as a special event of national security by the Department of Homeland Security – since at least 2013, their presence should take a special significance this year.
Watson Coleman said in a statement that his presence was intended to show that "immigrants are generally hard-working, trustworthy and skilled workers who simply want to work and improve their lives here."
The biographies of immigrants who were to attend the state of the Union are read as a point-to-point refutation of Trump's deep conviction that undocumented immigrants are dangerous criminals who are moving away from American citizens.
One of the participants, Sandra Diaz, another former Trump National Golf Club employee, immigrated from Costa Rica and has since become a legal resident. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) will be present at the invitation of Diaz, who described it as "living proof that President Trump could not be more wrong, both morally and factually, when he demonize those who come to America in search of a better life. "
Another, Jin Park, is a DREAMer from South Korea and a senior from Harvard University who is expected to graduate in molecular and cellular biology next spring. Park recently received the Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford, making it the first recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to win the most prestigious university scholarship – though He is afraid he can not go to study in the UK. to return legally to the United States.
"It is shameful that Jin should give up this coveted opportunity for a Rhodes Scholarship, an opportunity he has worked tirelessly to achieve this goal," said Representative Grace Meng (D-NY), District Representative for Queens Park has called home since he was 7, in a statement. "I am proud to stand with him and I will continue to fight the divisive policies that characterized the president's administration."
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) invited two guests, Albertina Contreras Teletor and Yakelin Garcia Contreras, a 12-year-old mother and daughter who were separated at the US border under Trump's family separation policy .
"I invite Albertina and Yakelin as guests to the state of the Union because we must witness to the suffering inflicted by this cruel policy," Merkley said, as well as his "determination to do so." so that no such thing is ever done. still arrives in the United States of America. "
The separation experience of Albertina and Yakelin "is a powerful illustration of the cruelty and lasting impact of the policies put in place by the Trump administration to deter families fleeing persecution abroad," he said. Martina McLennan, Merkley's Deputy Communications Director. "Sen. Merkley is taking advantage of this moment to shed light on the reality of what is happening at the border "as part of Trump's policy.
These policies should be at the heart of Trump's speech, particularly because of the record-breaking federal government closure that led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to postpone the State of the Union address. The closure, which lasted 35 days and caused chaos at US airports, immigration tribunals and national parks, was triggered after Trump had refused to sign a non-5 credit bill. , $ 7 billion for the border wall project.
The White House did not return requests for comments on undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers who will attend Tuesday's speech, although Trump himself used such invitations to argue his political point of view. the past.
Last year, Trump invited two families of parents whose daughters, Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens, were allegedly murdered in 2016 by six members of the MS-13 gang. In his speech, Trump called on Congress to "eliminate the deadly loopholes that allowed MS-13 and other criminals to enter our country."