Telemundo Town Hall Highlights Illegal Immigrant Panic


Telemundo News hosted a Sunday afternoon panel, heavy with panelist warnings against immigration officials and drawing many “Spanish-speakers,” as false immigration enforcement reports online have struck fear among those who may now face repercussions for illegal immigration.

Immigration lawyer Alma Rosa Nieto, one of the panelists, responded to one woman in the audience who had expressed distress over her father, who had been detained during last week’s series of immigration enforcement actions. Nieto confirmed to the woman that her father could be released on bail; however, the woman may need to appeal to an immigration judge for that to occur, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The lawyer continued, “If a person has been previously detained, then it’s more difficult.”

President Donald Trump signed an executive order entitled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” five days after taking office. The order stressed reasons for securing the U.S. southern border and enforcing immigration law, and it ordered policy actions to that effect.

Though advocates for illegal aliens have blamed the order for immigration enforcement actions taken last week, officials under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security have stated that the series of actions were “routine.”

Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro of the National Council of La Raza was a panelist at the Telemundo panel and, during the event, warned that illegal aliens who are not considered to pose “a national security risk” and are not considered a risk to the public, were at risk, according to the report.

Nieto painted ICE agents as threatening, urging attendees to remain silent and to refuse to open the door unless they show a judge-signed court order beforehand, the Daily News detailed. She portrayed cooperating and sharing information with immigration authorities as dangerous, claiming, “It will sink us.”

Panelist Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, advised that a person in the house must be named on any search warrant before access is granted.

False online reports of immigration checkpoints and actions spread on the Internet and fueled fears among some in the Latino community. The Daily News highlighted audience member Sofia Maldonado, who cited comments that she would share information from the forum with her community and noted the fear among those living in the country illegally who have since had children. While she stated they were wondering where they would leave their children, they made no comments about their ability to self-deport and take their children with them. Rather, the leader with “environmental justice organization” Pacoima Beautiful stated she would “take care of their children” if necessary.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.