Rantz: Asylum seeker says Seattle activists are taking advantage of migrants

May 20, 2024, 5:55 PM


Tents housing the refugees at Powell Barnett Park in Seattle's Central District. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Some progressive activists are essentially tricking migrants seeking asylum into occupying parks, disrupting Seattle city council meetings and engaging in protests to pressure city, county and state leaders to pay for additional housing. One asylum seeker is warning that activists are putting their asylum claims at risk.

“We are totally new here in the country,” Daniel Vingo exclusively told “The Jason Rantz Show” on KTTH, explaining that many migrants seeking asylum neither understand why they’re protesting, nor the legal repercussions of doing so.

“I’m saying as an asylum seeker, you must know that we don’t know much here, how things work here, so I can’t go somewhere to protest, protest, protest. Before the protest, I must know my rights,” Vingo continued.

While Vingo said he wasn’t judging the organizations, and that he’s grateful for help and support, he believes they must do a better job explaining to the asylum seekers what they’re doing and why.

More from Jason Rantz: Washington Dems diverted $460M to illegal immigrants into 2023

Why does asylum seeker believe activists are taking advantage of them?

After funding ran out to house hundreds of migrants at a hotel in Kent, Seattle-area housing activists transported them to a Seattle park declaring they would not leave until they received more funding. This was the second stunt organized by activists on behalf of the migrants. Many of the activists keep their identity private, covering their faces during the stunts so they’re not recorded on video by local media outlets.

Vingo worries that many of the migrants “don’t know better” and simply agree to comply with activist plans.

“I have friends who are participating in those protests. And when I ask them, ‘Why are you going?’ they say, ‘We are just protesting because they (activists) say we must go.’ Okay, I’m not judging that,” Vingo said, adding that he’s worried someone could be deported for violating the law during one of the protests.

While Vingo said that everyone has a right to protest, he thinks activist organizers “must explain to people what they are doing because we are asylum seekers. We cannot just go and do some stuff like that. I’m afraid because it can affect my status here.” He said he doesn’t personally feel taken advantage of because he understands the process.

The latest park occupation was mostly successful. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell agreed to fund the migrants’ hotel stay in Kent through June 30, despite previously saying the funds have run out. This likely means activists will convince vulnerable migrants to illegally occupy another park on July 1.

Why are migrants coming to the Seattle area?

Vingo is one of the hundreds of local migrants seeking asylum and he likely qualifies. He said he fled to the United States from the region of Cabinda, where his freedoms were at risk because of his political activism calling for independence from Angola. Political persecution is a qualifying determination for asylum seekers.

The political activist crossed the border between Mexico and California, leaving his family behind in Cabinda as they’ve not been subject to the consequences of his own activism. He said he spent only two days in detention and was released without turning over much information, including why he was crossing illegally. He said they just asked for basic biographical information, like his name and signed paperwork acknowledging the asylum-seeking process.

“For me, it was a surprise, not asking me questions,” Vingo said, noting he did eventually provide this information post-detention.

Vingo, like many others, made his way to Tukwila because he heard, via a friend, that the Riverton Park United Methodist Church was housing and assisting asylum seekers. Both King County and the state of Washington offer protections to people in this country illegally, regardless of whether or not they have legitimate claims of asylum.

More from Jason Rantz: Coming Clean About Illegal Immigration

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