Detained migrant with COVID-19 forced to call in to court

HOUSTON (AP) — A detained immigrant who said he tested positive for COVID-19 was required to call in for a court hearing even after a guard said he was too weak to talk, his attorney said on Thursday.

When the judge asked Salomon Diego Alonzo to say his name, the guard responded that Alonzo “does not have the lung capacity”, said his lawyer, Veronica Semino, who was listening by phone. The call lasted about two hours, though Judge Mary Baumgarten eventually agreed to delay Alonzo’s final asylum hearing, the attorney said.

Speaking to The Associated Press (AP) on Wednesday, the 26-year-old from Guatemala responded to most questions with one or two sentence answers, often interrupted by coughing. Alonzo said he has headaches, diarrhoea and severe exhaustion that made it difficult for him to get out of bed. He’s confined with one other person in a dorm at an immigration detention centre in rural Louisiana, where medical staff check his vital signs twice a day.

File photo shows Salomon Diego Alonzo. PHOTO: AP