March 1, 2017 update: Recently, the Washington Post published another article further illustrating the anxiety and uncertainty we are witnessing in our immigrant client population. The article describes the many ways that daily life for immigrants in the D.C. metropolitan area has been negatively impacted by the administration’s plans for more aggressive immigration enforcement. Immigrant parents fearing deportation and separation from their children, the Post reported, are seeking help with contingency planning “in numbers organizers haven’t seen before.”
Seeking help to escape domestic violence can be frightening. For immigrant survivors trying also to navigate these uncertain times, the stakes are even higher.
Just this week U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in El Paso, Texas used one of the most vulnerable moments for a survivor—the act of seeking a court protection order—as an opportunity to arrest an undocumented immigrant at her abuser’s behest. The survivor is a Mexican citizen who suffered significant abuse at the hands of her abuser. Over the past few months, she had made several police reports, detailing incidents in which her abuser punched, choked and attempted to stab her. She managed to find refuge in a domestic violence shelter and made her way to court with the help of a victim advocate. Yet when she finally built up enough courage to seek legal protection, she was met by ICE agents waiting to escort her out of the courthouse.
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