Rights & Justice

Is Germany Failing Female Refugees?

“These things that weren’t expensive to solve, that would’ve gone a long way to improving women’s safety and dignity, were completely overlooked,” says Marcy Hersh, WRC senior advocacy officer.

200+ Advocates Offer Principles for Immigration Reform that Works for Children

Current immigration law largely ignores and often explicitly disregards the interests of children. "The priorities of children need to be included in immigration reform—we cannot, yet again, compromise their basic rights to due process and protection," said Michelle Brané, Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

ICE's Parental Interests Directive: Helping Families Caught Between the Immigration and Child Welfare Systems

I met Marta (not her real name) in a migrant shelter in Nogales, Mexico. She had been deported from the U.S. only days before, leaving behind her four children – three of them U.S. citizens – who were split between foster homes and facing permanent separation from their mother.  Two years earlier, Marta had been apprehended in her home, while her children were present. She remembers her daughters crying, as she was taken away, “mommy, no; mommy no.” But Marta was not given an opportunity to arrange for a relative or friend to care for her children. Instead, they were placed into the child welfare system and she was taken first to a local jail and later to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility.

Detained or Deported: What About My Children?

Maintaining custody of your children during detention and deportation can be extremely complicated. Apprehended parents are not guaranteed a phone call to make care arrangements for their children. Children can end up in the child welfare system if both parents are apprehended, if the migrant is a single parent, or if another parent or caretaker doesn't know how to find them.

Detained or Deported: What About My Children? is an in-depth guide is for migrant parents and their relatives, friends, advocates and lawyers. It provides step-by-step instructions for how to ensure that they get their children back at the end of the immigration process. It also includes a safety planning tool so that parents can create a safe and effective plan to have in place before they are detained. 

Chance of Citizenship Also Destroyed in Nepal

A gender-discriminatory nationality law means that thousands of Nepali children born after the earthquake may be unable to claim citizenship. This puts them at risk of marginalization, decreased education and healthcare, and poverty.

The Complex History and Tragic Return of Family Detention

Family detention has expanded dramatically in the last year--but the root causes, policies and efforts surrounding it reach further into the past. This interactive timeline charts the rise, recession, and resurgence of family detention. Though it all, one lesson is clear: there is no humane way to detain families. 

Border Patrol Deported 93% of Unaccompanied Mexican Children under 14 without Legal Hearings

"The vast majority unaccompanied minors are not getting a chance to show they fear persecution if they’re returned to their home countries"--a legal requirement under U.S. and international law.

Why is the Obama administration still fighting to keep immigrant families behind bars?

U.S. family detention, nearly ended in 2009 and revived in 2014, "has been marked by failure after failure." Last week, a judge ruled that the practice still violates the government's own rules about how to treat children humanely.

Mother who fled Honduras 'to escape abuse, mistreatment' says 'it's the same' in U.S.

Organizations including the Women's Refugee Commission note regular failures of DHS to provide adequate medical care for asylum seeking mothers and children in family detention facilities, and they add to the already ample evidence demonstrating why family detention must end.

Deplorable Medical Treatment at Family Detention Centers: Mothers Lodge Complaint with DHS Offices for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Inspector General

Washington, DC— Today, ten mothers came forward to lodge formal complaints about the substandard medical care they and their children received while detained by the Department of Homeland of Security (DHS).  The complaints describe the severe suffering families have endured due to poor access to and quality of care, and questionable medical ethics.

Migrant Mothers Lodge Formal Complaint Over Lack Of Medical Care In Family Detention Centers

Ten organizations, including the Women's Refugee Commission, sued the government, protesting that while detained by DHS, mothers and their children received substandard medical care and suffered severely.

Family Detention -- It’s Time to Do the Right Thing

A court ruling is the latest blow to the controversial practice of detaining families seeking asylum. Now it’s up to the Obama administration to do the right thing.

Administration Should Act Immediately & Comply with Court Ruling

The Court gave Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) 60 days to end the immoral detention of children and we see no reason why the Administration should not act immediately.

Judge orders release of immigrant families within 60 days

“The Court gave Immigration and Customs Service 60 days to end the immoral detention of children and we see no reason why the Administration should not act immediately,” said Michelle Brané, director of the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Migrant Rights and Justice Program.

Are Male Detainees Treated Differently Than Women?

In February, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that jailing the mothers as a deterrent to future migrants was “likely unlawful” and ordered the government to stop.

Why Is the U.S. Not Doing More to Help Syrian Refugees?

"The U.S. could and should be doing more. The silence of the White House on this is unacceptable," said Michelle Brané of the Women's Refugee Commission.

The Rights of Refugee Women and Girls in the European Crisis Can’t Be Ignored

Around the world, women fleeing conflict and violence are undertaking perilous journeys during which they are often raped and exploited. And the violence directed against them doesn’t end when they stop running. But we haven’t seen these women much. They’re outside the frame of the journalists’ photos and they are not prioritized in the emergency response.  

The US must raise the cap for Syrian refugees

"Helping these people is first and foremost a humanitarian imperative," said Stephanie Peters, a commissioner for the Women's Refugee Commission.

ICE announces caseworker program for immigrant families

Alternatives to detention "less harmful and less expensive," said Michelle Brané, so they are are good first step. However, "we are disappointed that it went to a company that focuses more on corrections and prisons."

The Refugees at Our Door

"You can lock people inside a burning house, you can close the front door, but they will find a way out," says Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. "The U.S. doesn’t want to recognize this as a refugee situation. They want Mexico to be the buffer, to stop arrivals before they get to our border."