• Women’s Refugee Commission Welcomes Bicameral Legislation to Minimize Harmful Effects of Immigration Enforcement on Children

    Pin It

    Washington, D.C. — The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) today welcomed the reintroduction of legislation to lessen the harmful effects of immigration enforcement on children whose parents have been arrested, detained, or deported. The “Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections for Separated Children Act” or the “HELP Separated Children Act,” introduced in the Senate by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and in the House by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), seeks to minimize the risk that immigration enforcement actions will result in permanent family separation and seeks to ensure that parents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody can maintain a relationship with their children and make decisions about their care.

    The HELP Separated Children Act provides every parent apprehended by ICE the opportunity to make phone calls for the purpose of making childcare arrangements within two hours of being apprehended. In the event children are present at the time of apprehension, the bill affords parents an opportunity to console their children and inform them who will be caring for them in the parent’s absence. The bill also sets minimum standards for treatment of detained parents, allowing them regular contact with their children, the opportunity to make long-term childcare arrangements whether they want their children to remain in the U.S. or join them in their home country, and the ability to participate in proceedings that may lead to termination of their parental rights.

    Emily Butera, senior policy advisor at WRC’s Migrant Rights and Justice program, made the following statement:

    “Since taking office, the Trump administration has unleashed a wave of indiscriminate immigration enforcement that is tearing apart families and communities across the country. No harm is greater than that experienced by children who come home to an empty house or, worse, witness their parents being taken away in front of them by armed immigration agents. We know from experience that when immigration enforcement is carried out without regard for the consequences on children, families can be permanently broken apart, parents may lose their parental rights, and children show signs of toxic stress that can set them up for a lifetime of adversity. The long-term consequences on children who lose a parent are devastating and often irreversible. The Women’s Refugee Commission commends Senator Smith and Representative Roybal-Allard for introducing this important legislation to help lessen the damage that the Trump administration’s policies are having on children and families.”

    Women’s Refugee Commission Condemns Trump Administration’s “Safe Third Country” Asylum Agreement with Mexico

    Pin It

    Washington, D.C. – The Trump administration is poised to sign an agreement which recognizes Mexico as a safe third country for migrants who would otherwise seek protection at U.S. borders. The term “safe third country” applies to countries determined as being non-refugee-producing or as being places where refugees can receive asylum without any danger.

    Women’s Refugee Commission and Al Otro Lado Counter DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s Stance on Asylum Seekers in Advance of Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Hearing

    Pin It

    Washington, D.C. – For the second week in a row, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will take to the Hill today to defend the Trump administration’s proposed budget request when she testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs (HSGAC). Last week, she testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security where she faced questions regarding the administration’s new ‘zero tolerance’ policy at the border that will result in family separation and DHS’s treatment of asylum-seeking pregnant women, among other concerning issues. 

    Trump Admin Ramps Up Attacks on Migrant and Asylum-Seeking Families Women’s Refugee Commission Calls Actions Betrayal of American Values

    Pin It

    Washington, D.C. – Following a series of anti-asylum actions taken by the Trump administration in recent days, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) today responded by calling the latest assault on migrant and asylum-seeking families “barbaric” and a “betrayal of American values.”

    Advocates File FOIA Request for ICE Documents on Detention of Pregnant Women

    Pin It

    Washington, D.C. — The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, and the Women’s Refugee Commission filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for documents related to its detention of pregnant women.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Condemns New Directive on Detention of Parents

    Pin It

    Washington, DC – Over the weekend, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made public its new Directive on the Detention and Removal of Alien Parents or Legal Guardians. The Directive, dated August 29, 2017, replaces ICE’s 2013 Parental Interests Directive, which was put in place to discourage the detention of parents and legal guardians who were undergoing immigration proceedings and to mitigate the collateral consequences of immigration enforcement on parental rights and child well-being.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Welcomes Listing of Myanmar Armed Forces in New UN Secretary-General’s Report on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

    Pin It

    New York, NY – The United Nations Security Council today held its annual open debate on conflict-related sexual violence. The debate was presided by Peru, which holds the Council’s presidency for April. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed presented the Secretary-General’s annual report on conflict-related sexual violence.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Condemns Halt of Legal Orientation Program by Department of Justice

    Pin It

    Washington, D.C. – Today, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) condemned Tuesday’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice would halt the Legal Orientation Program (LOP). LOP provides information to detained immigrants facing deportation about their rights and the immigration court process. With this information, detained immigrants can make more knowledgeable decisions about their cases and potentially receive assistance in obtaining pro bono counsel.

    Over 250 Reproductive, Civil and Human Rights Organizations Call on ICE to Discontinue Policy on Detaining Pregnant Individuals

    Pin It

    Center for Reproductive Rights, ACLU, American Immigration Council, Women’s Refugee Commission and Others Urge Administration to Reinstitute a Presumption That Pregnant Individuals Should be Released from Detention  

    Women’s Refugee Commission Condemns ICE Policy of Detaining Pregnant Women

    Pin It

    Washington, D.C. – Today, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) condemned the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for ending the presumption of release for all pregnant detainees. Previously ICE policy dictated that pregnant women were generally not detained unless their detention was mandatory under the law, or when “extraordinary circumstances” warranted detention.