• Women’s Refugee Commission Condemns ICE Enforcement Actions Against Women and Children, Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking

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    Washington, DC - On July 10, 2017, Thomas Homan, the acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) responded to a letter from 563 organizations that support domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking victims explaining how the administration’s executive orders on immigration and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) February 20, 2017 implementation memos fail to protect immigrant victims of crime, reduce the likelihood of immigrant victims or witnesses reporting crimes, empower traffickers and abusers, contravene existing protections afforded by law, and create unprecedented fear for vulnerable women and children.

    ICE’s response states that “any alien encountered by ICE who is in violation of our Nation’s immigration laws may be taken into custody, including those who were not previously identified as targets for enforcement action. Those taken into custody are provided with a list of free legal services organizations and given access to toll-free telephone service.”

    Michelle Brané, Director, Migrant Rights and Justice, Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) responded with the following:

    “This inadequate response confirms that the Trump administration is targeting the most vulnerable immigrants in our communities while claiming to go after gang members and criminals. Saying that immigrant crime victims are safe to come forward, while also making it clear that ALL undocumented persons should be afraid and are priorities for enforcement is endangering all of us. If immigrant women, children and families fear that reaching out to law enforcement for help would increase their risk of detention and deportation, they will be more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation and will be less likely to cooperate with law enforcement, making our communities less safe. Acting Director Homan claims that they are not looking to arrest victims of crimes, but these promises fall flat when ICE’s sweeping raids and arrests consistently sow deep fear of law enforcement, courthouses, and public agencies.”