• Women’s Refugee Commission Releases Report on Detention of Women Seeking Asylum in the United States

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    Washington, DC - Today, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) released their report on the detention of women seeking asylum in the U.S., entitled “Prison For Survivors,” in response to the fundamental and nearly unprecedented transformation of the immigration detention system.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Condemns Termination of Central American Minors Program

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    Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Trump administration announced that it plans to phase out the Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program during fiscal year 2018. The CAM program began at the end of 2014 under the Obama administration and provided in-country processing for vulnerable children fleeing violence and grave danger in their home country. The program, available in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, allowed children to apply for refugee status or humanitarian parole in the United States. Only children with parents present in the U.S. with lawful immigration status were eligible. Further, children had to go through many screenings as part of the process in order to establish that they qualified for protection – in the form of refugee status or temporary parole – because of the danger they were facing. Access to parole through this program was terminated in August 2017.

    Civil and Human Rights Organizations File Joint Complaint Against DHS on Behalf of Pregnant Women Detained by ICE

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    Washington, DC - Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Immigration Council (Council), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Center for Refugee and Gender Studies (CGRS), the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on behalf of women who are or were pregnant and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    Trump Plans Massive Raids on Immigrant Communities Starting Mid-September

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    Washington, DC — Detention Watch Network (DWN), the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), National Immigration Law Center, United We Dream (UWD) and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) condemn Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) plan to conduct a nationwide immigration enforcement operation from mid- to late-September. Multiple sources within and close to ICE have shared information with advocates about the operation, which ICE is calling “Operation Mega.” In addition to apprehending targeted individuals prioritized in the president’s January 25 Executive Order, ICE agents will apprehend undocumented or otherwise removable individuals encountered during the operation, per ICE policy under the Trump administration. These raids are intended to be historic in size, targeting between 6,000 and 10,000 immigrants.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Strongly Condemns President Trump’s Decision to End DACA

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    Washington, DC – Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on behalf of the Trump Administration, announced the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

    Women’s Refugee Commission to Participate in Hearing on the Recognition of Refugees and Stateless Persons in the Americas

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    Mexico City, Mexico – Next week, September 6, 2017 at 11:30am-12:30pm local time to Mexico City, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hold a hearing on the “Legal and judicial process for the recognition of refugees and stateless persons in the Americas.” The Women’s Refugee Commission has been invited to participate along with Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Human Rights First (HRF).

    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.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Responds to Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act

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    Act would heighten standards for asylum, endangering women and children fleeing harm in home countries

    Washington, DC - Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 391, the “Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act,” a bill now sponsored by Rep. Johnson (R-LA). The bill includes countless harmful provisions that make it more difficult for asylum seekers, particularly women and children fleeing gender-based and gang violence, to access asylum or find protection in the United States. The bill severely limits access to the asylum process for those who seek protection at our borders, heightening the threshold for an initial interview that an individual would have to meet before they are even allowed to proceed with an asylum claim. Asylum seekers who do establish a possibility of a fear of return would be far less likely to be released from detention on parole and would instead face prolonged detention in remote detention centers with little access to legal counsel as they navigate their case. The bill includes numerous other provisions that would also dramatically limit access to protection and justice for those seeking protection in the United States.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Responds to Judge Watson’s Ruling on Travel Ban

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    Washington, DC - On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu, Hawaii ruled that President Donald Trump's interpretation of  “ close familial relationship” was too narrow and that the temporary ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries cannot be implemented to bar grandparents and other relatives of United States citizens from entering the country, according to Reuters. This interpretation stemmed from Trump's March 6th executive order banning travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and refugees for 120 days.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Supports American Immigration Council’s Lawsuit Challenging CBP Turnbacks

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    Washington, DC - This afternoon, the American Immigration Council (AIC), the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Lantham and Watkins, LLP filed a class action lawsuit against the Trump Administration, challenging Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) unlawful practice of turning back asylum seekers who present themselves at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border. The term “turnback” describes a situation in which CBP officials refuse to allow individuals, who present themselves at ports of entry along the U.S. southern border and assert their intention to apply for asylum or a fear of returning to their home countries, to seek protection in the United States. These asylum seekers are refused entry and access to our protection system and forced or left with no other option other than to exit the port area, returning to Mexico where their lives are in danger. These actions are illegal: under U.S. law and U.S. obligations under international law, arriving persons with protection needs must be provided access to a protection mechanism and may not be turned away at the border for any reason.