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Women’s Refugee Commission Responds to Anti-Immigrant Bills

Washington, DC – This week, the House of Representatives will vote on two vehemently anti-immigrant bills. Led by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” threatens to strip federal funding for so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions” and coerce cities, counties, states, and local jurisdictions to violate the Constitution. This legislation would make communities less safe, by restricting critical public safety services and by making immigration communities afraid to come forward to report crimes to police, including in cases where an individual is a survivor of domestic violence or rape. “Kate’s Law” would expand the prosecution of illegal reentry cases, heighten the associated penalties, and severely impede access to due process. This would include prosecution of individuals seeking protection at U.S. borders for humanitarian reasons as well as those seeking to reunite with their families, putting asylum seekers and families at risk and violating international protection law.

The Women’s Refugee Commission stands firmly against these two bills, as they will make our communities less safe, lead to an increase in family separation, and greatly endanger vulnerable populations, limiting their access to protection and pushing them into the hands of human traffickers.

According to Michelle Brané, Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission:

“The danger that these bills pose to vulnerable asylum seekers and others seeking protection at our borders or in our communities is unacceptable. Survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence already fear reporting attacks and will now be even less likely to seek local help if they fear the risk of deportation.  Reckless expansion of punitive measures that impede access to protection will push asylum seekers into the hands of traffickers and expose unaccompanied minors to exploitation. These bills will also undoubtedly lead to increased and more prolonged detention without access to due process, retraumatizing those who have already experienced harm and unnecessarily burdening an overwhelmed immigration system. We urge Congress to reject these attempts to target innocent individuals.”