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  • Rights & Justice

    Refugees Fleeing Mortal Danger in Central America Face Daily Fear of Deportation in US

    This is not a question of strict border security. These are kids and women who are essentially turning themselves in. They’re not sneaking over a fence, rather, they’re presenting themselves to the border and asking for protection, said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women's Refugee Commission.

    In Today’s Refugees I Am Finding My Mother’s Memories

    "We heard cases of pregnant women about to deliver who declined medical attention so they could keep moving. In some instances, it was the husbands who pressured their wives against seeking medical help," says Jurate Kazikas, a board member of the Women's Refugee Commission. 

    AP INVESTIGATION: Feds' failures imperil migrant children

    In 2012, caseworkers followed a stringent process before releasing children to sponsors. Later,"so many kids were piling up at the Border Patrol stations they sped up reunification procedures that they had in place for years," said Jennifer Podkul, senior program officer at the nonprofit Women's Refugee Commission.

    No Safety for Women Along the Refugee Migration Route

    The risk of violence for women, girls and other vulnerable groups is present at every stage of the European refugee migration; and at every point where risk could be mitigated, the opportunity to do so is squandered, according to an assessment by the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    Feds imperiled many migrant kids during surge

    "They sped up reunification procedures that they had in place for years," said Jennifer Podkul, senior program officer at the Women's Refugee Commission. Over two dozen children have been severely abused since the safety checks were discontinued.

    Women and girls caught in refugee crisis lack protection

    "There are not adequate protection services on the ground to both identify and prioritize women’s needs," said Executive Director Sarah Costa.

    Refugee Women Seeking Safety in Europe Risk Sexual Abuse, Violence

    "Those most at risk of sexual abuse and violence include single women traveling alone or with children, pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, unaccompanied children and early married children."

    IRIN's Top Picks: Neutral aid, women refugees, and unequal inequality

    "As local authorities and aid agencies have struggled to respond to the mass movement of migrants and refugees through Europe last year, the vulnerabilities of the many women travelling alone or with small children have been largely forgotten."

    Advocates Wary of President Obama’s New Refugee Resettlement Program

    "It is not illegal to cross international borders and request asylum," said Michelle Brané, Director of the Migrant Rights & Justice program at the Women's Refugee Commission. "The presence of a formal refugee resettlement program does not negate our obligation to accept asylum seekers at our borders."

    Advocates perplexed by U.S. response to Central American migrants

    Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights and justice at the Women's Refugee Commission, said the administration's "border enforcement approach to this issue has been a mistake from the beginning."

    UN to Help US Screen Central Americans

    We’re pleased to see the Administration recognize that Central Americans seeking safety in the U.S. is a refugee situation, understanding that we cannot and should not return these people to the danger they fled.

    Advocates Call ICE Raids ‘Classic Reproductive Oppression’

    "Many of the women asylum seekers being targeted by DHS were escaping gender-based violence in their countries of origin. During migration, it is believed that 80 percent of women and girls crossing into the United States by way of Mexico are raped during their journey."

    Administration Sending Unaccompanied Child Refugees Back to Violent Countries

    The Administration confirms it plans to deport some of the unaccompanied children who fled violence in Central America and sought safety in the U.S.

    WRC Responds to Administration's Raids on Central American Families

    Statement by Michelle Brané, Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program

    The Obama Administration continues to treat families fleeing violence as lawbreakers who deserve punishment. Rounding up women and their children who may never have understood their rights or the asylum process, or had access to a lawyer, betrays American values.

    Why Is the US Deporting Refugee Families?

    Rather than ensure access to protection and justice for these refugees fleeing violence, we continue to see the Administration…respond with detention and other efforts to deter, said Katharina Obser.

    WRC Statement on Planned Deportation Raids of Central American Families

    Instead of focusing on detaining and deporting families, the Administration should finally recognize what this influx is about: refugees seeking protection at our border who should be given a real chance to find a lawyer, understand how the process works, and make their case for asylum before a judge.

    Feds plan raids nationwide targeting families for deportation

    “It is outrageous that the Administration plans to conduct raids on families who have fled persecution and violence,” said Michelle Brané.

    Democratic Candidates Blast Obama Administration Plan To Deport Families

    Michelle Brané said she had not received briefings from the administration. But she worried that some families facing deportation may not have had proper legal representation, especially if their cases sped through the courts.

    Immigration raids shouldn't be used against refugees, say advocates

    "It's not illegal to ask for protection, and we should stop treating them as if we're violating a law. They're asserting their international right to protection," Michelle Brané said.

    US plan to deport undocumented families angers Democratic candidates

    "The image of sending women and children  back to one of the most dangerous places in the world over the Christmas holiday does not show the kind of leadership that this administration has been saying they want to take on migration and refugees," Michelle Brané said.