Rights & Justice

Thousands of Central American Kids Are Back at Our Border. Here’s What You Need to Know.

"You can make the direct comparison to the situation in Europe," says Jennifer Podkul of the Women's Refugee Commission. "Look at what's happening in the home country and why people are leaving, and it has nothing to do with whether or not [there is] a functioning asylum system."

Among flood fleeing Syria, a trickle crosses ocean to brave Central American smuggling routes

If refugees can’t reach their destinations — and declare asylum there — legally, smugglers will help them to do it illegally, according to Jennifer Podkul at the Women's Refugee Commission.

ICE Appoints Family Residential Center Federal Advisory Committee Members

ICE announced the list of appointments to the Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers. The committee’s charter requires that membership consist of up to 15 members, representing a variety of perspectives, to serve in one-year, two-year, or three-year terms.

Central Americans Flee to USA to Escape Mayhem Back Home

"That refutes this concept that (the refugees) are just coming to the United States for work, that this isn't a refugee crisis, that they're just trying to take advantage of Obama's policies," said Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights and justice for the Women's Refugee Commission. "They're clearly trying to flee anywhere they can go."

Women from Central America on the Run from Violence

Women fleeing Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have been subjected to a constant threat of violence, including threats, assault, murder and rape and their governments are unable to protect them. The violence these women flee is as horrific as any in the world.

Women Refugees Are “Running For Their Lives” In Central America

“If someone is going after a young man who is refusing to join a gang, they’ll threaten their mother, sister, or girlfriend. Women also face threats of rape, domestic violence, and there are no shelters or places to keep them safe," said Michelle Brané, of the Women’s Refugee Commission.

Young, Illegal and Alone

Fleeing violence in Central America, unaccompanied children enter a thicket of inconsistent deportation laws. "A more straightforward approach would be to adopt an immigration law that considers a child’s best interest," said Jennifer Podkul of the Women’s Refugee Commission. 

The Refugees at Our Door

"You can lock people inside a burning house, you can close the front door, but they will find a way out," says Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. "The U.S. doesn’t want to recognize this as a refugee situation. They want Mexico to be the buffer, to stop arrivals before they get to our border."

ICE announces caseworker program for immigrant families

Alternatives to detention "less harmful and less expensive," said Michelle Brané, so they are are good first step. However, "we are disappointed that it went to a company that focuses more on corrections and prisons."

The US must raise the cap for Syrian refugees

"Helping these people is first and foremost a humanitarian imperative," said Stephanie Peters, a commissioner for the Women's Refugee Commission.

The Rights of Refugee Women and Girls in the European Crisis Can’t Be Ignored

Around the world, women fleeing conflict and violence are undertaking perilous journeys during which they are often raped and exploited. And the violence directed against them doesn’t end when they stop running. But we haven’t seen these women much. They’re outside the frame of the journalists’ photos and they are not prioritized in the emergency response.  

Why Is the U.S. Not Doing More to Help Syrian Refugees?

"The U.S. could and should be doing more. The silence of the White House on this is unacceptable," said Michelle Brané of the Women's Refugee Commission.

Are Male Detainees Treated Differently Than Women?

In February, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that jailing the mothers as a deterrent to future migrants was “likely unlawful” and ordered the government to stop.

Judge orders release of immigrant families within 60 days

“The Court gave Immigration and Customs Service 60 days to end the immoral detention of children and we see no reason why the Administration should not act immediately,” said Michelle Brané, director of the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Migrant Rights and Justice Program.

Administration Should Act Immediately & Comply with Court Ruling

The Court gave Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) 60 days to end the immoral detention of children and we see no reason why the Administration should not act immediately.

Family Detention -- It’s Time to Do the Right Thing

A court ruling is the latest blow to the controversial practice of detaining families seeking asylum. Now it’s up to the Obama administration to do the right thing.

Migrant Mothers Lodge Formal Complaint Over Lack Of Medical Care In Family Detention Centers

Ten organizations, including the Women's Refugee Commission, sued the government, protesting that while detained by DHS, mothers and their children received substandard medical care and suffered severely.

Deplorable Medical Treatment at Family Detention Centers: Mothers Lodge Complaint with DHS Offices for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Inspector General

Washington, DC— Today, ten mothers came forward to lodge formal complaints about the substandard medical care they and their children received while detained by the Department of Homeland of Security (DHS).  The complaints describe the severe suffering families have endured due to poor access to and quality of care, and questionable medical ethics.

Mother who fled Honduras 'to escape abuse, mistreatment' says 'it's the same' in U.S.

Organizations including the Women's Refugee Commission note regular failures of DHS to provide adequate medical care for asylum seeking mothers and children in family detention facilities, and they add to the already ample evidence demonstrating why family detention must end.

Why is the Obama administration still fighting to keep immigrant families behind bars?

U.S. family detention, nearly ended in 2009 and revived in 2014, "has been marked by failure after failure." Last week, a judge ruled that the practice still violates the government's own rules about how to treat children humanely.