Over the past few months, there has been a dramatic increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids. The widespread “crackdown” on undocumented immigrant—regardless of their criminal status—has provoked a wave of fear through immigrant communities and households, and has affected victimized immigrant women most directly.
Since Trump’s executive order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement—signed in late January—an increasing number of immigrant women are choosing not to prosecute violent crimes committed against them out of fear of being detained and deported. Many victimized women fear that they will be arrested, detained and ultimately deported if they step foot in a courthouse.
An anonymity clause is a binding clause that protects the identity of civilians who report crimes, regardless of criminal/immigrant/legal status.
Click here to email Congress to demand the implementation of an anonymity clause for civilians who report crimes.
Civil rights lawyers and immigrant defense attorneys in Denver, for example, have reported a dramatic decrease in legal complaints filed by immigrant women who are victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and violent attacks. Experts attribute this decline largely to the release of a video depicting numerous ICE officers stationed at the Denver courthouse waiting to make arrests. In February, Ms. Gonzalez, an immigrant transwoman from Texas, was arrested and detained as she was attempting to obtain a protective order against her abuser at the El Paso Courthouse.
Many immigrant women are terrified and in hiding. Many are afraid to drive, look for a job, go to a bar, or travel anywhere that may require them to display their license or identification card. Others are in serious physical danger, yet are afraid to seek legal assistance or health care out of fear of being outed and detained. Pregnant immigrant women are giving birth at home in order to forgo reporting their names at hospitals and putting themselves at risk of deportation.
Click here to demand the implementation of an anonymity clause for civilians who report crimes.
The courthouse targeting of victimized immigrant women not only threatens the everyday lives of the women affected, but it also puts an enormous amount of power and control in the hands of abusers. According to some immigrant women, it is common for domestic abusers to use immigration status to trap their undocumented partners in abusive relationships.
We must not tolerate the targeting of immigrants by the Trump administration and ICE—targeting that subjects them to violence. Victims of crimes should have no fear of seeking justice in our court systems. The implementation of an anonymity clause for civilians who report crimes would increase the likelihood of immigrant victims or witnesses reporting crimes, and such a change would disempower violent criminals and abusers who should be duly prosecuted for their actions.
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-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
> White House: Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements
> Truthout: Defend and Protect Transgender Undocumented Women: Free Ms. Gonzalez
> NPR: Fear Of Deportation Spurs 4 Women To Drop Domestic Abuse Cases In Denver