Although immigration policies enacted by the Trump administration are supposed to focus on cracking down on criminals and fraud, women and victims of domestic violence have also been impacted. Unfortunately, these policy changes have put vulnerable women at an even greater risk while empowering their abusers and predators.
A new policy is set to go into effect that will increase deportation among undocumented immigrant victims and witnesses of crimes. Agencies responsible for reviewing applications will now refer immigrants for deportation in more cases, including if a person doesn’t qualify for a visa. The policy also limits the amount of discretion offers can use.
Provisions of the new US Citizenship and Immigration Services policy will be applied to visa applications that are intended to protect victims of violent crime and trafficking. What this means is that domestic violence and trafficking victims who apply for special visas but aren’t approved can be deported for minor things, like incomplete paperwork or missing a deadline. Immigrant rights advocates fear that the risk of being deported will result in less crimes being reported.
Speaking about how immigration policies are affecting women, a Justice Department spokesman said “Asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems, even all the serious problems that people face every day all over the world.”
Katie Waldman, spokeswoman for Department of Homeland Security said, “The Administration's policies promotes women -- in fact, in the President's first executive order he directed the Department to track violence against women. This administration is committed to securing the border and ensuring that we are preventing women and girls from being trafficked and abused at the hands of transnational criminal organizations and gangs during the dangerous journey north."
However, immigrant advocates have taken the opposite stance, citing that the President’s policies increase the risk for further abuse. Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women's Refugee Commission, said the following:
“I think that just like this administration's policies across the board, women and children have particularly been impacted, because the administration is looking for the most vulnerable they can find. It's gone after their access to protection, it's gone after their basic rights, trying to limit those, and in doing so, it's really driving people deeper into the shadows and more dangerous situations, and that makes us all more vulnerable."
Archi Pyati, the chief of policy and programs for the Tahirih Justice Center, said “The cumulative effect is that I think women are more afraid than ever to come forward. I think that we're sending a message as a nation to immigrant women who are survivors of violence that there are essentially two classes of residents in the United States -- those who get to have the protection of the state when they're fleeing domestic violence and those who don't."
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At Guerra Sáenz, PL, we are dedicated to helping immigrants throughout the state of Florida. Our lawyers are here to guide you through the immigration process and make sure your rights are fully protected. From deportation cases to family separation cases, we have the skills and resources that you need to secure a fair outcome. Let us get to work on your immigration case.
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