Recent findings by Tahirih Justice Center are disturbing: immigrant survivors of domestic violence are shying away from seeking justice or intervention. Historically, deportation has been a pet threat used by abusers against their partners. Now this appears all too credible to survivors given the current climate - they fear law enforcement services will join hands with immigration enforcement, as has happened in some cases.
Archi Pyati, Chief of Policy for the Tahirih Justice Center, describes how the situation appears to immigrant survivors: "This is the message they are receiving: either stay with your abuser or risk deportation."
The Washington Post says that legal service providers have been assuring survivors that under laws governing domestic violence, they are not required to reveal their immigration status. This means either to 911, to law enforcement, or in court when seeking a restraining order, custody of child, or legal separation. But it’s hard to convince everyone.
Meanwhile, the police are being proactive in some counties, giving clear instructions to their force. The Washington Post reports: “Montgomery County and the District have explicit orders prohibiting local law enforcement officers from cooperating with ICE, while Prince George’s County, home to an estimated 80,000 undocumented residents, is working to finalize a similar policy. Police departments in Arlington and Fairfax have also said they do not intend to work with ICE on civil enforcement.
Read the reports:
The full survey: