Raise your voice against unjust immigration raids that violate the due process rights of victims of gender-based violence!
This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated a series of raids nationwide to round up and deport Central American families who recently arrived in the United States seeking protection.
An estimated 90% of these families have bona fide claims for humanitarian protection. Many of those being rounded up and sent to jail-like detention centers for deportation are women and children fleeing gender-based violence. These survivors have experienced or witnessed rape, abuse, sexual violence, extortion, and gang-sponsored violence in some of the most dangerous countries in the world, including Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Conditions in these countries are only growing more dangerous, and it is becoming increasingly perilous to force women and children to return. Their lives are at risk!
Imagine an armed agent forcing himself into your home as you try to get your child ready for school, or at night as you tuck her into bed.
Reports on immigration raids describe Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents misrepresenting themselves as police (either in uniform or plainclothes) and using fear tactics to enter homes, many times without a warrant. For survivors of violence doing everything they can to find safety, this is a deeply traumatizing experience. Many have a profound fear of law enforcement and violence due to violence and corruption suffered in their home countries, and experiencing it again in America — where they have created safety and community for themselves — is certain to have a devastating effect on their mental and physical well-being.
The victims of these traumatizing raids often missed their court dates because they were given improper or inadequate instructions on the asylum process by DHS or contractors. Others performed poorly in hearings due to lack of legal representation, which has been proven to be the single most important factor in predicting success in a request for asylum.
About 73% of mothers facing deportation never find a lawyer. Without one, they almost always fail. Little more than 1% will find protection in the United States, according to research from Syracuse University. With help from the NGO community, as well as access to an attorney, many more of these women and children would succeed in their claims for humanitarian protection.
Please don’t stand by and let this happen in the United States, a country with a rich history as a beacon of hope for refugees from around the world.
It is unfair and unjust to put traumatized women and children at risk of re-traumatization in ongoing raids. And it is irresponsible, un-American, and contrary to this nation’s obligations under international law to repatriate them to countries with escalating levels of gender-based violence.
Please join Tahirih Justice Center in telling Homeland Security to stop these raids immediately and grant full due process, including release from detention, access to an attorney, and a hearing before an immigration judge, for those who have been arrested thus far.
We have already sent a letter of opposition to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, but we need more voices to make the most impact! In our letter, we requested a meeting with Homeland Security as soon as possible, and we want to let them know just how many people oppose their unjust actions.
THANK YOU! You responded at a critical moment, and because of your support, we have been able to gather nearly 400 signatures in opposition to inhumane immigration raids in our neighborhoods. Please read the latest on our efforts in the Miami Herald, sign up to receive news on our progress, or stay tuned to our website for updates.