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Please contact the White House and tell the administration that these executive orders on immigration put women and girls fleeing violence at risk of rape, torture, and death.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Jan. 25, 2017

Vulnerable women and children fleeing violence will be hindered from receiving the legal protection they are entitled to as a result of new executive orders

This afternoon, President Trump signed executive orders that significantly shift U.S. immigration policy and will make it difficult for immigrant women and children who are entitled to protection under well-established current law to access those protections. Without these protections, immigrant women and children will be more vulnerable to exploitation as victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, rape, and gender-based persecution.

The Tahirih Justice Center, which has provided legal defense to over 20,000 immigrant women and children fleeing violence over the last twenty years, is concerned that the provisions in today’s orders, as well as a third executive order expected to be signed tomorrow, will keep thousands who merit legal protection under our laws from accessing it.

Among many provisions of concern, Tahirih highlights the following:

  • Barring refugees based on their country of origin or religious affiliation will leave women and girls fleeing gender-based violence and entitled to refugee status with no protection. Women and children who desperately need protection from gender-based violence come from around the world, including from majority Muslim countries. We must protect survivors of gender-based violence of all faiths from around the world who seek refuge in the United States.
  • Requiring local law enforcement to engage in federal immigration enforcement will prevent women and children experiencing abuse, human trafficking, and other forms of violence from calling 911 for fear of deportation. Our communities will be less safe as victims and witnesses of crime are unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement. All victims must be able to pick up the phone and call 911, regardless of immigration status.
  • Requiring the continued jailing of traumatized mothers and children at our southern border who have valid claims for asylum as they flee Central American countries with levels of violence that exceed Syria, while their case is adjudicated in a system that is currently backlogged as long as 5 years for the first hearing, is inhumane and in contradiction with our legal obligations.
  • Reallocating immigration judges to detention facilities will dramatically increase the long backlog of immigration cases pending across the country, making it harder for those entitled to protection under our laws to receive it.

“The executive orders dial back years of progress and put women and girls fleeing violence in a very precarious position, one in which many will face being denied safety or protection when they need it most,” said Archi Pyati, Chief of Policy and Programs at Tahirih.

“The orders represent a departure from decades of a bipartisan commitment to welcoming and protecting those who need safe harbor and are not sound policy from a moral, legal, ethical, or fiscal standpoint,” she said.

Tahirih will continue to monitor policy shifts that impact women and girls fleeing violence and advocate for the United States to honor its legal obligations to protect those fleeing human rights abuses.

Archi Pyati, Chief of Policy and Programs, or Layli Miller-Muro, Chief Executive Officer, are available for comment on this topic. Please contact rebekahs@tahirih.org to arrange an interview.

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