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President Obama’s executive order on immigration will bring some relief to families, but additional measures and reform are needed

Tahirih Justice Center welcomes President Obama’s announcement last week to guard the safety and unity of immigrant families.

“The President’s action to support immigrant families is an important step in the right direction,” said Layli Miller-Muro, Tahirih’s Founder and Executive Director. “We are thrilled for the relief this will bring to millions of immigrants in the U.S. and applaud the President’s commitment to ensuring, among others, that U.S. citizen and permanent resident children don’t need to worry every day about their parents being deported.”

Women and children are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking when they are undocumented and unable to find work, and offering temporary status should offer a much needed life-line to those who qualify. As a series of memoranda issued by the Obama Administration on Friday outlines, parents and children who meet specific criteria and pass background checks will be eligible to apply for deferred action, a temporary status that alleviates the risk of deportation for three years, grants work authorization, and may allow for advance permission to travel. In addition, changes to border and enforcement plans are contemplated, the details of which are not yet clear.

Tahirih notes that additional measures are needed before the all immigrant women and children, including refugees and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, are fully protected in the U.S. Some of these actions can still be taken by the Administration, such as ensuring fairness in adjudicating claims for asylum by women and children seeking refuge and allowing the parole into the U.S. of immediate family members of those who have already demonstrated their qualification for U visas. This includes victims of domestic and sexual violence who have cooperated with law enforcement to prevent crime in our communities. Additional reform by Congress would go far in making our immigration system more efficient and just, offering far-reaching protections to women and children fleeing gender-based violence.

“We are confident that the Administration’s plan will bring some relief to the families and communities that will be affected, and that it will help many women and children to protect their safety and dignity,” said Tahirih’s Director of Public Policy, Archi Pyati. “Still, we will continue to seek better legal protections, a more efficient system, and more humane policies to guarantee the human rights of our clients, courageous immigrants fleeing gender-based violence.”

MEDIA CONTACT: For more information or to arrange an interview with one of our immigration experts, please contact Tahirih Communications Manager Marlena Hartz at marlenah@tahirih.org or 571-282-6191.

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