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On March 28, the Tahirih Justice Center’s Chief of Policy and Programs, Archi Pyati, testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on the impact of the January 25 Executive Order on interior enforcement on immigrant survivors of gender-based violence.

At the hearing, Pyati detailed the importance of trust in local law enforcement to the protection of immigrant survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault. The January 25 Executive Order puts this trust in doubt, as victims and witnesses fear that seeking critical protections will result in their own detention and deportation.

A bond of trust between law enforcement officers and residents of the communities they protect is crucial for the safety of our communities. When witnesses and victims trust law enforcement, officers are better able to investigate and prosecute crime.

As Pyati explained in her written testimony, “when local officials enforce federal immigration law, immigrants are deterred from contacting local officials – be it an emergency room or by dialing 911 – out of fear that doing so will result in detention and deportation.” This leaves crimes unreported and law enforcement unable to obtain vital witness testimony.

“The difficult truth is that policies like Secure Communities and 287(g) will not effectively prevent crime. Instead, they leave perpetrators on the streets,” said Pyati at the hearing.

“I urge Congress to avoid crafting policies that seem like they could enhance safety, but will in fact have exactly the opposite impact.”

Watch Pyati’s testimony here. The full hearing can be viewed here.