María Bolaños has been fighting her deportation for more than a year, since a fight with her husband when she called the police to report that she was a victim of domestic violence. The police arrived at her home and, suspecting her of illegally selling phone cards, ordered her arrest.
Her case is the most well known, but activists say all programs that mix police work with immigration enforcement represent a growing threat to immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence.
“The Department of National Security hasn’t been very effective in identifying victims of domestic violence, even those who have already gotten benefits, such as suspension of deportation under the law VAWA (Violence Against Women Act),” Leslye Orloff, director of the immigrant women’s program at Legal Momentum, said recently before Congress.
With the expansion of the Secure Communities program, which is now operating in every county in California, along with 1,000 counties across the country, that danger is even greater, Orloff said.
Undocumented immigrants who have been victims of domestic violence can apply for residency without a sponsor, through the U Visa and T Visa programs. These are laws that benefit survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, among other violent crimes.
But when a domestic violence victim calls the police to report a violent incident, police often arrest both the victim and the perpetrator, especially if the couple doesn’t speak English and there is confusion about what happened.
Activists in defense of immigrant women say this shows how dangerous these programs are for public safety, especially in immigrant communities.
"Our poor neighborhoods are full of immigrants; they don’t have the level of police protection. There is simply nothing more critical than the trust between the immigrant and the authorities," said Enid Gonzalez, a member of
Deported U.S. Veterans create art on border wall
“They released me like a baboon into the wild,” said Murillo, 35.
His deportation was scheduled for noon, yet it was nearly midnight when he crossed into his country of birth and realized that he had nowhere to go.
The U.S. Navy veteran felt abandoned by the government for which he had ...
President Obama’s visit sparks binational protests
During President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Mexico, hundreds of migrants and rights activists in four cities protested Obama’s deportation policies and called for inclusive, comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.
The Mesoamerican Migrant Movement joined Familia Latina Unida ...
Latinos at higher risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease
It is estimated that Parkinson’s Disease (PD) affects over one million people in the US, with an estimated 60,000 new patients diagnosed each year. Studies reveal that Latinos have higher rates of developing Parkinson’s than other ethnic minority groups, at nearly double the rate. However, ...
Why Guantanamo hunger strike could be the last
SC: Why did you call your memoir "The General"?
AE: Because I was one of a limited number of prisoners at Guantanamo who spoke English, I was often forced to be an "unofficial leader" by guards and interrogators. They nicknamed me "the general."
SC: How were you released?
AE: I was released ...