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Friday, February 17, 2017

Trans DV Survivor Seized at Courthouse in Nationwide ICE Sweep

Trans DV Survivor Seized at Courthouse in Nationwide ICE Sweep

Last week, six Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stormed into the 10th floor of the El Paso County Courthouse and apprehended an undocumented transgender Latina moments after she was granted a domestic violence protection order.

In addition to being outrageously disturbing on its face, the courthouse arrest caused county officials to worry that it will deter other victims of domestic violence from coming forward, leading them to remain in unsafe situations for fear of being deported and separated from their children or loved ones.

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects, arrests of LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence rose from 17% reported in 2014 to 31% in 2015, while intimate partner violence (IPV) among LGBTQ people involving an undocumented survivor more than doubled during that time. Undocumented LGBTQ survivors often fear anti-LGBTQ bias and deportation if they interact with the criminal legal system, which creates a barrier to reporting and seeking assistance.

Nearly seven in ten (68%) of undocumented respondents to the U.S. Transgender Survey reported experiencing some form of IPV, compared to 54% of the overall sample, which is already significantly higher than the overall population. In addition, many transgender immigrants arrived in the U.S. fleeing life-threatening persecution in their countries of origin. Transgender people are often held for months or even years in ICE detention, where they face a terrible risk of sexual abuse.

This case is just one of the more than 700 arrest made by ICE agents in recent days of undocumented immigrants, including parents of young children  who received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The recent raids have spread a wave of fear within immigrant communities and outrage by public officials, faith leaders, and activists—including NCTE—who find the approach of President Trump’s deportation force alarmingly inhumane, disgraceful,  fiscally irresponsible, and at odds with our values as Americans.

Despite claims from the administration that these steps are necessary to protect our national security, the reality is that these measures make our country less safe. Having immigrants too scared to “say something” when they “see something” doesn’t help any of us. The latest arrests come on the heels of the President’s Muslim ban executive order, currently enjoined by a federal court, as well as attacks on asylum-seekers and refugees.

At NCTE, we stand firmly against attacks on our immigrant and Muslim communities by the Trump administration. At NCTE we celebrate the contributions that immigrants have made to our country and we will continue to fight on behalf of these communities reject false attempts to categorize these communities as threats. NCTE will continue to work with advocates and LGBT communities across the country to fiercely resist attacks on any community in this country. 

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