Q&A for Advocates and Attorneys Serving Immigrant Survivors of Gender-based Violence
Friday, December 9th, 2016
This is a Question and Answer (Q&A) for domestic violence and sexual assault (DV/SA) victim advocates and attorneys who are serving immigrant survivors of gender-based violence, both undocumented survivors and survivors who may be eligible for VAWA self-petitions, U visas, T visas or applying for gender-based asylum. Keep in mind that this information may change as we learn more about the plans of the incoming administration. This document is not legal advice or authority, but rather, it is for informational purposes only, not for media distribution.
Why is this important for survivor safety?
President-elect Trump pledged to make several sweeping changes to immigration policy within his first 100 days.2 Several of those changes are related to the potential termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and increased enforcement and stricter penalties for those with criminal records and those who re-enter after a previous removal order. As of right now, we do not know whether the incoming administration will be specifically looking to make changes to survivor-based immigration relief. Nonetheless, staying informed about the national and local law enforcement policies and practices is essential to safety planning with survivors of gender-based violence (domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking). If you are a victim service provider who works with immigrants and want more information about local law enforcement immigration policies and practices, please contact the Domestic and Sexual Violence Coalitions in your state.
Questions this document answers:
- I’ve heard about President-elect Trump’s plan for increased immigration enforcement. What does this mean for survivors of gender-based violence who are undocumented?
- President-elect Trump has said he wants to end so-called “Sanctuary” Cities. What does this mean and what does it mean for survivors?
- Will there be a change to ICE’s policy regarding enforcement actions in sensitive locations, like shelters?
- Will contacting law enforcement to report crimes or to get a certification of helpfulness in investigating or prosecuting a crime be more dangerous now?
- If President-elect Trump cancels Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), what does that mean for VAWA self-petitioners, those on the U waitlist with deferred action or eligible T visa applicants?
- How will President-elect Trump policies affect survivors of gender-based violence seeking asylum?
This document was prepared by Americans for Immigrant Justice, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, ASISTA Immigration Assistance, Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network; Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Freedom Network USA, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Immigration Center for Women and Children (ICWC), Julie Marzouk Assistant Clinical Professor, Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, National Immigrant Justice Center, Tahirih Justice Center, We Belong Together.