Sens. Harris and Cortez Masto, Leader Pelosi, Leading Women’s Advocates Demand Trump Administration Stop Attacking Immigrant and Asylum-Seeking Families
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Leader Nancy Pelosi and Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) joined moms, leading women’s advocates, and caregivers outside the U.S. Capitol today to show support for immigration and refugee policies that protect the rights and safety of women and children. In conjunction with the event, dozens of women’s group are submitting a letter to congressional leaders urging them to engage in aggressive oversight and enact legislation that affirms the dignity of immigrant women and children. The groups are calling for the Trump administration to stop separating families, end the detention of pregnant women, and maintain the right of women seeking to escape domestic violence to be granted asylum.
At the event, organized by MomsRising, MomsRising member Izabel Solis of San Diego shared the story of her sister, an immigrant who was detained for six weeks last summer while pregnant. Her sister was separated from her husband and three young daughters and taken to a detention center run by a for-profit company ill-equipped to look after a pregnant woman. She was denied basic medical care and forced to do hard labor with unsafe products, despite the potential harm to her and her baby. She has since been reunited with her family and her baby is healthy, but she remains emotionally traumatized by the experience.
“Make no mistake, when pregnant immigrant women are being detained, and denied the health care they need, it’s a women’s issue,” said MomsRising Executive Vice President Donna Norton. “When asylum-seeking parents fleeing gangs and state-sponsored violence come here only to be torn apart from their children – and when children are purposefully separated from moms by our government – it’s a women’s issue. When our country detains women who are fleeing brutal domestic violence at the courthouse door, it’s a women’s issue. MomsRising members are both outraged and heartbroken by how our government is targeting the women among us who are immigrants and asylum-seekers.”
“AAUW is proud to be part of a community committed to increasing opportunities for all women and girls and one that fights for the civil and human rights of all Americans,” said Deborah J. Vagins, senior vice president of public policy and research at the American Association of University Women (AAUW). “We are a nation of immigrants and our education system, workplaces, communities, and economy are stronger because of their contributions. This country is great because of our diversity, not in spite of it. President Trump's decision last fall to end DACA was both morally and fiscally irresponsible. We call on Congress to pass the DREAM Act. We urge our lawmakers to protect those who dream of a better life and to keep the doors of education and equal opportunity open for all.”
“No woman -- regardless of where she’s born -- deserves to be beaten, raped or killed,” said Kiersten Stewart, director of public policy and advocacy at Futures Without Violence. “This administration is playing right into the hands of abusers with these barbaric and cruel policies. By making women and children afraid to reach out for help, they are making all of us less safe. Futures Without Violence stands with all immigrant survivors. We will not give up until all families are free to live their lives together with dignity and love.”
“The Trump Administration is systematically working to decimate a system of basic protections for unaccompanied children and immigrant families based on fundamental child welfare principles that will result in the United States returning children and families to grave harm and even death, to countries with the highest murder rates of women and girls in the world,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “We are rescinding our leadership as a nation that protects children, wherever they are from, and forsaking the values that are the bedrock of who Americans are as a people.”
“The US government is implementing horrific practices at the southern US border that are causing great harm to children and families seeking protection through the legal process of asylum,” said Diana Bate Hardy, co-founder of Mormon Women for Ethical Government. “How can we not speak out against this kind of callousness toward human suffering? Voters must make it known to every candidate campaigning for their vote that ethical, compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform is a major factor in determining who will receive their support in November.”
“Policies that demonize immigrants force immigrant victims and survivors of domestic violence into the shadows, putting them at risk for continued and escalating violence and providing abusers with a powerful tool of coercive control. As a result of current anti-immigrant policies, fewer immigrant victims and survivors are seeking services and fewer are reaching out to law enforcement for help,” says Ruth Glenn, president and CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Furthermore, Attorney General Sessions’ decision to review a longstanding ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals establishing severe domestic violence with no access to safety as a cause to grant asylum is extremely troubling; a reversal will put countless lives in danger.”
“The National Council of Jewish Women has long worked at the intersection of women’s rights and immigrant rights, and we know that to separate families, shut out those seeking refuge, and detain children is an affront to both our American and Jewish values,” said Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women. “The Torah teaches that we are all created b’Tzelem Elohim, in the image of god – all people deserve to live full lives without fear of deportation and family separation.”
“Perpetrators of domestic violence often exploit victims’ immigration status to terrorize and silence them.” Said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “Current immigration policies are driving victims into the shadows and into the increased control of dangerous abusers. It is unconscionable for our policies to jeopardize the safety and well-being of victims, their families, and their communities.”
“At the National Partnership, we believe that actions speak louder than words, and the Trump administration’s actions in separating asylum-seeking parents from their children and detaining pregnant immigrant women are cruel and demonstrate disregard for the health and well-being of women and children,” said Sarah Fleisch Fink, general counsel and director of workplace policy at the National Partnership for Women & Families. “We stand with immigrant women and their families and our partner organizations in calling on Congress to promote the best interests of all families. We often hear words about ‘family values.’ We need actions that demonstrate that our elected leaders really value families.”
“Make no mistake, the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing practices of separating families and locking up pregnant women continue to be a brazen effort at deterrence that forces women to choose between violence at home and cruelty at our shores,” said Katharina Obser, senior policy advisor at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “No one seeking protection for their family should have to fear being torn apart from their child or being locked up while pregnant when seeking asylum.”
“The Trump administration continues to target immigrant women and their families,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, YWCA USA CEO. “As a result, immigrant women face horrific injustices -- mothers are torn from their children, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are denied protection, and pregnant women are detained despite obvious health risks. If the administration does not care about immigrant women, then it does not care about women, full stop. Immigrant justice is gender justice and the YWCA stands with women and families.”