We at the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice are outraged by the Administration’s asylum and immigration policy changes. We stand with immigrant and refugee survivors and their families, and we commit ourselves to collective action that puts an end to this state-inflicted humanitarian crisis, that mitigates the trauma that so many have already suffered, and that realigns our nation’s policies with morality, human dignity, and love for those who are most vulnerable to violence.
This moral crisis offers each of us an opportunity to assess where we are and what resources and relationships we have, so that we can effectuate powerful change. Many have asked for information about the policies and for concrete action steps to assist you in this effort. This News & Action Alert is just one effort to respond to your call to action.
Erika Sussman, Executive Director
Last week, the Trump Administration made two key policy changes that negatively affect immigrant survivors of violence:
- New policy that separates parents and children at the border—The Trump administration implemented a “zero-tolerance policy” which prosecutes as many border crossing offenses as possible, regardless of whether they cross the border alone or with children. Because children are not allowed to be detained along with their parents, there has been a rapid increase in the number of family separations. The Department of Homeland Security reports that in the six week period between April and May, there were almost 2,000 separations.
UPDATE: Though the Trump Administration announced that they would be suspending this process, we are not aware of active efforts by the Administration to reunite families that have already been separated. We are also concerned that the Administration’s plans appear to include detaining families together. This could result in a number of undesirable outcomes, including prolonged detention, or expedited deportation. A preferable outcome would be to return to the previous process of releasing families pending a thorough investigation of and hearing on asylum or other claims.
- Decision by Attorney General Sessions to narrow asylum eligibility and make it much more difficult for immigrant survivors of domestic/sexual violence — On June 11, 2018, Attorney General Sessions applied a rare function which allows him to intervene in individual cases within immigration court. Sessions overturned a grant of asylum for a Salvadoran woman who was raped and beaten by her husband for 15 years. This decision could potentially have an irreversible impact on the way in which the United States treats immigrants pursuing protection from domestic violence, gang violence, and many other criminal activities that fall outside of the realm of government persecution.
The U.S. House of Representatives is voting on several problematic immigration proposals as early as this afternoon. Click here for further details and information regarding how to contact your Representatives and oppose these measures.
What You Can Do
- Sign Change.org’s petition
- Take the #StandWithImmigrants Pledge
- Join an event with Families Belong Together
- Defend Refugee Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors
Join and Support a Mass Mobilization on June 30th in Washington DC
- Join a march on Washington and Families Belong Together rally led by MoveOn and others. Distributed actions will be planned across the country.
- To partner on the DC event or 6/30 distributed events, HERE
Other DC Specific Opportunities
CAIR COALITION DETENTION CENTER VISITS (Whole Day Committment)
- We are in need of volunteers to join our visits to Farmville and Snow Hill this summer. This includes performing legal intake interviews with new detainees and conducting case follow-up sessions with CAIR’s current clients. A list of available dates to go to immigrant detention centers is below.
- Email Nora, and when you respond, please also let Nora know if you speak any languages other than English. If you have not yet attended a jail visit volunteer training, but would like to join us on a visit, please let Nora know. We are scheduling our next training for later this month
- For Farmville visits, determine if you have a car or would need a ride
CAIR COALITION DETENTION CENTER HOTLINE (2 Hour Commitment)
We rely on volunteers to staff our detention hotline. Detainees wishing to contact CAIR Coalition may call the detention hotline for free. The volunteer will be in charge of answering phones and helping detainees connect with their attorney free of charge using our conference system, conducting phone intakes, and providing information about our upcoming jail visits, procedures, and follow-up messages.
- When: Shifts are available Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm.
- Time commitment: Volunteers will staff this hotline in 2-hour shifts, but may sign up for multiple shifts in a row.
- Where: The 3rd floor of CAIR Coalition’s downtown office, at 1612 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
- How to sign up: Follow this link to our Google doc sign-in and fill in your name for all shifts you are able to help us. If this is your first time, send Kate Lappin an email with the date and time of your first shift so that we can make sure someone is here to train you.
CARECEN CITIZENSHIP TEACHER TRAINING (repeating 2-hour commitment)
CARECEN’s 12-week citizenship courses are co-taught by pairs of passionate and dedicated volunteers.
RSVP to the training of your choice: * Saturday, June 16 2pm-4pm * Tuesday, June 19th 6:15-8:15 pm
WHERE: CARECEN’s office (1460 Columbia Rd NW)
WHAT: The training will include an overview of the citizenship process and basic eligibility requirements, the format of the naturalization interview and test, and an introduction to the CARECEN class structure. The upcoming course will run July-September. Interested teachers must attend a training, and can send their application and/or RSVP to the training
INTERPRETER AT CITIZENSHIP WORKSHOP (Half-day Commitment)
- WHEN: Saturday, June 30, 2018
- TIME: 9:00am-1:00pm (Breakfast will be provided)
- WHERE: WilmerHale Law Firm (1875 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006)
Confirm your participation by 5:00pm on Monday, June 25, 2018, by e-mail
MAKE A DONATION TO KIND (Kids in Need of Defense)
If you don’t have time to volunteer, consider making a donation to KIND, to support legal fees for unaccompanied children who would otherwise be forced to attend their immigration proceedings alone.