Action Alert : Let Congress Know You Oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)!

Action Alert : Contact Your Members of Congress TODAY!

Congress Talks About Tax Cuts. What They Really Mean are Cuts to Crucial Programs for Victims and Survivors! 

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN CONGRESS RIGHT NOW

Congress will soon consider the so-called 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act' (TCJA) bill to 'simplify' the tax code. Sounds good, right? What they are not telling you is that, according to both the Tax Policy Center and the Center for Budget Policy Priorities' analyses, the benefits accrue mainly to the very wealthy and to corporations and will not lead to the job and wage growth the authors are claiming. Many low-and-middle income victims and survivors of domestic and dating violence will face new obstacles to financial safety-higher taxes that will leave them less money to establish financial independence and cuts to vital services.

Background

The TCJA:

  • Significantly decreases federal revenue will translate into steep cuts to discretionary funding. This includes programs such as VAWA, FVPSA, housing, etc. upon which victims and survivors rely;
  • Massively cuts taxes for corporations and the very wealthy while increasing taxes for 13 million families making less than $200,000 annually in 2019.  By 2027, taxes would increase for 35-38 million families making less than $200,000 annually;
  • Increases the deficit by an estimated $1.3 - $1.5 trillion over the next decade;
  • Makes it harder for victims and survivors to access self-sufficiency through education and for advocates to pay off their student loansby eliminating the student loan deduction;
  • Potentially eliminates the Affordable Care Act individual mandate, which is expected to leave 13 million Americans uninsured and raise the average insurance rate by 10%, even with the inclusion of funding intended to stabilize the market; and
  • Leads to a ripple effect in which states have to cut their funding social services, education, healthcare and other programs, because the increased federal tax burden will require states to cut taxes so low-and-middle-income families can make ends meet.

Please contact Jody Rabhan at the National Council of Jewish Women at jody@ncjwdc.org for more information.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

Contact your Members of Congress and tell them to protect survivors' safety and vote NO on the TCJA!!! You can find your Senators and their contact information here and their Twitter handles here. You can find your Representative and his/her contact information here and his/her Twitter handle here

OR, use Democracy.io, an easy-to-use "free speech" tool that lets you instantly send your message to your Members of Congress. This free service is from the Electronic Frontier Foundation; neither Democracy.io nor the EFF is affiliated with NCADV.

See below for sample scripts, emails/faxes, and social media posts.

Sample phone script:

My name is [your name], and I am a constituent calling from [your city and, if applicable, organization]. I am calling to urge [Member's name] to vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This regressive bill would make it impossibly difficult for survivors of domestic and dating violence to establish financial independence. The bill would raise taxes on many low-and-middle income families (which would significantly impact survivors, as well as the advocates who serve them) to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Any job and wage growth is anticipated to be minimal and will not offset the cost of the tax cut. Decreased federal revenue will lead to cuts to economic supports victims and survivors rely on to gain self-sufficiency and will translate into cuts to discretionary spending across the board, including cuts to VAWA and FVPSA. I oppose tax cuts for wealthy people and corporations on the backs of victims and survivors of domestic violence, and I urge [Member's name] to do so as well by voting no on the tax bill.

Sample Facebook Post: 

I am a constituent, and I oppose the 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act', which cuts taxes for wealthy people and corporations on the backs of low-and-middle-income families and victims and survivors of domestic violence. Due to decreased revenue, this regressive bill will translate into cuts to other programs on which victims and survivors rely, including VAWA, FVPSA, housing supports, and a number of economic supports that allow survivors to regain self-sufficiency.  This legislation will enrich the already wealthy and large corporations at the expense of hardworking low-and-middle-income Americans and victims of domestic violence. I urge you to OPPOSE this bill!

Sample Tweet (280 characters):

[Member's twitter handle] The #TaxPlan will further enrich the already wealthy and large corporations while leading to cuts in services that victims and survivors of domestic violence rely on such as #VAWA, #FVPSA, #housing and #healthcare. As a constituent I say  #VoteNo!

Sample Email/Fax:

Dear [Member's name],

My name is [your name], and I am a constituent from [city and, if applicable, program]. I am writing today to express my strong opposition to the 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act', which primarily benefits the wealth and corporations while harming victims and survivors of domestic violence and other crimes.  This regressive bill would raise taxes on many low-and-middle income families, balloon the deficit, and any job and wage growth is anticipated to be minimal.  Decreased federal revenue will lead to cuts to economic supports victims and survivors rely on to gain self-sufficiency and will translate into cuts to discretionary spending across the board, most likely including cuts to VAWA and FVPSA.  I oppose tax cuts for wealthy people and corporations on the backs of victims and survivors of domestic violence, and I urge you to do so as well by voting no on the tax bill.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Protect survivors from gun violence: Stop H.R. 38!

Action Alert: The U.S. House of Representatives wants to give domestic violence offenders the right to stalk and kill their intimate partners across state lines.

Protect survivors from gun violence: Stop H.R. 38!

Contact your Representative on TODAY!!! and urge them to oppose the bill!

Next week, the House is planning to vote on a bill that would make it terrifyingly easy for abusers to legally carry concealed firearms into other states when stalking their victims. H.R. 38, Representative Hudson’s (R-NC-08) ‘Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017’ would undercut existing state and local protections for victims of domestic and dating violence -- and replace those protections with the weakest gun laws in the country. It’s a race to the bottom. And survivors of domestic violence will be the losers.

In a sneaky attempt to pass the H.R.38, the House majority is bundling federally-mandated concealed carry reciprocity (CCR) with a bill that we do support, the Fix NICS Act of 2017 (H.R. 4477).   The combined measure would negate protections offered by the FIX NICS Act. Despite our support for Fix NICS, we vigorously oppose CCR, and we therefore we also adamantly oppose this ‘guns package’ and urge you to take action.

“Concealed carry reciprocity” is a complicated name for a law that would make it simple for abusers to threaten and harass -- and kill -- their intimate partners with firearms. H.R. 38 would force every state to accept other states’ concealed carry permits, even if the out-of-state permit was issued to a domestic violence offender who would be prohibited from obtaining such a permit in the travel state.  This is a clear violation of the Constitution’s recognition of states’ rights, and it is dangerous for victims of domestic violence.

Contact your Members of Congress NOW.  Click here to find your Representative.  You can find his/her Twitter handle here (scroll down for sample social media posts; hashtags #NoGuns4Abusers, #NoCCR, #NoHR38).  Tell them to vote NO on the gun package.  Use our sample scripts below or use your own!

Background:

Carrying concealed firearms makes it easier for abusers to go follow their victims without the guns being detected and the abuser apprehended.  Currently, every state has its own concealed carry permitting requirements. Some states’ firearms laws are more protective of victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, while other states provide almost no firearms protections for survivors.  Congress is negating protections that make domestic violence victims safer. Why would Congress take away these protections?

●       Survivors often relocate to other states to escape their abusers, sometimes seeking refuge in states that have stricter firearms protections.

●       Twelve states currently have no requirement that an individual must apply for and obtain a state permit to carry concealed firearms. Anyone in these states, regardless of prior acts of violence, can just pick up a gun, conceal it in their clothing, and go anywhere they want in the state. This could be the standard for the whole country if Congress passes these bills.

●       H.R. 38 would make it easy for domestic violence offenders who are ineligible for a permit in their states of residence to “shop” for states with weak concealed carry permit laws and to avoid being turned down for a concealed carry permit in a state that is more protective of survivors.

●       H.R. 38 has a provision that threatens law enforcement with lawsuits if they try to enforce their own state’s firearms laws that protect victims and survivors

●       If you have any questions, feel free to contact Rachel Graber at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence or Rob Valente at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Phone script: “My name is [your name], I am from [city and organization, if applicable].  I am a constituent, and I oppose H.R. 38, Representative Hudson’s bill that imposes federally-mandated concealed carry reciprocity on my state.  H.R.38 makes it harder for law enforcement to protect victims of domestic violence, puts victims of domestic violence and law enforcement officers at risk of gun violence, is a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of states’ rights, and makes our communities less safe.  House leadership has decided to bundle the Fix NICS Act with H.R.38.  Although I support Fix NICS Act, I adamantly oppose any gun package that includes concealed carry, and I very strongly urge Representative [your Representative’s name] to vote against the package!

Sample Email:

Dear Representative [Representative’s name],

My name is [your name], and I am a constituent from [your location and, if applicable, organization].  I strongly urge you to oppose H.R.38, which could have fatal consequences for victims and survivors of domestic violence.  H.R. 38, Representative Hudson’s federally mandated concealed carry reciprocity bill, would undercut existing state and local protections for victims of domestic and dating violence -- and would replace those protections with the weakest gun laws in the country!  Do you want to make it easier for domestic abusers to get guns and to terrorize, stalk, and kill their victims?

Currently, every state has its own concealed carry permitting requirements. Some states’ firearms laws are more protective of victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, while other states provide almost no firearms protections for survivors. Under the Constitution, each state has the individual authority to say who can and cannot carry concealed firearms within their borders. Under the Constitution, anyone traveling with a concealed firearm from their state of residence to another state must follow the concealed carry permit laws of the state to which they travel unless the two states have a reciprocity agreement.  This makes victims of domestic violence safer. Why would you support legislation to take away these protections?

H.R. 38 would force every state to accept other states’ concealed carry permits, even if the out-of-state concealed carry permit was issued to a domestic violence offender who would be prohibited from obtaining such a permit in the travel state.  This is a clear violation of the Constitution’s recognition of states’ rights, and it is dangerous for victims of domestic violence.

●       Survivors often relocate to other states to escape their abusers, sometimes seeking refuge in states that have stronger firearms protections.

●       Many states have stronger laws than the federal government, including prohibiting dating violence and stalking misdemeanants from possessing firearms and/or from carrying loaded, concealed guns in public.

●       Twelve states currently have no requirement that an individual must apply for and obtain a state permit to carry concealed firearms. Anyone in these states, regardless of prior acts of violence, can just pick up a gun, conceal it in their clothing, and go anywhere they want in the state. This could be the standard for the whole country if Congress passes these bills.

●       H.R. 38 would make it easy for domestic violence offenders who are ineligible for a permit in their states of residence to “shop” for states with weak concealed carry permit laws and to avoid being turned down for a concealed carry permit in a state that is more protective of survivors.

●       H.R. 38 has a provision that threatens law enforcement with lawsuits if they try to enforce their own state’s firearms laws that protect victims and survivors. This would punish law enforcement for doing their jobs -- and would put law enforcement officers in danger, as well as survivors.

●       State and federal firearms databases are not well-maintained or up-to-date. They don’t have the records needed to perform effective background checks in many cases. H.R. 38 depends on a fully functioning National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Unless Congress also provides sufficient funding to bring these databases up-to-date, there is no way for law enforcement to make sure domestic violence offenders are not carrying concealed firearms in violation of federal law.

The House will be voting on H.R.38, bundled with the Fix NICS Act.  While I support Fix NICS, I cannot support a gun package that includes CCR.  I oppose this package, and I urge you to oppose it, too! 

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Sample Tweet: @[Legislator’s Twitter handle] Fed-mandated concealed carry reciprocity harms victims of DV & endangers law enforcement. Vote NO on the gun package that includes HR38. #NoCCR #NoGuns4Abusers

Sample Facebook Post:  As a constituent, I ask you to oppose the upcoming gun package.  Federally-mandated concealed carry reciprocity makes it harder for law enforcement to protect victims of domestic violence, puts victims of domestic violence and law enforcement officers at risk of gun violence, is a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of states’ rights, and makes our communities less safe.  Any package with CCR is dangerous, and I very strongly urge you to oppose it.

Statement of the National Taskforce to End Sexual and Domestic Violence in Opposition to the Administration’s October 2017 Immigration Blueprint

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF)* opposes the Trump Administration’s immigration priorities for Congress, as announced on October 8, 2017.  Already, Administration policy changes have left immigrant survivors of sexual and domestic violence more vulnerable to threats from abusers and more fearful that they will be deported at any moment and separated from their children and communities. Studies show that they are now less likely to call the police for help or go to court to protect themselves and their children from abuse and violence. In this climate, the NTF calls on our nation’s policymakers to work together to uphold their commitment to all survivors – including through the protections of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) – and forge a bipartisan, humane national immigration policy. 

The Administration’s list of requests to Congress would roll back hard-won protections for women and children who have experienced violence both in the United States and abroad. Congress, through bipartisan action, has seen fit to offer pathways to immigration status as a means of protecting these survivors from further harm. The Administration now asks Congress to undo decades of progress toward humane polices that recognize the unique vulnerabilities of women and children who have experienced the trauma of violence and require immigration status to access safety.

Some of the Administration’s requests include:

  • Funding a southern border wall, which has been shown to be costly and unhelpful, while likely keeping out women and children fleeing high levels of violence who need and qualify for protection;
  • Expanding the inefficient and inhumane expedited removal system to fast-track deportations of even more individuals seeking protection, including children fleeing sexual violence and even death, without a meaningful court hearing;
  • Increasing barriers to survivors seeking asylum and fleeing for their lives, even though the standards for asylum and refugee processing are already exceedingly high;
  • Penalizing communities that enact community trust policies and adhere to Constitutional principles by coercing increased entanglement between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement, thus making it even less likely that immigrant victims and witnesses will reach out to law enforcement and further undermining public safety;
  • Undoing a previous settlement agreement entered into by the government in a federal court case that limited the jailing of immigrant children since it was found to be detrimental to their health and well-being; and
  • Increasing barriers to legal immigration status for large numbers of applicants, which will unfairly hurt immigrant families and harm America’s economy.

The requests incorrectly describe protections for women and children as exploited “loopholes” instead of attempts by Congress to ensure the safety of those who need it most. A recent survey of more than 700 advocates and attorneys revealed that immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are often afraid to come forward and access help.[1] Immigrant victims are expressing heightened fears and concerns about immigration enforcement, with 78% of advocates and attorneys reporting that victims are describing fear of contacting the police; 75% reporting that victims are afraid of going to court; and 43% reporting that immigrant victims are choosing not to move forward with criminal charges or obtaining protective orders.[2] No legislator willingly works against supporting victims of violence or preventing and ending domestic and sexual assault. We urge Congress to work to craft immigration relief that prevents future abuse and exploitation, promotes public trust, and makes communities safer. 

Congress should reject the White House’s October 2017 immigration principles, and work in a bipartisan manner towards the larger legislative reform of our nation’s immigration laws that is desperately needed to provide a just, common sense, and humane solution to the current crisis. As part of these efforts, Congress must protect and defend DACA recipients who were brought to this country as children and who are now living, working, and raising families in the United States. They should not be used as a bargaining chip to impose immigration policies that undermine protections for other groups of immigrants.

Advocates for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence have reported that DACA and other forms of immigration relief are critical to protecting our communities and helping survivors feel secure and stable so that they can rebuild their lives and be economically self-sufficient.[3]  Safeguarding DACA and other immigration relief will protect individuals from deportation and allow survivors and witnesses of crimes like domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking to feel safe to report crimes to police without fear that seeking justice will put them at risk of being deported.

The NTF urges Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017, granting legal status to young people who arrived in the United States before they turned 18, helping protect them from abuse and exploitation, and allowing them the opportunity to live and work in the United States permanently. Congress should reject the White House’s proposals that would roll back decades of work to establish protections for survivors of violence. And it must continue to work in a bipartisan manner to seek a more just and humane immigration system that protects survivors and strengthens families, communities, and the nation.

For more information, please contact Grace Huang, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence at ghuang@api-gbv.org, Archi Pyati, Tahirih Justice Center, at archip@tahirih.org, or Rosie Hidalgo, National Latin@ Network: Casa de Esperanza, at rhidalgo@casadeesperanza.org.

 

 

* The NTF is comprised of national, state, tribal, territorial and local leadership organizations and advocates working to end domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

[1] 2017 Advocate and Legal Service Survey Regarding Immigrant Survivors”, available at http://www.tahirih.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017-Advocate-and-Legal-Service-Survey-Key-Findings.pdf

[2] See, 2017 advocate survey, found at: http://www.tahirih.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017-Advocate-and-Legal-Service-Survey-Key-Findings.pdf.  See also, New Immigration Crackdowns Creating 'Chilling Effect' On Crime Reporting http://www.npr.org/2017/05/25/529513771/new-immigration-crackdowns-creating-chilling-effect-on-crime-reporting

[3] National Latin@ Network Casa de Esperanza, “Testimonies From the Field: Benefits of DACA for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence,” available at https://nationallatinonetwork.org/images/files/Quote_Sheet_for_Hill_Visits_2.pdf

Contact your Representative on OCTOBER 5 and urge them to oppose H.R.38!

Action Alert: The U.S. House of Representatives wants to give domestic violence offenders the right to stalk and kill their intimate partners across state lines. Protect survivors from gun violence:

Stop H.R. 38!

As our hearts go out to the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas and to their families and friends, we also grieve, on this Domestic Violence Awareness Month, for the approximately 470 women who have been killed this year by abusers with guns.  As we grieve, the House may vote on a bill that would make it terrifyingly easy for abusers to legally carry concealed firearms into other states when stalking their victims (this bill may also be added as an amendment to the SHARE Act – HR. 3668 - another very harmful bill that, among other things, deregulates silencers and aids gun traffickers, or to other legislation)H.R. 38, Representative Hudson’s (R-NC-08) ‘Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017’ would undercut existing state and local protections for victims of domestic and dating violence -- and replace those protections with the weakest gun laws in the country. It’s a race to the bottom. And survivors of domestic violence will be the losers.

“Concealed carry reciprocity (CCR)” is a complicated name for a law that would make it simple for abusers to threaten and harass -- and kill -- their intimate partners with firearms. H.R. 38 would force every state to accept other states’ concealed carry permits, even if the out-of-state permit was issued to a domestic violence offender who would be prohibited from obtaining such a permit in the travel state.  This is a clear violation of the Constitution’s recognition of states’ rights, and it is dangerous for victims of domestic violence.

Contact your Members of Congress NOW.  Click here to find your Representative.  You can find his/her Twitter handle here (scroll down for sample social media posts; hashtags #DVAM2017, #NoGuns4Abusers, #NoCCR, #NoHR38).  Use our sample scripts below!

Background:

Carrying concealed firearms makes it easier for abusers to go follow their victims without the guns being detected and the abuser apprehended.  Currently, every state has its own concealed carry permitting requirements. Some states’ firearms laws are more protective of victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, while other states provide almost no firearms protections for survivors. Under the Constitution, each state has the individual authority to say who can and cannot carry concealed firearms within their borders. Under the Constitution, anyone traveling with a concealed firearm from their state of residence to another state must follow the concealed carry permit laws of the state to which they travel unless the two states have a reciprocity agreement.  Congress is negating protections that make domestic violence victims safer. Why would Congress take away these protections?

●       Survivors often relocate to other states to escape their abusers, sometimes seeking refuge in states that have stricter firearms protections.

●       Many states have stronger laws than the federal government, including prohibiting dating violence and stalking misdemeanants from possessing firearms.

●       Twelve states currently have no requirement that an individual must apply for and obtain a state permit to carry concealed firearms. Anyone in these states, regardless of prior acts of violence, can just pick up a gun, conceal it in their clothing, and go anywhere they want in the state. This could be the standard for the whole country if Congress passes these bills.

●       H.R. 38 would make it easy for domestic violence offenders who are ineligible for a permit in their states of residence to “shop” for states with weak concealed carry permit laws and to avoid being turned down for a concealed carry permit in a state that is more protective of survivors.

●       H.R. 38 has a provision that threatens law enforcement with lawsuits if they try to enforce their own state’s firearms laws that protect victims and survivors. This would punish law enforcement for doing their jobs -- and would put law enforcement officers in danger, as well as survivors.

●       State and federal firearms databases are not well-maintained. They don’t have the records needed to perform an effective background check in many cases. H.R. 38 depends on a fully functioning National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Unless Congress also provides sufficient funding to bring these databases up-to-date, there is no way for law enforcement to make sure domestic violence offenders are not carrying concealed firearms in violation of federal law.

A note about the SHARE Act:

H.R.3668, Representative Jeff Duncan’s (R-SC-3) grandiously entitled ‘The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act’ (SHARE Act) is another harmful bill that would, among other things, deregulate silencers and weaken requirements for transporting firearms.  As one Congressman said in passing, only criminals would think this was a good idea.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Rachel Graber at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence or Rob Valente at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

 

Phone script: “My name is [your name], I am from [city and organization, if applicable].  I am a constituent, and I oppose H.R. 38, Representative Hudson’s bill that imposes federally-mandated concealed carry reciprocity on my state.  H.R.38 makes it harder for law enforcement to protect victims of domestic violence, puts victims of domestic violence and law enforcement officers at risk of gun violence, is a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of states’ rights, and makes our communities less safe.  I oppose H.R.38 as a stand-alone bill and/or as an amendment to other legislation and oppose H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act, which puts communities at risk by deregulating silencers and aiding gun traffickers.  I urge [name of Member of Congress] to oppose them as well.”

 

Sample Email:

Dear Representative [Representative’s name],

My name is [your name], and I am a constituent from [your location and, if applicable, organization].  I strongly urge you to oppose H.R.38, which could have fatal consequences for victims and survivors of domestic violence.  H.R. 38,  Representative Hudson’s federally mandated concealed carry reciprocity bill, would undercut existing state and local protections for victims of domestic and dating violence -- and would replace those protections with the weakest gun laws in the country!  Do you want to make it easier for domestic abusers to get guns and to terrorize, stalk, and kill their victims?

Currently, every state has its own concealed carry permitting requirements. Some states’ firearms laws are more protective of victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, while other states provide almost no firearms protections for survivors. Under the Constitution, each state has the individual authority to say who can and cannot carry concealed firearms within their borders. Under the Constitution, anyone traveling with a concealed firearm from their state of residence to another state must follow the concealed carry permit laws of the state to which they travel unless the two states have a reciprocity agreement.  This makes victims of domestic violence safer. Why would you support legislation to take away these protections?

H.R. 38 would force every state to accept other states’ concealed carry permits, even if the out-of-state concealed carry permit was issued to a domestic violence offender who would be prohibited from obtaining such a permit in the travel state.  This is a clear violation of the Constitution’s recognition of states’ rights, and it is dangerous for victims of domestic violence.

●       Survivors often relocate to other states to escape their abusers, sometimes seeking refuge in states that have stronger firearms protections.

●       Many states have stronger laws than the federal government, including prohibiting dating violence and stalking misdemeanants from possessing firearms and/or from carrying loaded, concealed guns in public.

●       Twelve states currently have no requirement that an individual must apply for and obtain a state permit to carry concealed firearms. Anyone in these states, regardless of prior acts of violence, can just pick up a gun, conceal it in their clothing, and go anywhere they want in the state. This could be the standard for the whole country if Congress passes these bills.

●       H.R. 38 would make it easy for domestic violence offenders who are ineligible for a permit in their states of residence to “shop” for states with weak concealed carry permit laws and to avoid being turned down for a concealed carry permit in a state that is more protective of survivors.

●       H.R. 38 has a provision that threatens law enforcement with lawsuits if they try to enforce their own state’s firearms laws that protect victims and survivors. This would punish law enforcement for doing their jobs -- and would put law enforcement officers in danger, as well as survivors.

●       State and federal firearms databases are not well-maintained or up-to-date. They don’t have the records needed to perform effective background checks in many cases. H.R. 38 depends on a fully functioning National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Unless Congress also provides sufficient funding to bring these databases up-to-date, there is no way for law enforcement to make sure domestic violence offenders are not carrying concealed firearms in violation of federal law.

For all of these reasons, I urge you to OPPOSE H.R.38 as a stand-alone bill and/or as an amendment to other legislation and to oppose H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act, which puts communities at risk by deregulating silencers and aiding gun traffickers.  The lives of women, children, men and law enforcement rest in your hands. 

Sincerely,

[Your name]

 

Sample Tweet 1: @[Legislator’s Twitter handle] Fed-mandated concealed carry reciprocity harms victims of DV & endangers law enforcement. #DVAM2017 #NoGuns4Abusers #NoHR38

Sample Tweet 2: @[Legislator’s Twitter handle] The SHARE Act, deregulating silencers & aiding gun traffickers, harms victims of DV #DVAM2017 #NoGuns4Abusers #NoHR3668

Sample Facebook Post:  As a constituent, I ask you to oppose federally-mandated concealed carry reciprocity.   It makes it harder for law enforcement to protect victims of domestic violence, puts victims of domestic violence and law enforcement officers at risk of gun violence, is a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of states’ rights, and makes our communities less safe.

NTF Denounces Shameful Rollback of Title IX by the Education Department

Yesterday, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) stood with survivors of sexual assault and dating violence outside the Antonin Scalia Law School as the U.S. Department of Education announced its shameful intention to roll back protections for survivors under Title IX of Education Amendments Act of 1972. The exclusion of survivors from the event, as well as the choice of venue, lead to the regrettable conclusion that the vital role the federal government has played in ending sexual violence in educational institutions and ensuring effective protection against discriminatory practices and policies that deny equal access to education is no more.  Yesterday's statements by Secretary DeVos send the wrong message to students who look to the Department of Education to have their backs when they are the victims of sexual harassment and violence. This also sends the wrong message to public schools, colleges and universities about their responsibility to enforce Title IX and other civil rights statutes. To be clear, however, Title IX remains the law of the land. 

The NTF calls upon Congress to use its oversight authority to ensure that the Departments of Education and Justice continue to fulfill their sworn obligations to safeguard the civil rights of survivors of violence, to ensure that no one is subjected to dating or sexual violence, harassment, discrimination, or denied equitable access to education in a federally funded institution based on their sex, gender identity, religion, race, language proficiency, disability or any other protected category.  

We stand ready to work with Congress on a bi-partisan basis --as we always have --to address the needs and concerns of survivors of violence. And we stand committed to the philosophy that a process that does not center the needs of all survivors – women and men, immigrant, LGBTQIA, people of color, and/or disabled -- and respect their voices is no process at all.

For more information, contact Lisalyn Jacobs

National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence condemns the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville and calls for unified efforts to end racism, abuse, and oppression

Washington, D.C. — The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) denounces the acts of hatred, violence, terrorism and bigotry carried out by white supremacy and neo-Nazi organizations and sympathizers who assembled in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend. The NTF is comprised of national, state, tribal, territorial and local leadership organizations and advocates working to end domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

The actions of these hate groups make clear that their vision for the United States includes enshrining white male dominance over people of color and women, contempt and hatred for non-Christian religions, mass intimidation through the brandishing of weapons, and the invoking of symbols associated with racial terror. Having a permit did nothing to change that reality or to legitimize their dangerous ideology. Furthermore, when James Fields, a neo-Nazi who stood alongside other white supremacists extolling hatred earlier in the day, later rammed his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters, injuring many and killing Heather Heyer, the response from leaders of the white supremacist movement illustrated their rank misogyny and echoed the victim blaming that survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault encounter every day.

From our decades of work to end gender-based violence and oppression, we recognize that the recent visible demonstrations of racism, bigotry, and white supremacist organizing are just the latest manifestations of our country’s long and complex history of individual and institutional racism. Additionally, we recognize that the impact of racism and oppression is not limited to conduct carried out by extremists.

We are appalled by the moral failure of the President in responding to these events and are deeply concerned that the rhetoric and actions of this Administration have further emboldened the conduct of white supremacists in a way that puts many individuals and communities in danger, and risks undermining the core values to which our nation must aspire. We call on Congress, political leaders at the state and local level, and the President of the United States to exert the moral leadership necessary at this critical juncture in our nation’s history to clearly denounce the actions of the KKK, neo-Nazi organizations, and white supremacist groups.  

It is extremely dangerous when our political leaders use rationalizations to excuse the conduct of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who espouse dominance, hatred and violence toward Black communities, Jewish communities, immigrant communities, and other specific groups of people whom they consider to be inferior. Inevitably, this kind of hateful rhetoric is an incitement to violence.

The work of ending domestic violence and sexual assault is, at its core, an effort to end the harm caused when one person exerts dominance over someone else through tactics of abuse and control. However, with the passage of time it has become more evident that incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault do not occur in a vacuum, and that efforts to prevent and end gender-based violence require a larger societal commitment to end abuse and oppression in all its forms, and particularly at the intersections. Additionally, studies show that mass killers and those who commit acts of terrorism are often terrorists in their own homes and relationships long before unleashing their terror on the outside world.

The quest to end domestic violence and sexual assault is inextricably linked with the quest to end racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, xenophobia, religious bigotry toward Jewish and Muslim communities, and other forms of oppression toward marginalized communities, including immigrant and Native American communities. It also requires acknowledging and addressing the historical trauma experienced by these communities, as well as the detrimental impact and trauma caused by current experiences of racism and other forms of oppression. Finally, it requires both state and federal governments to thoroughly examine their role in the oppression of these marginalized communities, and to commit to meaningful and enduring reforms.

Moreover, as a society we must recognize that to support Confederate statues as memorials in important shared public spaces is to literally choose to “put on a pedestal” those who decided to go to war against the United States in their efforts to maintain the right to subjugate, abuse and enslave Black communities for their own gain and to benefit the economic foundation upon which this country was built. As a society, it is time to acknowledge that those are not the individuals we need to continue to glorify, especially if we want to move our nation towards its aspirational goals of equality and justice. We are not saying that this history should be erased or ignored, quite the contrary—it is through continuing to learn the lessons from history that we can support the values and the principles that we must build on.

Inevitably, ending racism and other forms of dominance and oppression toward marginalized communities will come when everyone, particularly those in dominant groups, commit to doing the hard work of addressing implicit and explicit bias at the individual and organizational level, as well as commit to dismantling systemic racism and oppression at the local, state, and national level.

We acknowledge that the movement to end domestic and sexual violence has much more work to do to live up to these ideals.  We call on all people involved in the movement to actively engage in anti-racism efforts, to show up and have the difficult and necessary conversations, to acknowledge the historical trauma and present-day impact of white supremacy and other forms of bigotry, and to unify in our efforts to end all forms of abuse and oppression.  In so doing, we stand together with other activists and organizations to continue to work passionately for gender, racial, economic, and social justice for ALL.

It is the obligation of every person who wishes to live in a free, pluralistic, and civil society to condemn neo-Nazis’ reprehensible speech and actions. More than this, we must engage our neighbors, families, friends, political representatives, and community members in dialogue about how we as a society can:

  • Build healthy, safe, and respectful relationships across differences in our families and communities and interrupt racism and oppression as active bystanders in our daily lives;
  • Acknowledge the United States’ devastating history of oppression, which has accrued significant economic benefits for some off of the labor and pain of others, while also striving to fulfill the aspirations of our nation to extend equal rights to each person, uphold human rights, and make peaceful democracy vital and real;
  • Continue working for equity and economic and social justice so that all people have access to what they need, not only to survive but to thrive in their lives;
  • Create spaces in which people of varied religions, races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, and abilities, can come together in our common humanity and strive together for the common good and universal human dignity; and

Find additional ways to stand up for civil and human rights, such as utilizing these action steps from The Leadership Conference.
 

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Groups Warn that House-Passed Health Bill Would Harm Victims of Domestic and Sexual assault, Urge Senate to Reject the AHCA

As national organizations working to end domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States, we are very disappointed that the House of Representatives passed a bill that puts the lives, safety and health of victims at risk.

Members of Congress who voted for this bill voted against some of our nation’s most vulnerable women and children. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) would prevent many domestic violence and sexual assault victims from getting the medical and behavioral health services they need because it allows states to waive essential health benefits, which mandate coverage for mental health care and other critically important services. It would make buying insurance more expensive and increase out-of-pocket expenses, which would push coverage out of reach entirely for some middle- and low-income victims. And it would give abusers another tool with which to threaten and control their families because its continuous coverage requirement means coverage would be unaffordable for people who lose their employer-sponsored health coverage.

We are particularly concerned this bill will return us to the days when rape or domestic violence could cause higher premiums, making victims uninsurable. We must not be fooled by the last minute change ostensibly protecting people with pre-existing conditions. By allowing individual insurers to decide how much to charge, insurance companies may simply price people right out of care with outrageous premiums.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of four American women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime, with 70 percent of victims first experiencing abuse before the age of 25. Nearly 23 million women have been the victim of rape or attempted rate in their lifetime, with 40 percent experiencing the assault before the age of 18.   

Finally, while providing significant tax cuts for the wealthy, this bill would phase out federal funding for the Medicaid expansion, affecting millions of low income people currently enrolled under the expansion, and would significantly reduce overall federal funding for Medicaid by turning it into a block grant program.

We urge the Senate to reject this attempt to repeal the protections and services that are so critical to domestic and sexual assault victims and their families.

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Letter to the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security to Protect Access to Safety and Justice for Immigrant Survivors of Gender-Based Violence

The National Taskforce to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF), comprised of national leadership organizations advocating on behalf of sexual and domestic violence survivors and representing thousands of allied organizations and advocates, condemns recent statements from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that seriously undermine important protections for immigrant victims of gender-based violence and that curtail their ability to seek safety through the courts.  We call on DHS to recognize that immigrant survivors deserve access to safety and justice, and we request that DHS meet with representatives of our member organizations to discuss ways to ensure that ICE policies and procedures do not deter survivors of domestic and sexual violence from accessing critical protections.  

We are very concerned that the recent letter issued by DHS Secretary Kelly and Attorney General Sessions to the Chief Justice of California, dated March 29, 2017,[1] a recent statement by a DHS spokesman to the Washington Post[2] regarding ICE’s courthouse enforcement policies, and confirmation on April 5 by Secretary Kelly during Senate testimony that DHS will apprehend immigrant victims of crime at courthouses, fail to take into consideration the detrimental impact of these policies on immigrant victims and witnesses. They also fail to take into consideration special remedies and confidentiality protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking created by Congress under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which were both reauthorized in a bipartisan fashion by Congress in 2013. Given the breadth of the current ICE enforcement priorities, there will be victims detained and removed who are eligible for immigration relief. DHS should not allow survivors to be detained or removed before they are able to obtain immigration protections afforded them by Congress.  

Furthermore, we are deeply concerned that enforcement activities conducted at places where victims and witnesses seek assistance will undermine public safety for all by discouraging others from seeking protection and participating in criminal processes to hold perpetrators accountable. In the past several weeks, police chiefs and prosecutors have already noted steep  reductions in the reporting of domestic violence and sexual assault crimes to law enforcement.[3]

When ICE enforcement increased significantly after 2007, including through the expansion of the Secure Communities and 287(g) programs, it had a detrimental impact on numerous victims and witnesses and ICE eventually took steps to address this situation. ICE issued a policy memorandum, dated June 17, 2011, entitled “Prosecutorial Discretion: Certain Victims, Witnesses and Plaintiffs” (Victim Witness Memo).[4] This memorandum reminds ICE officials of existing protections under VAWA and under the TVPA and states that “Absent special circumstances or aggravating factors, it is against ICE policy to initiate removal proceedings against an individual known to be the immediate victim or witness to a crime.” Furthermore, the Victim Witness Memo states:

“To avoid deterring individuals from reporting crimes and from pursuing actions

to protect their civil rights, ICE officers, special agents, and attorneys are reminded to

exercise all appropriate discretion on a case-by-case basis when making detention

and enforcement decisions in the cases of victims of crime…”[5]

ICE’s recent positions on protections and processes for immigrant survivors have been inconsistent and confusing and makes our communities and survivors less safe. In recent media articles highlighting growing fears among immigrant victims to seek protection, ICE indicated that the prior guidance about prosecutorial discretion for victims remains in effect.[6] However, subsequent statements from a different DHS spokesperson, David Lapan, on April 4, 2017, as well as the testimony of the DHS Secretary in a Senate hearing before the Homeland Security Committee on April 5, 2017, suggest otherwise.

The confusion regarding the status of existing ICE processes and procedures not only impacts the ability of our organizations to provide accurate information to survivors who are seeking assistance, but also affects survivors directly. If victims feel the court is an unsafe place for them to seek protection out of fear of deportation, they will choose not to report sexual assault or choose to stay with abusive partners, where they and their children endure increased violence.

On March 8, 2017, over 560 national, state, and local organizations signed a letter sent to Secretary Kelly and Acting ICE Director Homan expressing concerns about the detrimental impact of recent DHS policy changes on immigrant victims.[7] The NTF calls on Secretary Kelly and Acting Director Homan to:

·         Meet with representatives of our member organizations to discuss the intent of VAWA to help immigrant victims access safety and justice and to discuss the impact of ICE’s practices on survivors of violence; and

·         Provide clear guidance, both to the public and to ICE officials nationwide, that the 2011 ICE Victim Witness Memo remains operational and should be  implemented by ICE officials when interacting with victims and witnesses. 

We also call on the Administration and Congressional leaders to stand up for immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence and oppose ICE’s role in undermining VAWA and TVPA protections and reducing the ability of immigrant victims to seek safety.

For more information, please contact Grace Huang, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, at ghuang@api-gbv.org ; Rosie Hidalgo, Casa De Esperanza: National Latin@ Network, at rhidalgo@casadeesperanza.org ; or Archi Pyati, Tahirih Justice Center at ArchiP@tahirih.org.

 

[1] Letter from Secretary Kelly and Attoney General Sessions to Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, March 29, 2017, found at https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3533530/Attorney-General-and-Homeland-Security-Secretary.pdf

[2] DHS spokesman David Lapan failed to acknowledge any special considerations when ICE agents arrest a victim or witness and said tha that the factors that could lead ICE agents to arrest a victim or witness “could be any number of things – again, the categories that we’ve talked about that make them subject to arrest or potential removal still apply to somebody who might him or herself be a victim.”  See Devlin Barrett, “DHS: Immigration agents may arrest crime victims, witnesses at courthouses”  Washington Post. April 4, 2017. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/dhs-immigration-agents-may-arrest-crime-victims-witnesses-at-courthouses/2017/04/04/3956e6d8-196d-11e7-9887-1a5314b56a08_story.html

[3] Heidi Glenn, “Fear Of Deportation Spurs 4 Women To Drop Domestic Abuse Cases In Denver” NPR. March 21, 2017. Available at: http://www.npr.org/2017/03/21/520841332/fear-of-deportation-spurs-4-women-to-drop-domestic-abuse-cases-in-denver.    See also James Queally,“Latinos are reporting fewer sexual assaults amid a climate of fear in immigrant communities, LAPD says” Los Angeles Times March 21, 2017. Available at: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-immigrant-crime-reporting-drops-20170321-story.html  See also Brooke A. Lewis, “HPD Chief Announces Decrease in Hispanics Reporting Rape and Violent Crime Compared toLast Year.” Houston Chronicle. April 6, 2017. Available at: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/HPD-chief-announces-decrease-in-Hispanics-11053829.php

[4] Memorandum from John Morton, Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “Prosecutorial Discretion: Certain Victims, Witnesses, and Plaintiffs,” 10076.1 (June 17, 2011). Available at: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/secure-communities/pdf/domestic-violence.pdf

[5] Id at 2.

[6] Tyler Kingkade, “Domestic Abuse Victims Aren’t Coming Forward Because They’re Scared Of Being Deported” Buzzfeed. March 16, 2017. Available at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/tylerkingkade/under-trump-domestic-abuse-victims-are-more-afraid-of-being?utm_term=.yuR99PpQ0M#.kjPnnMzP7y “(reporting that an ICE official “…said that the 2011 directive that advises immigration officers to use discretion when dealing with abuse victims remains in effect. ‘Particular attention is paid to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking or other serious crimes,’ Jennifer D. Elzea, acting press secretary for ICE, told BuzzFeed News in a statement.”) See also Nora Caplan-Brickler. “I Wish I Never Called the Police” Slate.  March 19, 2017. Available at: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2017/03/u_visas_gave_a_safe_path_to_citizenship_to_victims_of_abuse_under_trump.html (reporting that “ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett told me that the 2011 policy remains in effect and that ICE ‘will take into consideration if an individual is the immediate victim or witness to a crime, in determining whether to take enforcement action.’” 

[7] See March 8, 2017 Sign on Letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly and Acting ICE Director Thomas HomanAvailable at: http://www.asistahelp.org/documents/news/Sign_on_Letter_to_DHS_and_ICEProtec_AD96AD5C060E1.pdf

Statement on Proposals Seeking to Undermine Community Trust Policies

As the Steering Committee of the National Taskforce to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF), comprising national leadership organizations advocating on behalf of sexual and domestic violence victims and women’s rights, we represent hundreds of organizations across the country dedicated to ensuring all survivors of violence receive the protections they deserve. For this reason, we write to express our deep concerns about the potential impact that proposals that seek to undermine community trust policies will have. Proposals that weaken community trust policies will be dangerous for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and trafficking, and in particular, for immigrant victims, and communities at large.

Undermining policies that local jurisdictions have determined are constitutionally sound and appropriate for their respective communities decreases the ability of law enforcement agencies to respond to violent crimes and assist all victims of crime, U.S. Citizens and immigrants alike. As recognized in the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), law enforcement plays a critical role in our coordinated community response to domestic and sexual violence.

Perpetrators use fear of deportation as abuse. Local policies that minimize intertwining of local law enforcement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) help bring the most vulnerable victims out of the shadows by creating trust between law enforcement and the immigrant community, which in turn help protect entire communities.[1]  Abusers and traffickers use the fear of deportation of their victims as a tool to silence and trap them. Not only are the individual victims harmed, but their fear of law enforcement leads many to abstain from reporting violent perpetrators or coming forward and, as a result, dangerous criminals are not identified and go unpunished.

Community trust policies are critical tools for increasing community safety. Laws that seek to intertwine the immigration and law enforcement systems will undermine the Congressional purpose of protections enacted under VAWA and will have the chilling effect of pushing immigrant victims into the shadows and allow criminals to walk on our streets. As VAWA recognizes, immigrant victims of violent crimes often do not contact law enforcement due to fear that they will be deported. According to a study conducted by the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Latin@ Network: Casa de Esperanza, 45% of the foreign-born callers expressed fear of calling and/or seeking help from the police or courts.[2]  Furthermore, 12% of US-Born callers expressed fear of seeking help due to the current wave of anti-immigrant policies. Immigrants are already afraid of contacting the police and these policies to further intertwine immigration and law enforcement systems will only exacerbate this fear.  The result is that perpetrators will be able to continue to harm others, both immigrant and U.S. Citizen victims alike.

Recent Immigration Executive Orders are Undermining Victim Protections in our Communities Since January, victim advocates are describing the immense fear expressed by immigrant victims and their reluctance to reach out for help from police. Advocates at domestic violence programs in jurisdictions with large undocumented populations are reporting a “large drop in the number of women coming in for services,” indicating victims are not pursuing criminal charges against abusers or moving into domestic violence shelters.[3] Advocacy programs are reporting significant increases in calls from immigrant victims, many of whom are seeking information on the advisability of working with law enforcement and prosecution given their fear of deportation in light of the Executive Orders. Other advocates are reporting a drop in the number of victims seeking accompaniment to work with police and seek protection orders. Thousands of victim advocates nationwide are reporting that they are uncertain how to best advise immigrant survivors about what will happen if they call the police or go to court.

Recent reports from law enforcement officials confirm this widespread fear and uncertainty. In Los Angeles, Police Chief Charlie Beck has reported that his city is already seeing evidence of this increased fear: Reports of sexual assault have dropped by 25 percent and domestic violence by 10 percent among the Latino population since the beginning of the year.[4] In Denver, Colorado, City Attorney Kristin Bronson reported that since the issuance of the interior enforcement Executive Order, four domestic-violence victims have declined to pursue charges against their abusers out of fear of  deportation.[5] The Travis County, Texas District Attorney similarly reported that at least one domestic violence case there recently stalled because the victim declined to press charges out of fear of deportation.[6]   When victims are afraid to come forward, abusers and perpetrators will be able to continue to harm victims with impunity and our entire communities are affected.

For these reasons, we urge you to affirm the intent and spirit of VAWA by supporting strong relationships between law enforcement and immigrant communities, which is critical for public safety in general, and particularly essential for domestic and sexual violence victims. Thank you very much for your efforts to protect and support immigrant of domestic violence and sexual assault.

For more information, please contact Grace Huang, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence at ghuang@api-gbv.org, or Rosie Hidalgo, National Latin@ Network: Casa de Esperanza, at rhidalgo@casadeesperanza.org.

Sincerely,

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence

 

[1] A study conducted by the University of Illinois- Chicago found that increased involvement of local police and immigration enforcement eroded trust between the police and immigrants, undocumented and documented. 45% of documented immigrants were less likely to report a crime while 70% of undocumented immigrants responded similarly. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/sanctuary-cities-public-safety-kate-steinle-san-francisco.
See also, http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/01/29/512002076/why-sanctuary-cities-are-safer.

[2] http://www.nationallatinonetwork.org/images/files/HotlineReport_2_2015_Final.pdf; http://nomore.org/nomas/ http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/7112130?

[3] Tyler Kingkade, Trump Deportation Vow Is Scaring Domestic Abuse Victims From Coming Forward, Buzzfeed News (Mar. 16, 2017), http://bzfd.it/2nNRX9L.

[4]James Queally, Latinos are reporting fewer sexual assaults amid a climate of fear in immigrant communities, LAPD says, L.A. Times (Mar. 21, 2017), http://lat.ms/2nPwdva.    

[5] Mark Joseph Stern, Bad for Undocumented Immigrants, a Gift to Domestic Abusers, Slate.com (Mar. 8, 2017), http://slate.me/2mZlJvS

[6] Nora Caplan-Bricker, I Wish I’d Never Called the Police, Slate.com (Mar. 19, 2017), http://slate.me/2mYrYgC.

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Condemns the Detention of an Immigrant Transgender Victim of Domestic Violence in El Paso, and Calls for Her Immediate Release

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (“NTF”), comprised of national leadership organizations advocating on behalf of sexual and domestic violence victims and women’s rights, including immigrant and LGBTQ organizations, strongly condemns the recent detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers of an immigrant transgender woman and victim of domestic violence who was in court seeking a protection order from her abusive partner in El Paso, Texas. This was made worse by the fact that, according to news reports of the incident, ICE officers appear to have been tipped off to her whereabouts by her abuser. This arrest sets a dangerous precedent and creates a chilling effect for all immigrant survivors of sexual and domestic violence, further marginalizing them as they consider reaching out to law enforcement or the courts to seek help.

For transgender women, who experience disproportionately higher rates of domestic violence, and often experience discrimination and violence when attempting to access services, this injustice is life-threatening. Transgender women too often experience sexual violence, maltreatment, and other forms of violence while in detention facilities. Because of these realities, this arrest and detainment is an utterly deplorable and harmful response to her request for help.

Perpetrators of domestic violence use a wide range of abusive behaviors to try to control their partners and prevent them from seeking help. In the case of immigrant and undocumented survivors, abusers often exploit their immigration status as a tool of control, threatening to report them to ICE, to have them deported, and to separate them from their children. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), originally passed in 1994 and most recently reauthorized in 2013, recognizes the acute challenges faced by immigrant and undocumented survivors and provides important protections for them to come forward to be able to seek safety and to hold perpetrators accountable. This includes VAWA provisions to protect the confidentiality of immigrant victims and prevent ICE from engaging in enforcement actions in sensitive locations, such as a courthouse where a victim is seeking an order of protection, and to prevent them from doing so based on information furnished by an abuser. These provisions recognize that abusers leverage victims’ fear of ICE to prevent victims from seeking help, and seek to prevent ICE from being a tool of abuse. The most recent re-authorization of VAWA, also included nondiscrimination protections for LGBT survivors.

The NTF is gravely concerned that the case in El Paso will have a chilling impact on immigrant survivors of violence, forcing them to stay with abusive partners and endure increased violence out of fear of deportation. Furthermore, recent Executive Orders calling for increased law enforcement involvement in deportation efforts will further drive immigrant victims and witnesses into the shadows. This only reinforces the power dynamic of abusers and undermines public safety.

The NTF calls on Congressional leaders to stand up for immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence and condemn ICE’s unconscionable role in undermining VAWA protections and reducing the ability of immigrant victims to seek safety.

For more information, please contact Grace Huang, Asian Pacific Institute on
Gender-Based Violence, at ghuang@api-gbv.org, Rosie Hidalgo, Casa De Esperanza,
at rhidalgo@casadeesperanza.org, or Terra Slavin, Los Angeles LGBT Center, at
tslavin@lalgbtcenter.org