Legally Brief: Clarifying the Immigration Crisis, For Now…

Wow. Is it just me or is something happening nearly every day when it comes to immigration? We think it’s important to understand what is happening so that we can find meaningful ways to take action together. ICADV believes families belong together, and the immigration system should be used to reunite families and keep them safe. Here’s an update on where things stand:

The U.S. Turns its Back on Domestic Violence Victims

On June 11, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions found that a domestic violence victim from El Salvador would not qualify for asylum, even though her own country had failed to protect her. Over the past two decades, the United States has provided a safe haven to many of these women through its asylum laws. The State Department’s human rights reports routinely criticize other countries for their lack of protections for domestic violence survivors, and U.S. asylum laws have evolved over the years to account for the multiple forms of persecution that victims may suffer – including persecution at the hands of a private actor – when their governments fail to provide protection. This radical decision made by the current administration will undoubtedly result in death or significant harm to some of the world’s most vulnerable women: victims of domestic violence who live in countries that do not, or cannot, protect them from their abusive partners.

Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s Travel Ban

On Jun 26, the Supreme Court upheld the third version of President Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. from five mostly Muslim countries. The court’s 5-4 conservative majority found that the administration was within its authority over immigration, and that the President’s previous statements claiming that Muslims pose a dangerous to the U.S. did not make the policy an unconstitutional example of religious discrimination. The decision came after more than a year of legal wrangling started days into Trump’s administration. In a searing dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor linked the decision to Korematsu v United States, the 1944 ruling that endorsed detention camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Judge Gives Trump Administration 30 Days to Reunite Migrant Families

Also on June 26, a U.S. District Court Judge in San Diego rules that the federal government cannot separate migrant children from their parents and gave immigration authorities 30 days to reunited families that have been split up during the current administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy. In that ruling, the judge also said children under 5 must be returned to their parents within just 14 days. According to the Washington Post, more than 2,500 children were separated from their parents, and just over 2,000 remain in detention centers or with foster families. The ruling came days after the President called for a halt to the separations, following an escalating bipartisan outcry.

What to Do

  • Contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators and urge them to work to reunite families as quickly as possible and keep families together. Urge them to not support detaining families. Ask them to vote for the Keep Families Together Act.
  • Write directly to the White House and to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
  • Attend a “Families Belong Together” Rally near you on June 30th. The Indianapolis Rally starts at 10:00 am.
  • Work with local community organizations and faith-based groups that support immigrant and refugee families.
  • Learn about the countries that immigrants and refugees are fleeing from.
  • Talk with your family about immigration – explore your own family history and find out why your family moved to the United States for a better future.
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