LatinaLista — The Obama administration has set as one of its goals for immigration enforcement a program to be adopted nationwide that partners local police with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
The original intent behind this program, known as Secure Communities, was to help local law enforcement rid from their streets criminals who were undocumented immigrants. However, there has been such widespread abuse and misinterpretation of the program that anyone, regardless of criminal history and who is undocumented, is automatically turned over to ICE.
Organizations that work with undocumented immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence have seen an increase in fear among their clientele. Abused women are opting to endure their violence in silence because they know a call to the police will only get them deported and separated from their children and families.
Domestic violence advocates are finding that in mixed-status relationships, where the man is a legal resident or citizen and the woman is not, that the man will hold that over the woman as a license to abuse her by threatening to call the police so ICE can pick her up.
New Mexico is one of the latest states to sign on to the program. In the hopes of raising awareness of the true impact of the immigration enforcement program and hoping to rescind it, Enlace Communitario, an Albuquerque-based non-profit that works with undocumented victims of domestic violence, launched a campaign today to show how these policies are working against these innocent women and their children.
The heart of the campaign is a short video titled “Broken Trust.” In the film, victims of domestic violence are interviewed about their feelings calling the police knowing that law enforcement is partnering now with ICE.
The reluctance expressed by each woman is frightening because they literally have no route to get the help every woman deserves — regardless of citizenship status — when they’re being used as personal punching bags by their abusers.
Any law that fails to protect the most vulnerable isn’t a good law at all.