16 Feb STATEMENT: ICE detains woman seeking domestic abuse protection


For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 16, 2017

Contact: Zenén Jaimes Pérez, Communications Director
Phone: 512.474.5073 ext. 116
Email: zenen@texascivilrightsproject.org

STATEMENT: ICE detains woman seeking domestic abuse protection


El Paso, TX – Federal immigration agents arrested an immigrant woman at the El Paso County Courthouse who was seeking a protective order against her live-in partner.

Immigrants are uniquely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and many are reluctant to report the abuse because of possible immigration concerns. Abusers often try to control their partners by threatening to report them to immigration authorities, particularly Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. The court where county officials say the detention happened is a place where immigrant victims are already hesitant to go.

This arrest not only affects clients’ willingness to report abuse and crimes but also interferes with the ability of immigration attorneys and accredited representatives to effectively represent their clients.

The Texas Civil Rights Project has been fighting for the rights of immigrant communities in Texas since our inception. We remain committed to the safety and security of immigrants and their families.

Mimi Marziani, Executive Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, said:

“Everyone should feel safe to seek help from the courts when they are suffering domestic violence, regardless of their immigration status. ICE’s action today is certain to make our communities less safe, as immigrant members of those communities will be less likely to report crimes against themselves and others. It’s an affront to human dignity and to justice.

In response to new threats to immigrant communities, our team will double-down on our efforts to vindicate civil rights and empower immigrant victims of abuse.”

The Texas Civil Rights Project uses legal advocacy to empower Texas communities and create policy change. In its twenty-five year history, TCRP has brought thousands of strategic lawsuits, defending voting rights, fighting institutional discrimination, and reforming systems of criminal justice. Today — with dozens of high-caliber attorneys and professionals in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley, and an extensive network of pro bono counsel and community allies — TCRP is among the most influential civil rights organizations in the Lone Star State.