DearColleague.us

Letter

Pramila Jayapal

From the office of:

Pramila Jayapal

Sending Office: Jayapal, Pramila
Sent By: Jennifer.Chan@mail.house.gov
Request for Signature(s)

Dear Colleague,

Please join us in sending a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly requesting more information on the implementation of Executive Orders titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” and “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” as they relate to victims of violence. Specifically we would like to know if these orders:

  • Endanger longstanding U.S. protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes
  • Reduce the likelihood that victims will report crimes that they experience or witness; and
  • Undermine the purpose of the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victim Protection Act (TVPA), among many other federal and state laws enacted to protect victims.

In 2000, Congress reauthorized the VAWA through the TVPA and expanded protections for immigrant victims of violence. Specifically, Congress created the U and T Visa programs to “strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate, and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking…and other crimes…committed against aliens, while offering protection to victims of such offenses in keeping with the humanitarian interests of the United States.”[1] In doing so, Congress recognized that many immigrants are vulnerable to abuse when their ability to gain immigration status is in the control of their abuser.

To sign on, please fill out this form: goo.gl/co3gkD, or if you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Chan with Rep. Jayapal at Jennifer.Chan@mail.house.gov or Gabriella Boffelli with Rep. Ros-Lehtinen at Gabriella.Boffelli@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

 

Pramila Jayapal                                                           Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

[1] P.L.No. 106-386, 114 Stat. 1464,§1513(a)(2)(A).

 

The Honorable John F. Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20528

Dear Secretary Kelly:

We write to express our concern that the Executive Orders titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” and “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” endanger longstanding U.S. protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes; reduce the likelihood that victims will report crimes that they experience or witness; and undermine the purpose of the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victim Protection Act (TVPA), among many other federal and state laws enacted to protect victims.

In passing VAWA, Congress recognized that immigration laws foster the abuse of many immigrants by placing their ability to gain immigration status in the control of the abuser.[1] Furthermore, Congress created the U and T visa programs in 2000 to “strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate, and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking…and other crimes…committed against aliens, while offering protection to victims of such offenses in keeping with the humanitarian interests of the United States” based on findings that “all women and children who are victims of crimes [including domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking] in the United States must be able to report these crimes to law enforcement and fully participate in the investigation of the crimes committed against them and the prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes.”[2]

In an effort to ensure that the before mentioned protections remain in place for this vulnerable population, we request that you provide the following information:

  • A detailed description of any change in DHS, since January 19, 2017, that allows for DHS agents to detain a victim or witness of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, or other enumerated crime listed in INA §101(a)(15)(U), and under what conditions.
  • A detailed description of how DHS, and specifically ICE, conducts oversight of its enforcement actions, including as it pertains to individuals enumerated in 8 USC §1367 or in locations enumerated in 8 USC §1229(e), including individuals who were detained “collaterally” to other enforcement targets.
  • A copy of any written policies or standard practices DHS, and specifically, ICE agents use to guide their actions when they are presented with information about a potential victim by individuals described in 8 USC §1367.
  • A description of how the Executive Order pertaining to interior enforcement will be implemented by local DHS and ICE agents as it relates to victims and witnesses who may fall into the enumerated enforcement priorities, and what guidance local DHS and ICE agents were provided on this matter.
  • A detailed description of how the Executive Orders pertaining to both interior and border enforcement will address training, policy, and protocol development relating to individuals eligible for protections afforded under VAWA and the TVPA in DHS’ expansion of INA §287(g) agreements and reinstatement of the Secure Communities program.
  • A detailed description of how the Executive Order pertaining to interior enforcement will be implemented as it relates to the Privacy Act and personally identifying information about non-citizens who may be victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking or other crimes, but not yet identified or otherwise indicated as a victim in DHS’ record systems.
  • A detailed description of how the Executive Order pertaining to interior enforcement will be implemented as it relates to the proposed Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office, and non-citizen victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes and witnesses who are potentially eligible for protections under the VAWA, TVPA, SIJ, and other humanitarian immigration protections.

We hope that the Department will carefully consider the impact changes to enforcement policy have on victims of violence going forward. Although this is an issue that we strive to address year-round, we hope that the Department will pay particular attention to this issue as we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

 

Cc: Thomas Homan, Acting Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement


[1] See H.R. Rep. No. 395, at 26-27 (1994).

[2] P.L.No. 106-386, 114 Stat. 1464,§1513(a)(2)(A).

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information:Homeland Security, Immigration, Judiciary