No Hate. No Fear.
The violence and trauma enacted upon immigrant communities has become increasingly visible at the forefront of conversations on race, citizenship, and criminalization. Immigration is a historical norm in this country, as are deep-rooted anti-immigrant sentiments and legislation that criminalizes immigrants, particularly immigrants of color. In this moment, our country and our communities must confront these historical injustices as we exist in a political environment that exponentially strengthens and emboldens anti-immigrant attitudes and policies. In light of heightened anti-immigration efforts and emboldened xenophobia and openly racist behavior and violence in this country, we at YWCA reassert our support for sanctuary policies and our commitment to standing in solidarity with immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, and communities of color facing the very real threat of racist and xenophobic attacks.
The immigration policies of this Administration continue to increase policing and surveillance of immigrant families and communities of color, on the borders and across the United States — in schools, courthouses, workplaces, and more:
- The Administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which immediately placed 800,000 young people at risk of deportation.
- The Administration’s “Muslim travel ban,” which banned travel from 5 majority-Muslim countries, leaving immigrants, refugees, and families exposed to further racial profiling by the federal government.
- An increase in Immigration and Custom Enforcement arrests in courthouses, even of domestic violence survivors testifying against their abusers, and of other crime victims.
- The Administration’s adoption of a “zero-tolerance” prosecution policy, which led to thousands of children being traumatically taken from their parents’ arms and separately detained in facilities that have been compared to internment camps. Thousands of families continue to be separated.
- The President’s Executive Order claiming to end the practice of family separation through indefinitely detaining families together, which ran afoul of current domestic and international law. Further, the order failed to provide any guidance as to how separated families would be reunited.
- The Administration’s proposed addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census, which would jeopardize the accuracy of the census in every state by deterring many from responding, especially immigrant and noncitizen communities.
- The Proposed “Public Charge Rule,” which would significantly harm immigrants, their families and communities; disproportionately impact people of color, and harm survivors of gender-based violence by deterring otherwise lawfully-eligible individuals from accessing a broad range of health, nutrition, housing, and other critical supports.
- The President’s public statement that he is considering an Executive Order to end birthright citizenship.
Families fleeing violence, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, people seeking asylum in the United States, and immigrant youth all deserve opportunity and safety, but are being punished instead of aided, and thus their lives are increasingly put at risk. All immigrants, regardless of status, and communities of color deserve to be safe, healthy, and treated with dignity and respect.
YWCAs across the country have always opened their doors and provided resources to women, children, and families in need. We have always pressed forward and demanded change. From YWCA El Paso del Norte Region to YWCA Brooklyn, we continue that important legacy today by offering support to immigrant families impacted and traumatized by cruel anti-immigrant policies. We are seeing the impact of these immoral immigration practices every day as the immigrant women and families we serve refuse to participate in lifesaving programs and services due to the fear of detention or deportation.
YWCA demands policy solutions that will ensure that women, children, and families seeking safety and opportunity in the U.S. can arrive and live without fear, harm, or discrimination, including:
- The Dream Act
Congress must pass a clean Dream Act to provide legal status and a permanent pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
- An End to Family Separation and the Immediate Reunification of Families
The Administration must act immediately to permanently end the separation of children from their families and to reunify families separated at the border and around the country due to the Department of Justice’s zero-tolerance policy and other harmful immigration policies.
- An End to Detention of Children and Families
Family detention is not an acceptable solution to family separation; families belong together and free. Additionally, the safeguards guaranteed in the Flores settlement that protect the health and welfare of children and prevent their indefinite detention must be upheld. Effective alternatives to detention exist that will ensure both the safety of families and their appearance in court as their immigration and asylum cases proceed.
- An End to the “Zero-Tolerance” Policy
Parents should not be criminally prosecuted for trying to bring their children to safety.
- Trauma-Informed Care for Impacted Children and Families
A serious investment in a comprehensive treatment plan is necessary to address the long-term negative impacts of trauma and harm caused to children and families by recent and ongoing family separation policies and practices.
- Oversight and Accountability
Comprehensive oversight and accountability mechanisms must be created to ensure that families are immediately reunited and removed from detention.
- Safety and support for Victims of Violence
All claims for asylum and refugee status due to violence must be fully and appropriately reviewed and considered.
- An End to Policies and Practices That Criminalize People of Color
All policies and practices that criminalize immigrant families, people of color, and other marginalized communities must be eliminated.