By Katie Ray-Jones, CEO. Originally published at Huffington Post.
Over the last 24 hours, we’ve all heard reports that officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested an undocumented woman in El Paso, Texas, who had just received a protective order against her abusive partner. According to reports, ICE officers followed the woman into the hallway after her hearing, and appear to have been acting on a tip from her abusive partner as to her whereabouts.
This arrest sets a dangerous precedent and creates a chilling effect for all immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, further marginalizing them as they consider turning to law enforcement or the courts for help. Furthermore, it undermines protections in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that protect the confidentiality of immigrant victims and prevent ICE from engaging in enforcement activities in sensitive locations, such as a courthouse where a victim is seeking an order of protection.