Sunday, 27 May, 2018

ICE Arrests Transgender Woman Seeking Help for Domestic Violence

Protest against President Trump Protest against President Trump's immigration policy and the recent ICE raids in New York City Feb. 11 2017
Alfredo Watts | 17 February, 2017, 00:59

Reports emerged Wednesday that immigration and customs enforcement agents arrested a domestic abuse survivor last week inside the El Paso, Texas courthouse where she had just moments before been granted a restraining order against her alleged abuser, the El Paso Times reported. Federal agents received a tip that the woman was back in the United States, possibly from her alleged abuser, who is in custody, El Paso County attorney Jo Anne Bernal said.

US immigration officers last week arrested more than 680 people they said were in the country illegally in a broad enforcement action that alarmed immigrant rights groups.

News of the woman's detainment has concerned many El Paso residents, who fear it will discourage undocumented victims of violence from seeking legal protection. Bernal said she wasn't aware of the complaint.

The victim is now being held at the El Paso County Jail under a federal ICE detainer.

His executive actions on immigration have expanded the definition of criminality, broadening the number of people who can be targeted as deportation priorities.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that more than 680 immigrants were arrested in a "targeted enforcement operations" across several cities in the US, from Los Angeles to Chicago to New York City, reports Politico. "One of the things that really worries me is that it only takes one isolated incident like this..."

Bernal is trying to mitigate the situation and ease anxiety, she told The Post, by reaching out to Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Tex.), an El Paso native.

"I can not recall an instance where ICE agents have gone into the domestic violence court, specifically looking for a victim of domestic violence", she said. She said similar pamphlets were distributed in the 1990s after agents started asking students' immigration status near Bowie High School, which lies within shouting distance of the Mexican border.

The criminal complaint alleges that Gonzalez, who is transgender, was staying at a shelter for victims of sexual and family violence, and that she was arrested on the street.

According to Bernal, even the smaller scale incidents, like the arrest of the transgender woman in her court, instill fear in the nation's many immigrants.