Advocates demand immediate release of undocumented transgender woman and survivor of domestic violence
NATIONAL - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs and Transgender Law Center denounce the arrest by immigration authorities of an undocumented transgender woman who is a survivor of domestic violence, and call for her immediate release. She was detained last week in an El Paso, Texas courthouse immediately after she was granted a protective order against her abusive partner.
NCAVP's data shows that transgender women experience high rates of domestic violence and often experience discrimination and violence when attempting to access services. Additionally, transgender women in immigration detention often experience sexual violence, maltreatment, and other forms of violence. Because of these realities, this arrest and detainment is an utterly deplorable and harmful response to her request for help.
This January, Transgender Law Center launched an emergency response project, the Trans Immigrant Defense Effort (TIDE), devoted to expanding legal support for transgender immigrants in the face of new attacks.
"Our government's actions send the message to transgender people that we are disposable and do not deserve dignity or safety," said Isa Noyola, Director of Programs at Transgender Law Center. "The community already has limited access to resources when we face violent attacks, particularly by intimate partners. At a time when we grieve murder after murder of transgender women of color, it is unconscionable that a transgender woman would be detained and punished for seeking safety for herself. The community, now more than ever, needs to organize to protect our most vulnerable, in particular transgender immigrant women who are surrounded by violence on a daily basis."
"Arresting survivors when they are accessing domestic violence protections will only continue to discourage survivors from reaching out for support, especially if they are undocumented," said Emily Waters, Senior Manager of National Research and Policy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. "All survivors, including undocumented transgender survivors, deserve to be able access safe and affirming resources without the additional fear of reprisal by abusive partners and criminalization by state authorities."
Transgender Law Center is the largest national organization dedicated to advancing justice for transgender and gender nonconforming people through litigation, policy advocacy, and public education. Transgender Law Center envisions a future in which all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. www.transgenderlawcenter.org
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of 53 local member programs and affiliate organizations in 25 states, Canada, and Washington DC, who create systemic and social change. We strive to increase power, safety, and resources through data analysis, policy advocacy, education, and technical assistance. NCAVP is coordinated by the New York City Anti-Violence Project.