WCSAP Responds: Safety and Access for Immigrant Survivors and Communities

The impact of anti-immigrant sentiment nationally and recent White House directives to Immigration and Customs Enforcement has had a chilling effect on immigrant survivors of sexual and domestic violence. WCSAP holds that immigrants of any status are valued for their personhood and their contributions to our communities. Immigrant survivors need access to justice and to reach out for support when other aspects of their lives are not safe. This access is effectively blocked when the fear of removal from the U.S. is stronger.

To all our members: Because of this, we must increase our visibility and support to immigrant survivors. Recent Executive Orders will make immigrant communities less safe, silence immigrant survivors, and push them further into the shadows. We have to adjust our outreach accordingly and not expect that immigrant survivors will walk through our door or into our courthouse. This is a time when many communities are understandably wary and, as advocates, we must adapt.

To our members who represent immigrant communities: At WCSAP we have been overwhelmed with the amount of issues requiring our response and we fell behind in expressing our immediate support for you. We see you and the increased challenges ahead for you, and we want you to see that anti-violence organizations support you.

We join our sister coalition WSCADV in their statement of support and continue our commitment to immigrant communities and survivors through our joint collaboration on Crossing Borders. We also stand with the national opposition statement of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, Statement of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence in Opposition to the January 2017 Executive Immigration Actions.

WCSAP has, in recent weeks and months, shared resources with the field, responded to legislation and signed on to support statements in opposition to sweeping immigration bans and in support of immigrant survivors and rights and access to justice such as, Northwest Immigrant Right’s Project, DHS and ICE: Protect Immigrant Survivors of Violence

We also strongly support Washington’s strides to create a safer state for immigrants and refugees and encourage our communities to continue to build onto existing protections and to center immigrant communities in creating solutions for access and safety.

At WCSAP’s upcoming annual conference, In Community / En Comunidad, we are hosting a series of facilitated conversations called Activism Intersections. In these spaces, we hope to explore the ways sexual violence intersects with other injustices (like the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and recent immigration bans), consider the impacts on survivors’ lives and their access to justice, and discover ways we can participate as individuals and as programs with intersecting social justice movements. We hope many of you will be able to join us in these timely conversations.