Community-based crime victim advocacy programs that provide services to undocumented immigrant survivors of crimes can minimize risks to their program, funding, employees, and clients by adopting and following policies that take the laws on harboring undocumented immigrants into account. This Advisory answers common questions about providing shelter and other program services to undocumented victims, describes the law and federal policy (as of the Advisory’s publication date), and proposes best practices for programs, but it is not legal advice. Immigration and criminal laws vary from region to region, and federal immigration enforcement policies are constantly changing. Programs should analyze their program-specific risks, their community’s particular needs, and the laws in their jurisdiction—including legal duties associated with an agency’s funding sources—as they design or update program policies. Consulting a local immigration attorney with criminal law experience is highly advisable.

Related Resources

Advisory Revised Aug 2019: How Will ‘Public Charge’ Proposed Policy Changes Impact Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a final rule, published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2019, which significantly changes longstanding policy about the meaning and application of the “public charge” inadmissibility provisions of immigration law. According to DHS, this is to ensure that non-citizens “who are admitted to the United States, seek extension of stay or change of status, or apply for adjustment of status will be self-sufficient, i.e., will rely on their financial resources, as well as the financial resources of the family, sponsors, and private organizations.”

Advisory: How Do Recent HUD Proposed Rules About Verification of Immigration Status Impact Survivors of Domestic & Sexual Assault?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed regulations that change longstanding policy relating to immigration status verification requirements and disallowing those ineligible for federal housing assistance (i.e., members of “mixed-status” households) from residing in HUD’s public and specified assisted housing programs. This advisory describes impacts of the proposed rule on immigrant survivors of violence

May 2019 Advocate & Legal Services Findings: Immigrant Survivors Fear Reporting Violence

In May 2019, a coalition of national organizations gathered feedback from nearly six hundred advocates and attorneys from across the United States, learning that many immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence are now too afraid to call the police or go to court to get help. The advocates report that survivors have an increased fear of deportation, retaliation by their abusers, and separation from their children.

By Emily Cordo and Grace Huang

API-GBV
November 2019

Share this: