The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition on Wednesday launched a campaign to prevent the deportation of a female Hispanic immigrant who was detained by authorities when she reported being the victim of domestic violence.
CIRC's Brendan Greene said that Ana (her surname is being withheld), a resident of Glenwood Springs, called the police to report that her boyfriend had beaten her with chains.
However, police arrested the women, who was subsequently held for three months without charges until a judge ordered her released.
Despite the judicial decision, in compliance with prevailing laws, Ana was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where she was told that procedures for her deportation had been begun.
"Ana's case is another example of how the Secure Communities program and other 'show me your papers' laws, like Colorado's SB 90, harm public safety," said Greene in remarks to Efe.
"Ana called the forces of order seeking protection, but then she spent three months in jail and now she could be deported. And I just learned that she did not report another case of physical abuse precisely because she did not trust the local police," he added.
"Detaining a victim and letting an abuser go free because people are afraid to denounce crimes doesn't make anybody feel safer," Greene said.
He said CIRC will work with the affiliate in Colorado of the American Civil Liberties Union to argue that SB 90, which has been on the books since 2006, excludes victims of domestic violence from the local police's obligation to report presumed undocumented migrants to ICE.
In fact, Greene said, that law protects the victims of domestic violence.
But, he noted that after the recent implementation in all Colorado counties of ICE's Secure Communities program, the sheriff and police departments are adjusting their actions to fit the new federal regulations and are not governed any longer by state laws.
ACLU lawyer Denise Maes agreed with Greene that "the message of Secure Communities is that any interaction with law enforcement carries the risk of causing a deportation," after her organization and CIRC documented up to last May in Colorado three other cases similar to Ana's.
The strategy, Greene said, will consist of documenting other cases and then undertaking legal measures so that the victims of domestic violence may not be deported. EFE