DO immigrant women have rights? Even when illegal?

1 03 2009

This is a case of an immigrant woman that I have heard allegedly happen and I want to know not only your opinion but does she have any rights.

This starts like any other love story, boy meets girl they fall in love they get married. Things change and unlike other love stories, they don’t live happily ever after. She is an immigrant in his country…

I don’t know how she came in, I am lacking a lot of details, but she is an illegal immigrant now. During the course of their marriage he was supposed to have asked for her green card but apparently didn’t. I have my doubts that it was even a legal marriage.

After a while he became abusive, mostly verbally and then escalated, the abuse  became also physical. For some reason, some women stay in relationships like that, I will never understand why.

Then she got pregnant, the abuse ceased for a little and then started again, but this time she was pregnant and afraid to miscarriage because of the beatings. She left him and ended up at his parents house; they welcomed her with open arms, they always treated her as a daughter and they said they’ll figure out how to make things work.

One day she overheard a conversation between her mother in law and her son (her husband); she was saying that they only needed to wait for a few more weeks until the baby was born, then she would call immigration have the daughter in law deported that way they could get rid of her and keep the baby. She panicked, she was too far along to be able to fly home.

A friend connected her with a shelter for victims of domestic violence. So one day she ran away. She has been living underground for a while now, with the help and support of the shelter, no family, no friends. She decided that as soon as the baby was born she would leave the country. They helped her move to a different state but when she was a the hospital to deliver her baby agents from Homeland Security showed up, looking for her.

The baby was born, she is deep underground and fears that is she tries to  leave the country they would take her baby away.

In cases like this, does she have any rights? Can they take her baby away?

I know I am lacking a lot of details, how and when she entered the country, if their marriage was legal or not. I don’t know her and I don’t even know her name or what country she is from. I just know she would need to fly to get home. But hearing of cases like this, what can she do?

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4 responses

13 03 2009
Do Immigrant Women Have ANY Rights? « Paloma Pentarian on Women’s Wisdom

[…] Read the full story here. […]

30 03 2009
Holly

Hi There,

I’m a lurker on your blog and am officially de-lurking now.

I work with immigrants in the New Orleans area as a health researcher, community advocate, translator and whatever else… I started doing this post-Katrina and changed the whole course of my PhD and really changed everything for our whole family.

Anyway. YES. ICE can absolutely separate the baby (legally an American citizen) from the mother and deport her. Particularly if she is unmarried and there is a custodial parent (the father) here legally to support the child. Do immigrant women have rights? Ha. Ridiculously, when anyone is here “illegally” — which is in itself a grey area since there are so many different statuses and people ‘legally’ waiting for a ‘legal’ status that it’s really a misnomer — they ‘have no rights’. I’m sure you’ve seen papers they give someone who is waiting to be deported? They have YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS written on them in huge red letters. One might think that they should still have human rights, but in my experience I have no seen this exercised.

30 03 2009
Holly

PS: If you have contact with this woman, she should try to find a community advocate resource. Maybe something with the local Hispanic Apostolate (which may have a division for domestic violence) or other immigrant advocacy group. These may be the best cases for her help-wise?

30 03 2009
Di

Holly, thank you for your answer, I really appreciate it and I am sure it will be useful for others as well. I have never seen deportation papers but it is scary to think that they just tell you, that you have no rights.

Unfortunately, I do not know her or have any contacts. I am not even sure in what state she is currently residing.

But I believe she is being helped by a domestic violence group.

PS.: lurk at your leisure…. 😉

Di.

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