Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sent back to her rapists?

An unthinkable ordeal: Blanca Medina was raped by five different men in El Salvador before she fled to the United States. Terrified and traumatized, she thought she’d at last found a safe haven to raise her 4-year-old daughter Alejandra. But now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to deport her -- potentially back into the hands of her rapists, who were never arrested.
Forced back to certain danger? Blanca fears for her life -- and Alejandra's -- if they have to go to El Salvador. None of the men who raped her have been arrested, including her stalker, and she’s terrified of what they’ll do if she's sent back to El Salvador. But ICE is choosing to ignore this and other evidence.
You can help: Blanca’s lawyer Matthew Muller is appalled at how ICE has treated someone so vulnerable -- she’s been refused a female case officer, and intimidated by male agents. But Matthew knows that public support has saved countless people in the past -- and he’s sure that if enough people join him, ICE will be forced to reverse its decision and allow Blanca to stay in the U.S.
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More information about Matthew’s petition, in his own words:
Could you imagine suffering torture five different times, only to be told that no protection from your torturers was allowed because you missed a deadline to apply? And what if you missed the deadline because you were still recovering from the last attack?
Blanca Medina doesn't have to imagine what that would be like. She sought safety in the United States after suffering five rapes. Because of medical complications relating to those rapes, Blanca missed a hearing to apply for protection and was ordered deported. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement team tracked Blanca down and detained her, separating her from her four-year-old daughter Alejandra.
Blanca told ICE that she and Alejandra faced severe harm if deported. She asked for permission to at least explain how she and her daughter could be persecuted. ICE used a strange procedural rule to assert that it simply did not have to listen. Under ICE rules, it is free to ignore even conclusive proof that a person would suffer slow death by torture if deported. This "willful blindness" policy could be ended through simple procedural changes by the Department of Homeland Security.
Until the procedure is fixed, Blanca (and thousands of moms like her) face deportation with no hope of finding protection from persecution or torture. Join us in asking the U.S. government to end this policy of willful blindness to torture and persecution, and allow reasonable fear interviews for all who face deportation.


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