Kathryn Finley, managing attorney for the Tahirih Justice Center’s greater Washington, DC office, writes on the particularly high hurdles and barriers faced by immigrant survivors of violence in accessing the US legal system. This paper relies on examples gathered from Tahirih Justice Center’s direct work with immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. It also reviews the dynamics of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking for immigrant victims, and the immigration remedies available to victims of these crimes. Additionally, this paper explores the detrimental impact of the administration’s enforcement initiatives on immigrant victims of crime and on public safety.
This paper challenges the assumption within international development programming that regular and orderly migration is also safer for migrants. Based on data collected from Cambodian, Burmese, Laotian, and Vietnamese labor migrants recently returned from Thailand, this paper illustrates the limits of regular migration to provide meaningfully “safer” experiences. It observes that migrant workers who move through legal channels do not systematically experience better outcomes. While regular migrants report better pay and working conditions than irregular migrants, they also systematically report working conditions that do not meet legal standards, and routinely experience contract substitution. Regular migrants also have a higher likelihood of experiencing exploitation, contract breaches, harassment, abuse, and involuntary return. These findings challenge mainstream development discourses seeking to promote safer migration experiences through expanding migration infrastructure. The paper recommends: 1) re-examining the conflation of “safe” with “regular and orderly” migration and advocating for practices that increase migrant safety, 2) focusing on broadening rights offered to migrant workers, and 3) strengthening and expanding oversight of labor standards and migrant regulations.