Undocumented domestic-violence victim fights immigration rules

Categories: Immigration

ana vasquez.jpg
Ana Vasquez.
Ana Vasquez says she tried to explain to the police officers that it was her boyfriend who'd abused her, and not the other way around. She had a broken finger to prove it: In the midst of an argument that turned physical, her boyfriend trapped her fingers between his and twisted his hand, snapping one of her bones. In the struggle, she broke his chain necklace, which caused him to call the cops. When Vasquez showed up at the station, she heard an officer say she needed to be arrested.

"I began to cry and shake because I didn't know what was going to happen to me," Vasquez says through an interpreter. "They took me to the jail, and almost immediately after that, they reported me to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]."

Vasquez, who was undocumented, was arrested in November 2010, before Colorado implemented Secure Communities, a federal program that checks fingerprints of people booked into local jails against a national database of undocumented immigrants.

But a 2006 Colorado law, colloquially known as Senate Bill 90, requires local law enforcement to report suspected undocumented immigrants to ICE. The one exception is domestic-violence arrests; local police are supposed to wait until after a conviction.

But Vasquez was never convicted. The now-42-year-old mother from Carbondale spent three months in jail, awaiting trial. "I felt completely powerless," she says. "I couldn't eat; I couldn't drink. I spent the days vomiting and thinking about family." Her family wanted her to plead guilty so she'd get out of jail; even her lawyer encouraged her to plead. But Vasquez held strong -- and eventually the charges were dropped and she was let go.

Not for long, however. ICE picked her up, and Vasquez was in detention for three days before her family paid a $5,000 bond to free her. Her lawyer helped her obtain a U-Visa, a four-year visa for crime victims who cooperate with law enforcement.

"But even though I was able to get my U-Visa, absolutely nothing can take away the experience I went through," she says. Vasquez, who came to the United States from Mexico six years ago in order to escape an abusive marriage, says she'd hesitate to call the police if she were victimized again: "I would think really hard about it. I know what it feels like to be in jail, and I wouldn't want to go through that again. "

domestic violence immigrant press conference.jpg
Courtesy the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition
Vasquez, in pink, speaks at a press conference yesterday.
The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition is calling attention to cases like Vasquez's to highlight what it says are the dangers of programs such as Secure Communities and laws such as SB 90 -- namely, that they make victims unwilling to report crimes for fear of being deported. Just this week, Weld County pointed out the same problem when it launched a program to educate immigrants about the rights of victims and witnesses.

"All of Ana's friends know what happened to her," says Brendan Greene of CIRC. "That has a tremendous chilling effect and public-safety impact.... Would they dare call the police if they were being abused? That's why we think it's so important that we take a deep look at these programs and call for them to be repealed."

More from our Immigration archive: "Immigration: Supreme Court's Arizona-law ruling meaningless, says Tom Tancredo."


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar!


My Voice Nation Help
5 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Dave Francis
Dave Francis

      It’s been a hard road to bring some sanity to the illegal alien invasion, but there will be no respite from the TEA PARTY. The special interests entities, religion, unions, corporate along with large and small business, will never be allowed to win, against the overall will of the people.  Citizens and legal residents want the real border fence built to curtail any more access to our sovereign lands, bringing in the criminals with their drugs.  There is no reduction in illegal immigration as the authorities are stating, another invasion is building from Central and South America. Yet the agency that supposedly protecting us, is closing down a number of entry ports along our Southern border? The DREAM ACT initiative, which President Obama’s current executive order has assigned, allows the children of illegal aliens to stay. But these students overtime will be able to sponsor by chain migration family members. This can be truly back door amnesty as this happened in the Ronald Reagan signing into law, the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act.   The original amnesty was for 2.5 million people, mostly agricultural guest workers, but through haphazard processing 6 million slipped into America using fraudulent applications. Those millions of people scoffed at the farming employment and slipped into the mainstream stealing jobs in the construction industry, landscaping, entertainment and other services. This led to jobs of low income Americans, with less education losing their employment to people who would take less money. To compete with other dishonest companies professional businesses had eventually to hire illegal aliens, so they were not put out of business. Therefore this competition continues so the builders hire discount roofers, framers, drywall labor in many manual industries.   THIS INVASION CAN BE PLACED IN THE SOILED HANDS OF A CONGRESS, WHETHER THE DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS OVER DECADES OF DELIBERATELY IGNORING IN PROTECTING CITIZENS AND RESIDENTS,  AND  GIVING EMPLOYMENT VISAS OF AT LEAST A MILLION OF LOW SKILLED WORKERS OVER MANY YEARS.  WHEN IS THE SPINELESS IDIOTS GOING TO DEFEND AMERICA FROM PEOPLE COMING HERE UNDER FALSE PRETENSES AND STEALING OUR OLD FOLKS PUBLIC ASSISTANCE, FOOD STAMPS, HOUSING, SOCIAL SUPPLEMENTAL INCOME AND CASH PAYMENTS. GO HOME AND GET YOUR OWN COUNTRY TO SUPPORT YOU. I AM FURIOUS THAT MY TAXES ARE GOING TO EDUCATE YOUR KIDS AND YOUR ACCESS TO FREE HEALTH CARE.   Today I am no longer a Democrat or Republican, but a true Independent, who is now a member of my local TEA PARTY. The Tea Party is YOU and ME, not any political group, but a way to expand efforts in a new political direction. It is not as the Liberal media tries to publicize us, as something like white supremacists? But in my chapter of which there are thousands around the country, we enjoy the opinions and proposals of Americans who are Hispanics of several generations, black people who great grandfather was the ancestors of slaves, Orientals and legal immigrants who came here to make a better life for their family. They realize that uncontrolled immigration is threatening the American way of life, as the foreigners slip around U.S. Customs and Border Protection just enter as a tourist, with no intention to leave.   As of now the Imperial Court of Obama’s administration, led by the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has harassed the state of Arizona. Then Holder’s unceasing pressure to force all 50 states to accept 20 million illegal aliens already settled here, then his new attacks on Texas and Florida.  His unrelenting push to stop them from enacting a fair and equitable law, so that no more fraudulent votes can exist from non citizens, who in the past by incorrigible criminals associated with the ACORN project. Some years back the ACORN organization registered anybody who could sign their name. Under the very flimsy, loose law of perjury their canvassers registered everybody and everything, including sadly Mickey Mouse. None of these agendas will gain headway under a TEA PARTY leadership, which will absorb themselves into the House or Representatives and the Senate. The TEA PARTY will have the massive influence to stop the erosion of our alienable rights, as stated in the U.S. Constitution.   Illegal Immigration more than any other issue, has divided the country and the majority of American will not tolerate people who violate the law. But then again, the majority of Americans do not trust any government, whether it’s the Democrats, with a hefty portion of Liberal influence or the Republicans as they have proven over and over again that trust for them also has vanished out the window. Our biggest battle is for TEA PARTY leaders, to substitute many of the incumbents In Washington, state, county and local levels. Tea Party members must topple a majority of legislators in Congress, state governors as Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Jerry Brown of California, and Mayors as Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles. This country is suffering from a $16 Trillion malaise, brought upon us by both political parties. Billions of dollars being spent to attain votes from illegal aliens, as the Democrats are looking the other way. The Republicans who see the illegal alien cheap labor market for their corporate friends who donate to their campaigns.   We need expedited measures like a fair Tax system for everybody, with no special waivers for the farmers, the sugar producers, the oil companies. More urgently than anything else, is to begin the production of our own oil, natural gas and including the refinement of clean coal, which Obama’s Liberal so-called progressives have prohibited. With an abundance of these energy resources, we would have more than enough for our population, with enough spare to sell to friendly foreign countries. Beneath us are huge deposits that would quickly lower our incredulous federal deficit, which would lower the U.S. taxpayer debt.   TEA PARTY is the only true plan that will ‘cease and desist’ illegal immigration for good. To repeat-- we must replace every politician, Governor, Police Chief or other elected official who pampers the illegal alien invasion, whether they are a Democrat, Liberal or even a Republican with a TEA PARTY leader. Join your local Constitutional Tea Party and remove Obama, his Czars and as a alternative vote for Mitt Romney, but demand he enacts nationwide mandatory E-Verify ‘The Legal Workforce Act’ (H.R. 2885.) This will be a real deterrent of unauthorized workers getting jobs. Warn businesses that once E-Verify is law, they are liable for harsh treatment by the courts. This will stringently replace citizens and lawful non-citizens, after the E-Verify law is underway.  Further urgently needed is an amendment the Birthright Citizenship law (H.R.140,) which will save billions of your dollars and bring to a halt a bad misinterpretation of the 14th amendment, crediting children of illegal aliens a right to citizenship, then hence our public welfare system. The amendment would allow only babies of parents where at least one being a citizen gives the child entry into America.     Look towards your own representatives in Congress and see if they are being dictated to by the ‘K” Street special interests, the unions, churches of a whole conglomeration of radical organizations.  Is your local political personage against or for, illegal immigration?  Did you Congress person vote an ordinance for a Sanctuary City, Dream Act, and Chain Migration or for Comprehensive Immigration Amnesty? Are you aware that a recent study projects a wide ranging Amnesty would cost all taxpayers $2.6 Trillion dollars, when we already owe the foreign investors $16 Trillion dollars.  Learn more details at NumbersUSA .  Citizen voters should phone Congress at the Washington central Switchboard at 202-224-3121.     Have you viewed the latest doom and gloom development, that numerous cities as Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and soon others will be forced to be file bankruptcy? It’s even possible that the city of Chicago, maybe next on the federal list, owing to years of corruption within the political arena.  

Susan
Susan

No all illegal Latinas will be victims of abuse....yeah right. I am a victim of abuse having to pay for all their illegal bambinos

Ybarcewski
Ybarcewski

Let's see - she came here illegally to "escape an abusive marriage", got involved with an abusive boyfriend and ended up in jail. "All of Ana's friends know what happened to her ....Would they dare call the police if they were being abused?"  Why? Are they all illegal too? Now Ana has a U-1 visa to stay in the US for four years. How long has she been here? I would assume short enough to still need an interpreter??? Or maybe she is like the South American lady I picked up in a bad snow storm that missed the bus, had been here 15 years and could not speak enough English to help me ever get her home. Luckily I speak some Spanish and finally caught up with the bus.  Sorry but I am having no sympathy here.

Malcontent2
Malcontent2

A lying thieving Mexican invader is upset because she was arrested AND let go?   Hey Ana Vasquez, blow it out yer Mexican illegal alien *ss! You morally and ethically devoid POS!

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...