DA takes a stand in support of undocumented domestic violence victims

Cherri Gregg
June 27, 2018 - 2:57 pm
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner

Pat Loeb | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is encouraging undocumented victims of domestic violence to come forward to report predators. 

"We will protect people who are undocumented and those who are documented alike," said District Attorney Larry Krasner.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Krasner stood alongside leaders of groups such as Women Against Abuse and Congresso to announce that his office will not turn undocumented victims or witnesses over to immigration authorities. 

He said the announcement comes as an effort to combat fear sparked by increased ICE raids and Trump administration policies that are hostile to immigrants, such as the rescission of temporary protected status and, most recently, a decision by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end asylum for immigrants fleeing domestic violence.

"These kinds of policies have created a class of people who are afraid to come forward, and so they will be victimized," Krasner said. 

Molly Callahan of Women Against Abuse said, "We are seeing a chilling effect. We are seeing a decrease."

Brenda Gorsky of Nationalities Services Center said when victims live in the shadows, it empowers perpetrators.

She noted there are cases of predators using an undocumented status to manipulate and control victims. And those who could come out of the shadows are reluctant to apply for legal status, afraid that ICE will deport them. 

"There are a decrease in the number of people coming forward, and when they do come forward, they don't want to be cooperative," said Adam Geer, who supervises the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office domestic violence unit. 

To report domestic violence, call 1-866-723-3014.