The Refugee Convention, which both New Zealand and Australia have ratified, recognizes that refugees may need to enter a country illegally for protection and should not be punished on that account. But the New Zealand bill would treat asylum seekers differently depending on how they arrived.
Resolving the situation of deserving asylum applicants will strengthen the powerful message that our government stands with victims of persecution and that we are a safe haven for those who cannot find justice in their own countries.
Karnes County, I hope, will provide a new model for more appropriate detention conditions -- a model that will mean little if it is not just a first step in transforming all facilities where ICE holds immigrants.
When Arben's visa was denied, a staffer at one office told me that my only options were to divorce Arben or move to Kosovo. I don't think I should have to do either of those things. I married Arben for better or for worse. I take that vow seriously, and I want to make my life with him.
The Keep Our Communities Safe Act authorizes prolonged detention for those who applied for relief such as a trafficking visa or asylum, which could include a victim of severe domestic violence or torture.