February 16, 2017

In recent days, there have been reports of a nationwide surge in Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. Today, federal immigration officers in El Paso, Texas detained a domestic violence survivor, who was visiting a courthouse to a receive protective order against their abuser.

Multnomah County Courthouse
Multnomah County Courthouse

So far, county leaders have not received any reports of such actions at the Multnomah County Circuit Court Courthouses. But the possible increase in these incidents across the country is concerning. Abusers often use threats of deportation to prevent their victims from seeking help.

Courthouses should be safe locations for people to access justice, particularly people who are fleeing violent relationships. They must be able to safely seek help without the added fear of detention and deportation.

Multnomah County works to support families in our community and to provide services to all those in need. The county is working toward asking Oregon’s congressional delegation to request that the Department of Homeland Security designate courthouses as “sensitive locations” like churches and hospitals.

In the meantime, if you witness or hear of an instance of a domestic violence survivor being detained by ICE officers at Multnomah County courthouses, please contact the court at 503.988.4794. If you or someone you know is in need of domestic violence services, please contact Call to Safety at 1.888.235.5333.