The case of Tay Anderson is a long and arduous one; investigating the alleged 62 victims’ allegations will prove to be painstaking since all but one are illegal immigrants or Dreamers.
Obviously, the victims are hesitant to speak since 61 of them aren’t secure within the US justice system. That is, the victims believe that at any moment, ICE could take them or their families to a detention facility and send them back to their home countries.
For the alleged victims, the threat of deportation is real and terrifying; they would rather remain silent than risk getting hemmed up in the US criminal justice system and sent back to third world squalor and strife.
While the Department of Homeland Security lays out specific protections for immigrant crime victims, underage children in vulnerable positions remain both scared and uneducated about the process of reporting certain crimes as an immigrant. Victims of sexual assault and rape are eligible to file I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status. The status provides temporary immigration benefits for crime victims and their families. It’s also illegal for ICE to detain or deport crime victims who come forward.
Governor Jared Polis and any other elected officials willing to do so should ensure that these students don’t feel threatened with deportation, whether real or feared. A statement should be issued that guarantees not only that ICE would not be called (as reassurance to the victims), but also that the DPS will provide legal resources for filing for U Nonimmigrant status or better for each victim.
Since Anderson is an elected official within the public school system, Denver Public Schools should immediately hire outside legal, medical, and mental health professionals to assist these children not only in coming forward but also healing. Although these allegations have not been proven, there is trauma to these students who lack resources…and that can be easily solved.
Governor Polis and any elected official willing should immediately begin the direction of providing resources for these under-resourced and under-served child victims and issue a statement of protection for those who come forward.
From an ICE:
“ICE continues to focus its enforcement efforts and limited resources on threats to national security, border security, and public safety. ICE carries out its duty to enforce the laws of the United States in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) national security and public safety mission.
Public Affairs Officer, ICE”