This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.
Law leads to domestic violence survivor’s deportation, sets risky precedent for others
Last year, 38-year-old Assia Serrano — one of the first imprisoned domestic violence survivors to receive a reduced sentence under the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act of 2019 — was released and then deported.
She spent 17 years in prison, and on the day of her release, was transferred directly into the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; for her, this was out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Reporter Sara Herschander has been talking to Serrano for the past six months now.
“Definitely the saddest thing I’ve ever written, unfortunately,” she tells me.
It’s important to “reflect on what the [domestic violence] law was originally intended for, versus the way survivors are doubly criminalized,” Herschander says, and on “what New York State’s collaborating with ICE means for these survivors, largely women.”
Serrano’s spotless record made her an ideal candidate for a sentence reduction. But other domestic violence survivors in prison and eligible for release see the success of her case as a cautionary tale.
Serrano is now in Panama and far away from her U.S.-born children, who are in the custody of an ex-partner who won’t allow the children to apply for a passport to visit her.
Read the full report exclusively on Documented.
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