Domestic Violence Survivor Leads the Charge to Ensure Safety for all Coloradans When Contacting Authorities
Virginia’s Law is named after Virginia Mancinas who was detained by immigration agents after she called 911 for help while being attacked by her husband. When law enforcement arrived in June of 2011, Virginia denied the incident had occurred for fear of what might happen to her husband, and was arrested for false reporting. Although the charges were quickly dropped, ICE shamelessly exploited her stay in the county jail as an opportunity to interview and detain Virginia on immigration charges. For two weeks, she was held for immigration in Glenwood Springs and then Leadville, Colorado without access to medical attention. One of the lucky ones, Virginia was able to gain legal status through the Violence Against Women Act after successfully proving that she was the victim of physical abuse from her US citizen spouse, which afforded her protection from her past deportation order.
However, the impact of the communication between local authorities and ICE had already left its mark. A couple of months after Virginia had been released from detention, her husband re-entered her home and attacked her again. This time she did not call the police, preferring to suffer the abuse than report the crime.
Everyone should feel safe calling the local authorities when they are being attacked, but this is not the case for Virginia and many others in her situation.
According to Mancinas, “If I have another problem like this one, I would never call the police. A lot of people who know what happened to me won’t call the police. They would rather suffer through what they are facing. I know a lot of women who are victims who have been deported. They left their kids here, they left their lives here. They were not as lucky as me,”
“I decided to have this bill named after me because I want other people to not have to live the experience that I lived. After I went to the jail, independently of all of the abuse I had been through for years or on that day, the worst abuse I have suffered is being turned in to ICE after I called the police looking for protection. No one should be afraid of reaching out for help when they need it.”