ASISTA releases Practice Alert on Abortion Rights for Immigrant Survivors: The Impact of Dobbs on Representation of Immigrant Survivors Seeking Reproductive Healthcare (Jan. 2023)



Kirsten Rambo, 

Cristina Velez,

ASISTA has released a practice alert for immigration and gender-based violence advocates and attorneys, regarding the impact of abortion restrictions on immigration status after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Given the increase in abortion restrictions and threats of criminalization that have followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, practitioners across the U.S. are concerned about the best way to serve immigrant clients as they seek reproductive healthcare, including abortion.

A highly practical resource, the alert explains how, against a backdrop of emboldened reproductive abuse and coercion, survivors must now also navigate increasingly severe abortion restrictions and their potential effects in the immigration and criminal legal systems. This practice alert provides guidance and resources to legal advocates working with survivors of violence (such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking) at the intersection of immigration and abortion rights. The document also reflects the invaluable input of ASISTA’s partners at If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice. 

“At a time when basic reproductive healthcare has become politicized and weaponized, issues of restricted access to abortion–and the efforts to criminalize those who provide it–are of grave concern,” notes ASISTA’s Executive Director, Kirsten Rambo. “The effects of decreased access and potential criminalization can be devastating, particularly for immigrant survivors of violence on their path to citizenship. We at ASISTA are glad to provide this resource to help attorneys and advocates nationwide as they serve immigrants who, already traumatized by violence, are also faced with a complex, fraught, and often hostile landscape as they seek reproductive care.”

This practice alert follow’s ASISTA’s earlier comments on the Dobbs decision. To read the practice alert, click here. 

Established in 2008, ASISTA is a national leader in the movement for safety and justice for immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. ASISTA’s founders helped write the immigration provisions of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act (TVPA), affording legal status to hundreds of thousands of survivors and their children since 1994. With over 600 members nationwide, ASISTA’s work is focused on 1) providing expert case consultation, training, and resources to attorneys and advocates navigating the complex immigration system on behalf of survivors of gender-based violence, including intervening in specific cases as needed; 2) pushing for federal, state and local policies that ensure safety and justice for immigrant survivors; and 3) coordinating lawsuits to prevent the government from unfairly deporting survivors of violence. To learn more about ASISTA’s work, click here.