National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Blog & Updates

House Takes up VAWA Bill that would Roll Back Protections for Immigrant Women

May 04, 2012 - Posted by Maurice Belanger

These days, even the most sympathetic causes can become bogged down in partisan squabbling in Congress. When the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) first passed in 1994, it had 226 sponsors in the House and 68 in the Senate. A house bill introduced on April 27 to make changes to VAWA has already generated plenty of controversy.

This year, Congress has on its agenda the reauthorization of VAWA. The Senate passed a bill on April 26 that would, among other things, make some minor changes to strengthen protections for immigrant women. (Highlights are mentioned in this policy update from the Forum.)

In contrast, the House has taken up a measure that attacks some of the protections provided by existing law. If the House version passes and ultimately prevails, it will be more difficult for an immigrant victim of domestic violence to gain protection from her abuser.

Among other things, the House bill requires that the abuser be notified when the woman attempts to “self-petition” to attain immigration status without her abusive spouse; creates a higher hurdle for a victim of abuse to clear when she petitions for lawful status without her abuser; would make it more difficult to obtain a U visa, available to victims of crime who cooperate with law enforcement; and it would deny U visa recipients the ability to adjust to permanent status.

There is still time to change the House bill, but you must act quickly! Click here to find out how you can take action.


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