WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a move that impacts police criminal investigations and endangers immigrant victims of crime and domestic violence, the House of Representatives has removed important protections in the current Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The GOP-controlled House rolled back protections designed to prevent abusers from using immigration laws to oppress their victims; provisions that have enjoyed bipartisan support since VAWA converting immigration laws into tools of oppression, and they have enjoyed bipartisan support since VAWA was first enacted in 1994 and which were recently reaffirmed by a strong bipartisan Senate majority.
The House bill compromises the confidentiality of victims who file a self-petition for relief, and it imposes procedural obstacles that would discourage--and in some cases preclude--victim spouses and children from filing immigration petitions on their own behalf rather than being forced to rely on their abusers to file paperwork. It also eliminates the path to citizenship for most U visa holders - victims of serious crimes such as torture, rape, and domestic violence - who are cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of these crimes.
"Once again, House Republican leaders are attacking immigrants and women and children, among the most vulnerable in our society," said Eliseo Medina, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer. "Shame on the GOP leadership for taking aim at immigrant victims of domestic violence for the sake of political pandering to their anti-immigrant base."