Monday, May 14, 2012

Help Protect Victims of Domestic Abuse and Trafficking


Since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) first passed in 1994, this law has protected thousands of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault while improving enforcement measures and prosecution of these crimes. Congress recognized that abusers can exploit migrant victims’ vulnerability and provided protections so victims can escape abuse or report crimes without fear. VAWA currently protects the spouses of abusive U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents by allowing such victims to “self-petition” for their immigration status. The 2000 reauthorization of VAWA created the U visa for immigrant survivors of violent crimes who assist law enforcement efforts on the crime’s investigation efforts.
At the end of April, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) S.1925. Although the Senate bill is not perfect, it represents a step towards enhancing protections for immigrant survivors of violence. The House Judiciary Committee marked up a reauthorization bill HR.4970 with harmful immigration provisions and it will soon go to the House floor. These provisions deny victims the very protections established by VAWA and even helps perpetrate the abuse from which they are trying to escape.
Specifically, sections 801, 802 and 806 would undercut existing laws enacted to assist victims of crime and domestic violence by:
·         eliminating confidentiality protections for immigrant victims
·         erecting barriers to protection that would deter victims from cooperating with law enforcement
·         denying crime victims the chance to adjust their immigration status
·         holding abuse victims to a higher standard than other applicants for immigration benefits.
Urge your Representative to strike these three provisions and ensure that VAWA continues to protect migrant survivors of violence as they seek to rebuild their lives. 
Click here to read a letter from faith leaders (including many evangelical leaders) to House Leadership on concerns about HR.4970.
Click here to write or call your Representative NOW!

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Parts of HR 4970 minimize protection of human trafficking & domestic violence victims. Take 1 minute to email Congress:


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