New legislation is poised to harm the protections available to vulnerable immigrant victims of violence. Your voice can make a difference. Please write and call Congress right away!
Here are the facts: H.R. 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012 (VAWA), as introduced by Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL), severely undermines the protections available to vulnerable immigrant victims of violence and places victims at further risk of harm.
LIRS has played a key role in organizing signatories to a faith leader letter to Congress expressing concerns with the immigration provisions of H.R. 4970. The letter draws support from a broad cross-section of faith-based traditions. You can read the letter here.
When VAWA was first conceived in 1994, Congress recognized that the noncitizen status of battered immigrants can make them particularly vulnerable to crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. The abusers of undocumented immigrants often exploit the victims’ immigration status, leaving the victim afraid to seek services or report the abuse to law enforcement and making them fearful of assisting with the investigation and prosecution of these crimes. Congress sought to address this through the enactment of provisions in VAWA that enhance safety for victims and their children and provide an important tool for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes.
However, H.R. 4970 not only leaves out important improvements to VAWA’s protections for immigrant survivors that were included in S. 1925, the widely supported bipartisan Senate bill, but also seeks amendments that dramatically undercut existing protections for immigrant survivors. The changes proposed in H.R. 4970 would harm immigrant survivors in the following ways:
- Create obstacles for immigrant victims seeking to report crimes
- Increase the danger to immigrant victims by eliminating important confidentiality protections
- Undermine current anti-fraud protections
- Roll back years of progress and commitment on the part of Congress to protect vulnerable immigrant victims
We need to act immediately, because H.R. 4970 will be marked up by the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, May 8. Please visit the LIRS Action Center to express your concerns.
We know from our conversations with congressional staff that every call and email they receive makes a difference. Please add your voice to that of LIRS at the LIRS Action Center, along with the diverse coalition of immigration, faith, labor, human rights, and community organizations with whom we’re working, to stop H.R. 4970!
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