Good news! I’m happy to report that today the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), sending the bill to the House. Thank you for all your efforts to bring elected officials on board for this victory!
LIRS has long supported protections in VAWA that encourage non-citizen victims of crime to report criminal offenses to local law enforcement agencies. These protections advance community safety. Abusers of migrants who lack immigration status frequently exploit the victims’ immigration status, often leading to ongoing abuse and fear of interacting with law enforcement. VAWA enhances safety for victims and provides an important tool for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes.
If you’re interested in learning exactly how VAWA plays a role in saving lives, it’s worth checking out this recent interview with Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Director of Legal Services at the Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC).
VAWA passed both the House and the Senate in the last Congress as well, but was never conferenced to reconcile the different versions passed in each chamber.
The VAWA bill that the Senate passed included a provision that will reauthorize appropriations for fiscal years 2014 through 2017 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to combat human trafficking. “We continue to fight human trafficking, and human trafficking is nothing more than modern-day slavery,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told The Hill on Tuesday. “It is not just a policy matter it is a moral issue.”
Again, congratulations to everyone who’s helped move this forward, and I know we’ll stand together as VAWA heads for the House.