Today, LatinoJustice and other national civil rights organizations have signed a letter asking members of the House of Representatives to oppose amendments HR 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012 (VAWA) introduced by Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL).
VAWA was originally introduced in 1994 to grant asylum to immigrant victims of domestic abuse regardless of their legal status. Under the original provisions of VAWA, victims could "self-petition" for legal residency confidentially and without the consent of their abuser.
However, under the new provisions put forth by HR 4970, confidentiality under VAWA would be erased, as immigration authorities would be able to disclose VAWA filings to the victims' abusers and expose these victims to retaliation . Further, a strict (and many times, unfeasable) 60-day limit for reporting crimes would be enforced.
Ultimately, HR 4970 would make it harder for victims to seek the protection that VAWA was originally designed to provide, rolling back 18-years worth of bi-partisan work accomplished under VAWA.
National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) has reported these alarming statistics: “One out of every four women in America experiences domestic violence or sexual assault. Every day there are three thousand to eight thousand incidents of domestic violence. Yet, only 5% of incidents are reported – and the rates are even worse in poor and struggling communities. Immigrant women are at a higher risk, when immigration status becomes one more method of control, one more weapon the abuser has over the victim."
We need your help today. Please don't allow Speaker Boehner and Rep. Adams to roll-back the rights of immigrant victims of domestic violence