Reps. Schakowsky and Chu Introduce Legislation Protecting Immigrant Women from Domestic Abusers
Washington, DC (February 13, 2013) – Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Judy Chu (CA-27) reintroduced the Violence Against Immigrant Women Act (VAIWA), legislation providing greater protections for battered immigrant women:
The Violence Against Immigrant Women Act (VAIWA) would provide greater protections for battered immigrant women. Temporary immigration status or lack of status makes immigrant women particularly vulnerable to crimes of domestic and sexual violence. Battered immigrant women often stay silent and remain with their abusers, fearing threats of deportation, separation from children, or coming out of the shadows.
"Battered immigrant women are one of the most vulnerable populations in this country. Women should not feel forced to stay in violent, life-threatening relationships because of their tenuous immigration status," said Rep. Schakowsky. "Battered immigrant women should have access to safety and protections that will enable them to take care of themselves and their children. We must remain firm in our commitment to protect all victims of domestic violence, including vulnerable immigrant women."
"Battered immigrants are often the most vulnerable among us – financial dependence, social isolation, and cultural and linguistic barriers allow abusers to trap immigrants into cycles of violence. This bill breaks the abuser's grip on their victim, providing opportunities to escape torment and rebuild lives. The GOP's refusal to join Democrats in reauthorizing VAWA last year left countless women unnecessarily exposed to domestic violence. This year, either through VAWA or immigration reform legislation, we must ensure immigrant women are protected. That is exactly what this bill does, and it is why I am proud to reintroduce it with Congresswoman Schakowsky today," said Rep. Judy Chu.
The Violence Against Women Act has strengthened communities and provided critical, life-saving support to victims, including immigrant victims, of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. VAIWA will build on that success to provide greater protections for battered immigrant women. These include streamlining processing of VAWA cases, ensuring that greater numbers of immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault receive U visa protection, and allowing victims of stalking, elder abuse, and child abuse to access these important services.