On March 16, 2012, Jeremy White writes:
As Senate Democrats and Republicans spar over a proposal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, measures to shield immigrants from domestic violence have become a sticking point.
The proposed legislation would expand existing protections for battered immigrant women, making more visas available to victims of abuse and expanding the situations in which immigrants could seek relief to include stalking and dating violence.
That has contributed to a legislative impasse, with opponents of the bill saying it would present more opportunities for immigrants to exploit the system. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, presented an alternate bill that would tighten restrictions on abuse victims seeking visas.
Would Revised VAWA Increase Immigration?
“VAWA is meant to protect victims of violence,” Grassley said in a statement. “It shouldn’t be an avenue to expand immigration law or to give additional benefits to people here unlawfully.”
The Violence Against Women Act allows immigrants who are married to abusive American citizens to petition for legal status on their own behalf, without relying on a violent spouse. But the current dispute largely concerns a special type of visa, created when the bill was reauthorized in 2000, that allows undocumented immigrants to gain legal status if they cooperate with law enforcement officers on an investigation. Read more …