Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), (202) 225-4000
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), (202) 225-2915
As you know, Congress has recognized the severity of violence against women and our need for a national strategy since the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. Over the last 18 years, this landmark federal legislation's comprehensive approach to violence against women has had dramatic results. As a snapshot, VAWA funds are used to:
Also troubling is that the bill, while embracing many elements of the bipartisan reauthorization that recently passed the Senate, excludes key improvements that were added to the Senate reauthorization. It expressly rejects protections for men and women who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and eliminates strong protections and justice for women and children who are beaten or abused on Tribal lands by perpetrators who are not members of a particular tribe.
A yes vote on H.R. 4970 is a NO vote on VAWA – a YES vote is anti-victim. We respectfully request that you reconsider opposing this legislation and instead focus on developing a bipartisan bill modeled after S. 1925, the bipartisan Senate-passed version of VAWA.
FACTS TO USE IN YOUR ADVOCACY:
Press Teleconference on the State of Women and Immigrant Rights
in the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Process
HOUSE BILL ROLLS BACK PROTECTIONS AND PLACES IMMIGRANT VICTIMS IN GRAVE DANGER
When: Friday, May 11, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern/9:30 a.m. Central/ 7:30 a.m. Pacific
Title: Violence Against Women Act
Dial: 1.800.434.1335 Conference Code: 316641#
U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rob Valente, spokesperson, National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Mony Ruiz-Velasco, director of legal services, National Immigrant Justice Center; immigration co-chair, National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Rosie Hidalgo, director of public policy, Casa de Esperanza
Eric Sigmon, director for advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Erica, immigrant mother who was able to leave her abusive husband thanks to VAWA
This week the U.S. Congress House Judiciary Committee, in a 17-15 vote, passed HR4970, a bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Contrary to its name and the long history and spirit of VAWA, HR4970 rolls back protections and places immigrant victims in grave danger at the hands of their abusers. The bill eliminates important provisions that, for almost 20 years, have successfully provided protection to immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking.
HR4970 places immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and other violent crimes in danger of further harm and would make critical VAWA protections, including the U visa, nearly inaccessible for many victims. Under HR4970, immigration officials can get input from abusers about their victims' case, alerting perpetrators to the fact that their victims are seeking protection, and potentially triggering additional violence against the victims. Victims who are able to secure U visas would lose their status after a few years, leaving victims vulnerable to brutal retaliation.
The National Task force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence is a diverse coalition of sexual assault and domestic violence prevention groups which has worked for more than two years, with the input of law enforcement, community-based organizations, medical professionals and others, to advise Congress regarding changes needed to improve VAWA.