GOP proposes to add violence to the Violence Against Women Act.
The Violence Against Women Act is designed to protect victims. Victims of gruesome crimes as well as of domestic abuse. Representative Adams and some of her GOP cohorts would like to decrease protections because they do not like immigrants. It is as simple as that.
The amount that the GOP wants to roll-back is staggering. Here is a brief list:
* make it more difficult and risky for abused aliens to self-petition for immigration relief (Section 801);
* require that abused aliens seeking U visas report the abuse within 60 days of its occurrence;
* require that the statute of limitations has not lapsed on the crime embodied in the abuse; and
* require that the crime embodied in the abuse is actively under investigation or prosecution (Section 802);
* require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to issue a report on possible fraud in petitions and self-petitions by abused aliens for U and T visas (Section 805);
* repeal the provision in current law that makes it possible for “U” visa recipients to adjust to LPR status (Section 806);
* provide exceptions to confidentiality promised to trafficking victims in order to permit information sharing “for national security purpose[s]” (Section 811); and
* require DHS to consider statements made by the abuser in cases where an abused alien is seeking (Section 812).
Ostensibly, the house GOP is introducing this “revision” to combat immigration fraud. Enter staunch immigrant hater and congressman Lamar Smith:
Fraud and abuse in the U.S. immigration system must be stopped,” Smith said. “Immigrants who perpetuate fraud in order to get visas or U.S. citizenship devalue U.S. immigration laws and hurt legitimate victims who are the intended beneficiaries of the generous programs we have established.”
However, there is no conclusive evidence that the VAWA act has created significant problems of fraud. Yet the GOP wants to allow abusers to submit evidence against their victims in a petition process. In other words, an immigrant, abused by her US citizen or LPR spouse, could be even further victimized by fabrications submitted by the abuser.
This would do more do harm genuine victims than combat fraud. There is fraud whenever benefits are at stake. Medicaid, social security, banks. You name it, there is fraud. Why single out a narrow sliver of U.S. immigration law when there is no compelling reason to believe that fraud will be a particular problem in the VAWA process? To attack victims.
This sentiment is further bolstered by what the house GOP wants to do with the U-visa, a form of relief for immigrant victims of a certain crimes who have been helpful in the prosecution or investigation of the crime. U-visas are meant to enhance the public safety of everyone. If an immigrant is afraid to report a crime because he or she fears deportation, the whole community suffers as a result. Impunity reigns and dangerous individuals remain on the streets.
The U-visa, as it currently stands, allows for a narrow group of victims of serious crimes to petition for permanent legal status in the United States. The GOP wants to make the U-visa only temporary. Worse, it wants to put such severe time limits on the victim so that a huge swath of people who would otherwise be eligible for relief become ineligible.
The proposed changes to the U-visa have nothing to do with the prevention of fraud. It is entirely an exercise of whittling down the number of immigrants eligible for relief. This further supports the conclusion that the GOP’s motivation for the proposed changes is nothing more than a pretext of pure anti-immigrant sentiment.