Now that the Senate passed its version of the Violence Against Women Act the House of Representatives must pass its version, and not surprisingly the version making its way through is pretty appalling.
Not only does the GOP-controlled House version of VAWA strip away protections for undocumented, LGBT, and Native American victims of domestic violence, it also contains a provision that violates an undocumented victim’s confidentiality by allowing immigration officials to speak with her and ask for evidence from his or her abuser.
This provision is especially cruel because it exacerbates fears undocumented victims already have of calling the police because to report their abuse risks deportation. Republicans want to build on that fear by alerting their abusers that their victims have sought help. Under the law as it stands immigrant victims enjoy a confidentiality when reporting acts of violence and abuse.
Republicans had already opposed renewal of VAWA because it expanded the scope of protections from domestic abuse. But this House bill takes that opposition one step further into an affirmative attack on immigrant women’s safety. It’s a blatant pandering to the most offensive elements of the right and one that threatens actual lives showing that Republicans not only lack concern about issues like violence against women, they have no problem enabling such violence to begin with.
Photo from MacJewell via flickr.