Beaten By A Partner or Deported, Which Would You Choose?


Is putting up with violence, pain and emotional trauma the price women have to pay if they want to live in the United States without documentation?  Yes, according to House Republicans, who are trying to tighten the laws surrounding deportation to require sending victims of domestic abuse back to their home countries if they aren’t needed to testify against their abusers.

As Mother Jones reports, Republican Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas is proposing the “Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act,” a bill that among other things, could change the rules for protecting undocumented immigrants who are the victims of domestic abuse if they report the crime to the police:

Under current law, undocumented immigrants trapped in abusive circumstances have two options. When paired with work authorization, these two processes offer a route to financial independence and deliverance for undocumented immigrants who might otherwise have to continue relying on their abuser:

  • The Violence Against Women Act establishes a process by which undocumented women or children can come forward and petition for legal status so that they aren’t forced to stay with an abusive spouse or parent. Undocumented immigrants whose abusive spouse or parent is also not a citizen require deferrals to avoid being deported while their visa petitions are being considered.
  • A special type of visa called a U visa allows undocumented immigrants who cooperate with law enforcement against their abusers to obtain work authorization and temporary legal status in the country.

However, if the HALT Act went into effect, a cap would be put on the number of visas that could be issued and the qualifications likely narrowed to just those actively working with law enforcement against their abusers.  Should they no longer be needed to testify, especially once the spouse or partner is in jail, they may no longer be protected.

There was outrage when a Republican legislator Ryan Fattman stated that when it comes to curbing illegal immigration, undocumented women who have been victims of rape should weigh the benefits of reporting the crime versus the possibility that it could expose her to being deported. “My thought is that if someone is here illegally, they should be afraid to come forward,” Mr. Fattman said. “If you do it the right way, you don’t have to be concerned about these things.”

Does the victim of repeated physical abuse need to be afraid to come forward, as well?  Should ongoing violence really be the price a woman would have to pay to stay in the country?


Related Stories:

Republican Legislator Would Rather Let A Rapist Go Free Than Have An Illegal Immigrant Report an Assault

Representative Who Stated Immigrant Women Should Be Afraid To Report Rape Now Compares Them To Drunk Drivers

Ad Campaign Depicting Domestic Violence Sparks Outrage

Photo credit: Prashanthns, via wikimedia commons


Jay Hem
Immigrant I AM7 years ago


Where the hell are you getting your percentages from???????? I was actually at court today for about 5 hours and what I saw was about 85% of the criminals in jump suits were WHITE!! Most had theft and possession of meth charges... a WHITE GUY was actually sentenced to 10 YEARS for attempting to rob not only 1 or 2 locations... but 14!!!! So maybe before you start typing away stuff that just come out ur behind go walk into a court first!!!!

Erth G.
Erth G.7 years ago

Should fine a country for each illegal that breaks the law. That way if they cant safeguard thier own citizens can use that money as debt to take over their own lands and use it for those illegals that want to come to america.

Robby C.
Past Member 7 years ago

83% of warrants for murder in Phoenix are for illegal aliens.
86% of warrants for murder in Albuquerque are for illegal aliens.
75% of those on the most wanted list in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Albuquerque are illegal aliens.
53% of all investigated burglaries reported in CA, NM, NV, AZ, & TX are perpetrated by illegal aliens.

Robby C.
Past Member 7 years ago

Please learn the diff b/t IMMIGRANT & ILLEGAL. Immigrants are here legally. ILLEGALS are NOT. Futher, the illegal has every right to be safe from violence & can prosecute her violent perpetrator. But does face the matter illegal status. If not here illegally, she wouldn't have been hurt here, OR would've been here legally & unconcerned w/her status. If someone saves a baby right after they rob a bank, do they get a pass for robbing the bank? NO! If you rob a 7-11 & slip on a wet floor can you sue the store & NOT get prosecuted for robbery? NO!

One thing's got nothing to do w/the other. The US cannot support the world- we're 4% or ~300mil (legal) & are supposed to support how many more illegals? Check out population gumballs- youtube. No one ever does. But it explains it so even children get it.

Allowing ILLEGALS to stay here b/c a 3rd party (legal or illegal) has harmed them is simply another way of liberals trying to turn the US into a 3rd world country. We're getting there- BO's almost succeeded. GW was bad enough, but would NEVER have gotten away w/the crap BO has! This is just another "executive/dictator fiat" for votes- go to the police w/a few scratches & say "I've been hurt" & you can prosecute AND stay here? NO WAY! Prosecute fine, but you may have to answer for your crime. If here on a Visa, then you are legal, so nothing to worry about.

Seabert B.
Seabert B7 years ago


Janice Redinger
Janice Redinger7 years ago

A HUGE amount of folks trying to get here are oppressed or profiting fro the US "War on DRUGS! So are many other countries. This is a HUGELY expensive, totally useless program lobbied by big Pharmaceuticals. Legalizing marijuana alone would raise the tax base by billions and billions. No drugging and driving, folks. Other meds that are on the shelves in some countries could do the same. Big drug lobbies will hate it, but look at the coughing, dying,stomach ulcers and anal leakage they are touting now.

Lindy E.
Belinda E7 years ago

Grrr...when will Care2 restore the word count?

If immigrants can't get jobs that can support their families, they we will end up using taxpayer dollars to help them make ends meet (remember, the children born here are citizens, under current law).

If immigrants can't get health insurance, we will end up using taxpayer dollars to pay for emergency room care, for problems that could have been taken care of in a doctor's office for a small fraction of the cost.

If we deny them living wages AND welfare, health insurance AND Medicaid, then we will foster a well-justified culture of resentment.

The only solution that I can see is to get rid of the problem. The reason people immigrate illegally is that we do not allow them to immigrate legally. Get rid of the quota system. Allow all healthy adults with job skills to apply for citizenship, then support them with intensive English-language training as well as training in the rights and duties of citizenship, and navigating the bureaucratic maze and the more-or-less universal customs of American society. Don't want to become a citizen? Then what can you contribute to our country that would justify giving you a work visa?

I don't claim to have all the answers. I hope my comments will provoke a sane and reasoned debate that might actually lead, eventually, to a rational solution to the problem of illegal immigration.

Lindy E.
Belinda E7 years ago

@Pauline - thank you for letting us know this is not strictly an American problem. We sometimes feel like everyone in the world has solved the illegal-immigrant problem except us!

@Michele - the story is about undocumented (illegal) aliens. It has nothing to do with aliens here on a work visa. They are protected - unless someone knows differently?

No problem has a simple solution; if it did, it would be solved and it wouldn't be a problem. (Yes, that's simplistic too, but it gets the idea across.) My gut reaction is, if they want the rights of citizens, let them stay in the country where they are citizens. On the other hand, the ills of illegal immigration, like smallpox, aren't going to disappear if you pretend they don't exist - they'll just spread throughout the country and pop up in new ways all the time.

Even a rational (not knee-jerk) Republican should be able to see the consequences of a simplistic approach to illegal immigration:

If an illegal immigrant is afraid to turn in an abuser, he is free to hurt other people. If he, also, is undocumented, then he's "under the radar" of the law enforcement system, until he does something that draws their attention directly.

If we don't vaccinate all the children (regardless of their residency status), then we run the risk of epidemics.

If we don't educate all the children, then they will be a drag on society, unable to fulfill the duties we expect of adults.

If immigrants can't get jobs that can supp

D. T.
D. T.7 years ago

It's a shame that anyone must endure abuse of any kind, whether it be a women or a man.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin7 years ago

Repukes are woman haters!
And there are several men around the world who buy a wife from a foreign country, keep her for a limited time, and just before she's allowed to stay in the country, divorces her. When the divorce is final, they (the men) go about getting a new wife. There have been several incidents like this in Sweden but the authoroties can't intervene because there's no law against failing a marriage!