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Lynn Tramonte's picture

Last month we wrote about how Republicans were warring on immigrants and women by opposing revised health care standards for detainees.  Now, a new front in the GOP war against both groups is emerging.

Last Friday, Huffington Post's Ryan Grim and Elise Foley wrote about House Republicans’ plan to hijack the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization and use it to advance their anti-immigrant agenda. The title spelled it out quite clearly -- GOP's Violence Against Women Act Would Open Up Undocumented Victims To More Abuse:

The House Republican version of the new Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) would dramatically roll back confidentiality protections for abused immigrant women, make it more difficult for undocumented witnesses to work with law enforcement officials, and eliminate a pathway to citizenship for witnesses who cooperate with police on criminal cases.

The provisions are tucked into a bill that reauthorizes the act, and have received scant media attention. But the legislation is picking up steam in the House. The bill, officially sponsored by freshman Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), has the backing of the full House leadership, and is headed for a vote in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Incredibly, the bill is being pushed in the House by a survivor of domestic abuse, Representative Sandy Adams.  Adams is also former law enforcement, so she has seen this problem from different angles.  But rather than pushing a bill that supports all victims of domestic violence, her legislation actually empowers abusers.

According the Miami Herald's Fabiola Santiago. "Adams’ House Bill 4970 does away with essential elements of protection and weakens others." More from her article:

It would severely restrict, for example, the issuing of a U Visa, a little-known and already difficult to obtain visa given to crime victims who are undocumented so that they can report and help prosecute without fear of deportation. And it prohibits U Visa recipients from applying for permanent residency, in essence making it tougher for victims to rebuild their lives in a safe environment.

The bill would keep actual victims from coming forward, giving more power to their abusers and putting victims’ lives in danger. From Think Progress:

The GOP-led House’s version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) would not only strip away Senate-passed protections for undocumented, LGBT, and Native American victims, it also contains a dangerous provision that violates an undocumented victim’s confidentiality by allowing immigration officials to speak with, and ask for evidence from, his or her abuser.

Is nothing sacred anymore?  Using a domestic violence prevention law to carry out a vendetta against immigrants – in this case, immigrants who are victims of domestic violence – is really beyond the pale.  The Republicans are trying to spin this, of course, saying that they are about protecting all women, and opponents of the Adams bill are looking for “special protections” for specific groups.  They’ve got it exactly backwards.  As Terry O’Neill, the president of NOW, told POLITICO: “the agenda that is being promoted by the Adams bill is racist and homophobic and leaves women behind, and it’s not OK.”

Cross-Posted at America's Voice.

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