THIS GROUP OF WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES NEEDS CONGRESS TO ACT NOW
We all talk about the rights of domestic abuse victims here in the United States, but there is little discussion around victims who also happen to be undocumented immigrants.
Advocates for abused immigrants (either victims of domestic violence in their home countries or in the United States) say many victims qualify for political asylum or special resident visas, but many are reluctant to complain or seek help for fear of making things worse.
Only about 25,000 special visas are granted each year to victims of violence, and without solid evidence to support the claims, immigration judges struggle to sort fact and fiction.
The Senate and House have a stalled bipartisan immigrations bills that would put 4 million undocumented women on a path to legal status and would grant more services to immigrants who have suffered violence here or abroad.
Why We Should Care
When abuse occurs in the US, foreign-born victims can pursue help from police and social services, however victims are also concerned that they will be reported to immigration.
According to Jeanne Smoot, director of public policy for the Tahirih Justice Center, Congress doesn’t have time to wait to vote on this issue. “We see an immigration system that ties and traps women in situations of abuse and exploitation every day. Reform legislation will address that with a host of thoughtful and significant changes,” says Smoot.
Our Time Opinion
The time is now for immigration reform!