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.
Undocumented victims already fear calling the police because they risk deportation in doing so. This portion of the bill adds on another level of fear by alerting their abusers that they’ve sought help — under current law, immigrant victims enjoy a right to confidentiality that would be seriously undermined by this bill. Allowing perpetrators of domestic violence to play any role in the deportation or protection of their victims is a cruel fate, but alerting an abuser to a victim’s complaint adds yet another level of emotional abuse on top of the physical abuse that the victim already faces.
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