What Does the Renewal of VAWA Mean for Immigrants?
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) initially passed by Congress in 1994, was re-authorized in 2000 and 2005. However, reauthorization expired in 2011. In February 2013 Congress reauthorized and passed a revised VAWA. Under the revised VAWA, provisions also extend to women on Indian reservations and same-sex couples.
The American Bar Association describes the purpose of the original act as preventing violence against women through intervention that improved services, protection, healthcare, housing opportunities, economic security and protection of battered female immigrants and those subjected to human trafficking. It also provided protection for Native American Indian women and encouraged prosecution of abusers.
The main advantage that VAWA provided for battered immigrants was a pathway to legalized status by allowing temporary visas.
While some false information circulated making some people think that Congress needed to reauthorize VAWA for immigrants to benefit from the provisions, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that "The VAWA provisions, which apply equally to women and men, are permanent and do not require congressional reauthorization." Parties who are eligible to file for immigration status include spouses, parents and children for those related to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser.
If you face immigration issues, such as abuse, and fear deportation, get legal help from a New York immigration lawyer.