U.S. House Votes to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act: Here’s How It May Impact You

Posted on 03/19/21

In Wednesday’s late afternoon hours, House Democrats and Republicans with bipartisan support voted to reauthorize the 1994 Clinton Era Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). A shocking signal of consensus that aims to reaffirm the successful program’s commitment to victims of violence and immigrants. VAWA is a federal law that handles the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes including domestic abuse, harassment, and sexual assault. The law was sponsored by then-Senator Joseph Biden and a coalition of Democrats and Republicans. VAWA has significant advantages for immigrants as it allows for the possibility that certain immigrants who may have been ineligible for immigration benefits to potentially petition for U.S. permanent residency considering their close relationship with a permanent resident spouse (green card holder) or with a citizen.

VAWA has continuously been reauthorized over the past two decades but hit a snag in the Republican-controlled Senate in 2019. Certain provisions within the 2019 legislation prevented misdemeanor offenders from obtaining a gun permit, something Republicans had hoped House Democrats would not have included in the legislation and thus subsequently voted against it. Although receiving bipartisan support from 29 Republicans in the House, the bill is likely to face an uphill battle in the Senate. The 2021 Georgia elections offered Democrats two critical Senate seats, splitting the Senate evenly. The divided Senate will make bipartisanship critical, especially during the current public health crisis. For the House bill to be passed, 10 Republicans must sign-on, which remains highly unlikely. Republicans have signaled their commitment to offering alternative legislation reciting the importance of the key provisions within VAWA while terminating gun restrictions.

In a statement issued by the White House, President Biden called on passing the legislation with ease and to highlight his support of VAWA. “This should not be a Democratic or Republican issue — it’s about standing up against the abuse of power and preventing violence. I am grateful to the House of Representatives for their leadership and dedication to ending gender-based violence. Now, I urge the Senate to follow past precedent and bring a strong bipartisan coalition together to ensure the passage of VAWA so that I can sign this legislation as soon as possible.” President Biden has proposed one of the most progressive immigration bills in the history of our nation, vowing to secure key protections for millions. VAWA is just one of the intricate parts of his mission on immigration

Advocates for the program argue that the provisions highlighted to limit domestic violence offenders from obtaining a gun permit will protect women who have been victims of sexual and physical assault. The necessity of including such provisions cannot go unnoticed as many victims of violence often fear retaliation, and repeat offenses. Republicans face a tough decision on whether to protect the rights of women who have been victimized or to uphold second amendment rights for gun ownership. Victims of abuse remain vulnerable as the law is stalled. Bold actions to protect the rights of victims of sexual and physical abuse are required in the uncertain times of our plagued immigration system, not bitter partisanship.

Senator Joni Ernst a Republican from Iowa, who herself is a victim of sexual assault commented on the gun measures included in the legislation. “Certainly we ran into hiccups with some of the gun issues, and that’s a big one for a number of us, stripping away people’s constitutional rights is not something that we should be doing.” The decisions both Republican and Democrat Senators will have to make are not easy ones. Key opposition from NRA officials has signaled that Republicans should not vote to permit gun provisions that protect women from potential further violence from becoming law. Some Democrats have criticized a handful of Republicans for siding with the NRA especially when it comes to reauthorizing the critical protections thousands of women have benefited from.

President Biden has reaffirmed his commitment to executing his campaign promises on Immigration. In his first 55 days, President Biden has acted swiftly to implement commonsense immigration laws that recognize the importance of legal immigration and protecting immigrants who have been victims of humanitarian crises and violence. But President Biden has inherited an immigration system that has been neglected by several administrations including the one he once was a part of. Whether it be partisan rhetoric that has clouded effective immigration policies or the failures of our bureaucracy, our immigration system is in despair. Delays in the application processes, court backlogs, and refugees left without security are all under central focus. Each passing day, immigrants become more vulnerable to discrimination and victims of our complex immigration system. President Biden and his administration are currently failing to aid in some efforts to overcome the “border crisis” with the recent surges to our border, specifically unaccompanied minors. Our office is calling on the Biden administration to make due on their campaign promises and work with the legislative body of the United States Congress to get working on an immigration overhaul because the lives of millions depend on it.

The Violence Against Women Act recognizes the complex situations women are subjected to when immigrating to the United States. Women are frequently trafficked into the United States and their unique role as domestic workers or caretakers makes them vulnerable in cases where their rights must be asserted. For women whose legal status is tied to someone who is abusive, challenges may arise. VAWA’s access to immigration allows these victims to seek refuge from those who may be using their immigration status as a means of control.

Planning on immigrating to the United States and are questioning if you’re eligible to utilize the highlighted protections and provisions within the Violence Against Women Act? Look no further than to contact Attorney James A. Welcome, a top-rated immigration Attorney in Connecticut who has represented countless immigrants across the country and world. Attorney Welcome understands the importance of securing your fundamental rights especially when it comes to being a victim of sexual or physical abuse. In these cases, immigrants may fear retaliation and our commitment is to prioritize your safety and ensure you get the protection of legal status. There are many benefits of obtaining legal status in the United States and our focus is to make them a reality for you. Don’t delay your immigration application or partner with inexperienced legal representation. In such cases, your immigration application may be denied or vulnerable to discrepancies. Let our team assist you.

Attorney James A. Welcome and his legal team will efficiently and effectively review your case details being sure to highlight all evidence that would strengthen your case. By partnering with an award-winning legal team, you can rest knowing your case will be a priority from the first day you start working with us up until you receive a decision on your case. As a quadrilingual law firm, we can accommodate multiple language preferences from Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish. Are you ready to partner with a team tasked with upholding the rights of immigrants and injured persons across Connecticut? Call our team and see how we focus our legal practice on trusted and sound legal representation. For 24/7 support from our Connecticut Attorneys, call us directly at (203) 753-7300 or visit our website for our live chat system at welcomelawfirm.com.

Questioning whether or not to pay for your initial consultation with an Attorney? There are some facts you should know before accepting a “free” immigration consultation. Even in cases where you may be speaking to an Attorney, your questions and time may be limited in scope. Your legal fees may be even higher to account for the time alluded to your initial consultation. Remember, nothing is ever really free. At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we charge an affordable rate for an initial immigration consultation. If you choose to hire us, this will be credited to your final case amount. We want you to partner with a firm that represents thousands, and that starts with a confidential video consultation with Attorney James A. Welcome and his team. Reach out today.