Washington, DC - The House on Thursday, with broad bipartisan support (286-138), passed S.47, the Senate's version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the same bill which had passed the Senate three weeks ago, also with strong bipartisan support (78-22- including those of every woman, all Democrats and just over half of Republicans). This is in stark contrast from last year when the two chambers and the two parties could not come to an agreement on VAWA.
"AILA applauds this important step forward in expanding protections for all victims of crime and human trafficking," said Laura Lichter, AILA President. She added, "S.47 allows for crucial funding to continue for programs that protect immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault"
The newly passed legislation creates and expands federal programs to assist local communities with law enforcement and to aid victims of domestic and sexual abuse. On immigration issues, the bill contains fixes including the survival of the VAWA petition for children of deceased self-petitioners and the extension of protections under the U visa in regards to children who age-out while waiting for applications to be processed. It also provides for training for law enforcement officers on U and T visas which grant critical protections for immigrant survivors of crime and human trafficking.
Lichter concluded, "One positive sign that came from this vote is the fact that Congress proved it can put politics aside and work together to do the right thing for women and for America. It means that nearly 19 million immigrant women can now feel safer."
The bill now heads to the President's desk to be signed into law.