Help still available for abused immigrant women

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Jan 26 2013 11:54 AM | Updated as of Jan 26 2013 07:54 PM

DALY CITY, California - Help is still available for abused women immigrants, despite the failure of U.S. congress to reauthorize a piece of legislation that would provide relief for them.

For the first time in 18 years, the U.S. Congress did not renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a
law that provides funding to police and social service groups that helps victims of domestic abuse and rape.

“The fortunate thing is, even if Congress did not authorize the continuance of the Violence Against Women’s
Act, aliens who are subjected to abuse by their spouses can still apply for themselves under the Immigration and Nationality Act,” said Filipino American lawyer Ted Laguatan.

Laguatan explained that VAWA is encoded in the Immigration and Nationality Act which is still effective.

Undocumented immigrants who can prove that they are abused by their U.S. citizen spouses can still get their immigrant visas through self-petition.

“Thousands, if not millions of individuals, are subjected to domestic abuse, so VAWA helps them in their plight in so many ways.”

Senate Democrats recently reintroduced a bipartisan bill on VAWA. The bill would not only reauthorize the law, but would add new protections for members of the LGBT community and Native American women.