The federal Violence Against Women Act, in effect in the US since 1994, will expire this year if not reauthorized by Congress.
The Act has passionate advocates … and fervent detractors.
Although the Act is actually fairly broad-based in its scope of attack on domestic violence, it may be most well-known and most vigorously opposed in connection with its application to and by immigrants who allege that they are victims of domestic violence.
In a nutshell, immigrants who allege that they are victims of domestic violence are well-positioned to remain in the US despite lacking any other legal basis to do so.
Opponents of the Act maintain that the immigration haven provided by the Act incites false allegations by immigrants of domestic violence allegedly committed by Americans.
There can be little doubt that this contention is true in some instances, yet the Act also accomplishes much good. Many domestic violence shelters and programs (and the abuse victims they serve) rely on the Act for much of their funding.
Pending legislation spearheaded by Democrats would, if passed, extend the Act beyond September, maintain funding, and expand and strengthen the scope of the Act with regard to stalking as well as physical violence, illegal immigrants and same-sex relationships.
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