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What is the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act?

Immigrants in California have certain protections under law. In particular, battered immigrants had protections under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 

This act aims to provide safety and justice for survivors of violence and domestic abuse. Reauthorizations of the act also add more protections as time passes. However, the current reauthorization of the act has stalled for over a year. 

When was VAWA reauthorized?

The National Network to End Domestic Violence discusses the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. There have been two reauthorizations of the act since its authorization in 2000. One took place in 2005, and one in 2013 after a long legal battle due to the inclusion of same-sex couples and provisions protecting battered immigrants. These undocumented immigrants gain temporary visas under VAWA. 

Unfortunately, VAWA expired in December of 2018. The federal government’s shutdown prevented the reauthorization of this act. A temporary reauthorization got sanctioned by a short-term spending bill the following month. But this bill expired in February of 2019. Since then, the case to reauthorize VAWA volleyed around in political limbo. 

What is the goal for 2020 reauthorization?

The 2020 reauthorization aims to keep all previous provisions with no rollbacks. It also aims to end impunity for non-native abusers against native children and women. It attempts to provide safer housing options and improve housing protections. There are plans to increase investment in sexual violence and domestic abuse prevention. It aims to increase avenues for justice while promoting economic security. Finally, it aims to ensure better access to potentially life-saving VAWA services. 

There is still time and opportunity to get the reauthorization of VAWA passed. If this happens, battered undocumented immigrants may still seek protection.