Abused Immigrant Women Forced to Keep Quiet or Else Be Deported

U visa, Violence Against Women Act, VAWA, Immigrant Women, Immigration Services, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, Violence

Credit: GettyImage

San Francisco, CA

In their second debate, the candidates for president talked —finally— about immigration, violence and women. What they did not talk about was violence against immigrant women and how our country’s anti-immigrant laws make it worse for us and our children.

Too many immigrant women, forced into the shadows of society, have had to make the choice between protecting themselves or keeping their families together.

I have had to make that choice.

I endured abuse by my partner, while worrying constantly about my then three-year-old son. But, because of my immigration status, I feared what would happen if I contacted the authorities.

When I finally did make the decision to call, my fears turned out to be all too real.

Instead of helping us get away from my abusive partner, police arrested me. I spent five days in jail, separated from my son, before authorities moved me to immigration custody and began deportation proceedings.

Thankfully, by connecting with the nonprofit Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), I secured a U visa. Provided for under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), these visas encourage immigrant victims of violence to come forward by offering them temporary legal status.

I know other women like me have not been so lucky.

President Obama did offer hope to more than a million young immigrants with his new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. But DACA will not help the mothers who raised them. He has vowed to create a roadmap to citizenship, but has also deported a record number of immigrants –separating mothers from their children— for minor infractions such as not wearing a seatbelt.

In the October 16 debate, Governor Romney again defended the heartless concept of “self-deportation” and missed yet another chance to condemn SB 1070, Arizona’s inhumane anti-immigrant law. He also came shockingly close to blaming single mothers, rather than assault weapons and criminals, for violence.

And on the topics of immigration and violence, neither candidate mentioned the fact that the Violence Against Women Act is now under attack, with some legislators working to push back the very protections for immigrant women that changed everything.

In the town hall debate, a young woman named Lorraine Osorio — have pushed both candidates for details on what they would change about American immigration policy. But the voices and experiences of immigrants, the women whose families and daily lives are most deeply affected, are often left out.

We are in the midst of a groundswell of support for immigrant women.

Source: FoxNews

For more information and advice on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)?

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