Crimes Against Womanity

A proposed change in immigration law may make the lives of undocumented battered women even more difficult. Under the current Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), physically abused illegal aliens can apply for lawful immigrant status. The potential new law would force these women to return to their country of origin before applying for legal residency in the U.S. For abused women this change would be particularly damning, as it would put even more power in the hands of their abusers, says Gail Pendleton, the co-chair of the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women. Pendelton tells the American Prospect, "In a policy context, it doesn't make any sense at all... The people who would not be able to stay here to get green cards are the people who met their abusers in the United States, and those abusers are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Those are exactly the perpetrators you want to get at, so to give them a weapon of power and control is crazy." [American Prospect]