Immigration Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) [August 28, 2012]   [open pdf - 454KB]

"The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) includes provisions to assist foreign nationals who have been victims of domestic abuse. These provisions, initially enacted by Congress with the Immigration Act of 1990 and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994, afford benefits to abused foreign nationals and allow them to self-petition for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status independently of the U.S. citizen or LPR relatives who originally sponsored them. Congress reauthorized VAWA with the Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000, which also created the U visa for foreign national victims of a range of crimes--including domestic abuse--who assisted law enforcement. A second reauthorization in 2005 added protections and expanded eligibility for abused foreign nationals. VAWA expired in 2011. On November 30, 2011, Senator Leahy introduced S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011. It was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and reported favorably on February 7, 2012. On April 26, 2012, the Senate passed it by a vote of 68 to 31. In the House, Representative Adams introduced H.R. [House Resolution] 4970 (To reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994) on April 27, 2012. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it was reported favorably on May 8, 2012. The House passed the bill in the nature of a substitute on May 16, 2012, by a vote of 222 to 205."

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CRS Report for Congress, R42477
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