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The 2005 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act: Why Congress Acted to Expand Protections to Immigrant Victims

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 13 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2007 Pages: 457-468
John Conyers Jr.
Date Published
May 2007
12 pages
This article discusses the 2006 Violence Against Women and U.S. Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 and its intent to expand the protection of immigrant women who face domestic violence and other forms of violence.
In reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), immigrant women who suffer from battery and extreme cruelty in the United States are afforded protections. Important changes and adjustments have been made to current law that will ensure that the broad range of domestic violence victims and their children have access to the immigration relief they need to escape from abuse and begin to rebuild their lives. In addition, new provisions regulate the international marriage broker (IMB) industry, guaranteeing fiancés and spouses immigrating from abroad government-provided access to important information on the domestic violence and criminal history of their United States citizen spouses and fiancés. In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act became landmark legislation and the first Federal law addressing domestic violence crimes to provide a Federal role in the prosecution of these crimes and the treatment and protection of victims. In the U.S. Congress’ commitment to identifying, addressing, and preventing domestic violence and other forms of violence against immigrant women, the 2005 VAWA reauthorization was enacted containing provisions that exclusively serve to protect immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking and foreign fiancés and spouse who fall victim to the increasingly predatory practices of IMBs.


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