The Violence against Women Act (VAWA) Needs to be More than just a Political Football

While politics has its place in the nation, politicians need to stop playing word games in diva mode over legislation as vitally important as the Violence Against Women Act.

Without politicians, the nation would not have legislation, rules, regulations, Acts and Bills to govern behavior, administer the law, carry on commerce and promote immigration. However, part of the political process seems to be the love of hyperbole. Such was the case when politicians waxed elegant about the proposed changes to VAWA. Once again, a vitally important law has fallen victim to election year rhetoric, and there is no clear winner in sight.

It seems those on the campaign trail feel VAWA is an issue to be used to score political points. Frankly, politics should not matter when dealing with issues like this. The issue is not what politician is better than another, nor what party is better than another. The main point of this Act is to make communities safer for women and children, not bicker over who did what to whom and how important they are for doing it.

Just recently the House voted for a reauthorization bill. That vote was loudly opposed by the Democrats, who wanted a version that was considered in the Senate. The House legislation is fairly similar to the Senate sponsored Bill, with both reauthorizing programs to offer life-saving support to domestic violence victims, and the funding remains just about the same.

Overall, when the two bills are compared, they are close to 85 percent identical. What is the problem? Politicians say the Senate version, by adding services for Native Americans, lesbians, gays, transgender and bisexual violence victims, is politicizing VAWA so the Republicans will not vote for it, due to the hot button issues. History shows when VAWA has been reauthorized, it is to expand unmet needs, which has nothing to do with politicians and their sexuality biases.

What does have the potential to be an issue is the avoidance of the fact that some programs within VAWA may be abused with fraudulent applications by immigrants. One of the pieces of legislation lets illegal immigrants applying for, and obtain, a U-Visa to remain in the U.S. after being victimized, and makes certain they work with law enforcement to put the criminal/abuser in prison. However, they do not have the right to permanent residence, unless they are victims of aliens, and the alien is convicted and deported. Put another way, the U-Visa would no longer offer amnesty to illegal aliens just because they claim to have been a victim of a crime.

It is a delicate balancing act to find a happy medium for both parties to agree upon. However, both parties are missing the real issue, and that is immigrant women and children need the support and care offered under the auspices of VAWA. They do not need political arguing when their lives may hang in the balance.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at

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