The Violence Against Women Act & Immigration Fraud
“The time for reform is NOW”
Immigration marriage fraud has long been a problem. In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments (IMFA) to protect American citizens from marriage fraud and to protect the integrity of the US immigration system. But eight years later the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted, a law that undermines the provisions of IMFA. Title VIII of VAWA addresses the needs of battered immigrants. The plight of abused immigrants should concern us all. But most people are unaware how Title VIII of VAWA is being used to allow and encourage immigration fraud.
VAWA Facilitates Immigration Fraud
• Allows an immigrant to self-petition for a green card based on claims of domestic violence, without providing any hard proof of abuse
• Provides free legal services to immigrants who merely claim abuse
• Eliminates traditional standards of proof; Requires only one-sided proof of abuse, such as a personal statement by the immigrant, or an Ex Parte Restraining Order which requires no evidence to receive
• Bans all evidence by the alleged abuser, even if it shows fraud or illegal behavior; A US citizen merely accused of abuse is classified as a “prohibited source”
• Overrides deportation hearings when an immigrant claims to be a victim of spousal abuse
• Allows unlawful or illegal aliens, often with criminal backgrounds, to qualify for the self-petitioning process
• Removes any responsibility from the self-petitioner for bringing false claims of abuse
• Centralizes a decision-making body for all self-petitions to the Vermont Service Center, staffed with VAWA trained personnel acting under VAWA instructions
• VAWA provides NO safeguards to prevent or even deter an immigrant spouse from lying about spousal abuse.
Foreign Nationals Make False Claims
By amending the Immigration and Nationality Act via VAWA so that undocumented immigrants can receive residency when making a claim of abuse and have access to free legal services, VAWA is making it more likely that false claims of abuse will be made. IMFA requires a two-year conditional status for foreign spouses before they become eligible for permanent residency. If the couple divorces within two years, the foreign spouse must depart the country. But VAWA enables foreign spouses to bypass the two-year marriage requirement by merely claiming to be a victim of abuse. Since the US citizen spouse is not notified that an allegation of abuse has been made, and since the US citizen spouse is prohibited from refuting the allegation, and since the US citizen spouse has no right to present any evidence that may portray the immigrant spouse in a negative light, the immigrant spouse is assured that the claim of abuse will be accepted.
All For A Green Card: Impact of False Claims
According to a recent report by RADAR, VAWA funded immigration fraud costs US taxpayers $170 million per year. (www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-VAWA-Funded-Immigration-Fraud.pdf)
Real victims of abuse are hurt because widespread false allegations of abuse inevitably cast doubt on the validity of real victims’ claims.
Scarce resources are being diverted away from the true victims of domestic abuse.
Current provisions allow an illegal immigrant to become legal by claiming abuse.
Immigrants who falsely claim abuse have more rights and protections than law-abiding citizens!
Honest American citizens are being subjected to unfounded allegations of abuse that have led to emotional and financial ruin.
Honest American citizens have been subjected to jail time because of an allegation of abuse.
Honest American citizens are having their parental rights taken away based on an allegation of abuse.
Honest American citizens are losing jobs because of complications caused by allegations of abuse.
American Women Are Being Abused By VAWA
The Violence Against Women Act was originally passed in 1994 as national legislation to provide services to battered and abused women. Now, American women are having VAWA used against them by their immigrant spouses. VAWA has opened the door for a woman’s immigrant spouse to bypass the immigration laws of the U.S. and all immigration fraud safeguards applicable to other immigrants by merely claiming to be a victim of abuse. Was this really the intention that was envisioned when the immigration provisions were added to VAWA?
Opportunities For Criminals & Terrorists
Immigration fraud is a proven method used by criminals and terrorists to gain entry into the United States illegally to carry out their agendas, according to a government report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police. Per a Center for Immigration Studies report: If small-time con artists and Third-World gold-diggers can obtain green cards with so little resistance, then surely terrorists can do (and have done) the same. Janice Kephart, former counsel to the 9/11 commission and now Director of National Security Policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, wrote a disturbing Center Paper called Immigration and Terrorism in which she outlined how numerous international terrorists, including members of Al-Qaeda, have used marriage fraud in order to prolong their stays in the United States. Per John Sampson, former DHS & ICE enforcement officer, “Now, if the terrorist is going to be a ‘sleeper,’ one who stays hidden for some time and then resurfaces when he needs to complete his assignment, I’d go the green card route and I’d allege that my U.S. citizen spouse abused me so I could get out of the marriage quickly and still get my green card.”
The Need For Reform
The most fundamental principle of the American criminal justice system is the right to due process. Under VAWA immigration provisions, an American citizen accused of partner abuse has no legal standing to refute the claims of the immigrant spouse with the US government. Safeguards need to be added so true abuse victims are protected without taking away the rights of an alleged abuser. Due process includes providing every American citizen the opportunity to refute a false allegation of spousal abuse, wherever that claim may be made.
It is clear that the current system is flawed and needs significant reforms. Immigration provisions within VAWA are compromising the integrity of the U.S. immigration system. Voice of American Immigration Fraud Victims has a plan for the changes that must be included in the 2010 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. We are not advocating a repeal of VAWA, nor are we looking to take away an immigrant’s ability to file a self-petition when confronted with an abusive relationship. We simply want to restore due process. We want to remove the incentive to make false allegations of abuse. We want to close the immigration loophole that VAWA has opened. We want to improve the integrity of the US immigration system. We want to help make our country safer from the threat of terrorism.
PLEASE DO NOT CONSIDER THE 2010 REAUTHORIZTION OF THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT UNTIL THIS IMMIGRATION LOOPHOLE IS CLOSED!
For information regarding our proposed changes, please contact us:
Voice of American Immigration Fraud Victims
P.O. Box 1404
Rockville, MD 20849
David Brannon / 301-580-8910
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