The HALT Act Tries to Undermine The Violence Against Women Act

Domestic violence and human trafficking exists in all facets of life. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does give immigration protection to individuals who have been battered or suffered from mental or physical abuse from the crime of human trafficking. The USCIS allows these people and their children to file for immigration without the perpetrator knowing.

Through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) the following types of women can apply for naturalization:

– Those who have been abused in the United States by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, and entered into the marriage in good faith, not just for immigration benefits

– Those who have been abused by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse abroad while the spouse was employed by the U.S. government or a member of the U.S. uniformed services

– The parent of a child who has been subjected to abuse by their U.S. citizen or permanent spouse

– A mother who has been abused by their U.S. citizen son or daughter

VAWA went into law in 1994 and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. This year it will expire if not reauthorized. Recently, the Senate held a hearing to celebrate “The Violence Against Women Act: Building on Seventeen Years of Accomplishments”. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has long adopted efforts to lessen violence against immigrant women, family violence, and programs to help victims.

On July 12, Texas House of Representative Lamar Smith introduced H.R. 2497, the Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act (HALT Act). Many immigration attorneys feel the HALT Act will hurt immigrant victims of domestic violence and battery as it will deny them protections against deportation that were allowed under deferred action mechanisms.

“USCIS grants Deferred Action to approved self-petitioners awaiting adjustment so they can work legally and escape their abusers’ economic control,” the AILA said in a letter to House representatives. “By eliminating Deferred Action as a tool for helping victims of domestic violence and other victims of crimes, HALT would restore a powerful weapon to batterers’ and crime perpetrators’ arsenals against victims vulnerable to removal.”
VAWA has been a cause that both political parties have embraced for 17 years. But if legislation like HALT takes precedence and VAWA is not re-authorized, immigration attorneys worry what the legacy for an immigrant woman’s rights will be.

Houston immigration attorney Annie Banerjee sees the importance of VAWA every day in her immigration law practice. She champions her clients’ rights to a safe environment, opportunities to remain lawfully in the United States, and achieve their citizenship goals. The Law Offices of Annie Banerjee are known for their skill at helping individuals and families with all their immigration concerns for more than 10 years.

For more information:
Law Offices of A. Banerjee
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Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139
Fax: (281) 242-2058

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Houston, Texas 77030
Phone: (713) 793-6339

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