The House, on February 7th, defeated a proposed amendment to the immigration laws that would have made a third DUI conviction and any domestic violence conviction an aggravated felony. These amendments were part of the proposed amendments to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This is an important victory for non-citizens because an immigration aggravated felony is the most severe violation of this country’s immigration laws and there is little if no relief from deportation if one is charged with an aggravated felony.
On the other hand, the VAWA legislation is critically important to non-citizens who are victims of domestic abuse. Thankfully, the Senate voted with an overwhelming majority to move forward with a vote on a bipartisan Violence Against Women Act that strengthens protections for all victims of sexual and domestic violence, particularly Native Americans, immigrants and LGBT survivors of violence.