Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vote Expected Today on Amendment Harmful to Immigrant Surivivors

Via the National Immigrant Justice Center:

Vote expected today: Senator Vitter has offered a harmful amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill that would undercut community policing and endanger public safety, particularly the safety of immigrants who are victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Sen. Vitter's amendment #3277 (read it here) attempts to deny Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding to cities and states that pledge not to ask about the immigration status of crime victims and witnesses.

Both Legal Momentum, an advocacy organization for women and girls, and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) sent letters to senators this morning warning that battered immigrants would be hurt by the proposed legislation.

"Victims of domestic violence need to trust the police to seek assistance, but fear of being reported to immigration officials is one of the most significant factors preventing immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking from seeking help," writes Lisalyn Jacobs, Legal Momentum's vice president of government relations.

NAESV President Monika Johnson Hostler points out that sexual assault is already one of the most under-reported crimes. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, she says, only 36% of rape and sexual assault victims report the crime to the police. "As a result, NAESV absolutely opposes this measure which will create additional barriers to victims coming forward," she writes.
Contact your senators and explain that the Vitter amendment #3277 will harm our cities by decreasing support for law enforcement and public safety. The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.

No comments: