House Passes VAWA, GOP Leaders Cave on Immigration

On Wednesday evening, the House passed its version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), H.R. 4970, in a close 222-205 vote.

As introduced, H.R. 4970 would have taken steps to make the U visa a true non-immigrant visa. First, the original bill would have removed a provision from federal law that allows U visa holders to obtain legal permanent residency after three years, per the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Second, it would have prevented U visa holders from extending the temporary four-year visa period by an additional four-year period. (See H.R. 4970 § 806 as introduced) (To read more about the U Visa, see FAIR’s Policy Statement)

Unfortunately, over the weekend, House leadership changed course and decided to strip these provisions from the bill. According to news reports, House Leadership quietly invited outside groups — including the National Organization for Women and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence — to the Capitol last weekend to develop the amendment package and win their support.

As a result, the night before the bill was to be voted on, the House Rules Committee adopted a manager’s amendment offered by Rep. Sandy Adams, the author of H.R. 4970, which weakened several of the key immigration provisions in the original bill. (See House Rules Committee Website)

As amended, the bill now provides that U visa holders will receive a green card if the offenders are aliens, are convicted, and are deported to the visa holder’s home country. Moreover, the amended bill reinstates a provision allowing aliens under the U visa program to extend their visa while waiting for a green card.

The amendment also weakens safeguards in the original bill to protect against fraud by lowering the standard of evidence required to demonstrate an alien was a victim before the government can cancel an order of removal against them and grant them a green card. (See H.R. 4970 § 801)

President Obama, nonetheless, has threatened to veto the House version of the bill due its immigration-related provisions, as well as unrelated provisions affecting tribal authority and the LGBT community. (Statement of Administration Policy, May 15, 2012)

It is now up to House and Senate conferees to draft a compromise of the chambers’ competing bills. Stay tuned to FAIR as details unfold…

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar
    Carmen Gonzalez on


  2. avatar

    The problem is that with continued immigration we are coming desperately close to the point of no return. That is the point when the number of left-wing voting, poor, immigrants tips the voting balance in favor of the left-wing Democrats. When that point is reached the nation falls off the same cliff that California fell off in 1974. Solid Democrat Party control of both legislative bodies.

    Many of California’s problems stem from the Democrats pandering to the illegal alien voting base. Make no mistake. Illegal aliens do vote. If we don’t stop all iimmigration now, that is, both legal and illegal immigration, by 2016 the Democrats will seize total and permanent control of all three branches of the federal government, just as they have done in California.

    Do we want the United States of America to become California? I think not.

  3. avatar

    You might know, House Leadership would cave again. That is all Boehner is good for. He always gives more then he takes. Clowns like him have got to be voted out, & sadly, that means mostly all of the Republicans have to go, & ALL of the Democrats MUST go.

  4. avatar
    MidWestMike on

    Once again the “establishment” RINO’s managed to sell us out. Time to replace anyone in Congress more than 6 years, and I mean ANYONE.

  5. avatar
    Mike Johnson on

    Hear about actc?? Illegals claim all their neices and nephews or whoever they want even though they don’t live here and our STUPID IRS sends them thousands of dollars in tax refunds.

  6. avatar

    This legislation provides an incentive for women to make false accusations of abuse.

    Not sure if it still applies to situations in which the accused is a U.S. citizen and the accuser a foreigner but, if so, then it is a way for a foreign bride to ditch her American husband as soon as she enters the U.S., without having to leave the Country after testifying against him, or giving up the chance for a Green Card.

    I know a girl from Ukraine who got citizenship this way under the old version of this legislation, even though she admits that the worst her American Ex-husband did was “raise his hand to her.”

    People should be encouraged to report real domestic abuse, and be permitted to remain in the country temporarily while testifying again their abusers, but not offered the “carrot” of a Green Card that could incentivise false accusations of abuse.

    If they fear reprisal of some sort upon being returned to their own countries, then they have the right to apply for asylum — another often-abused and fraud-ridden program!

    • avatar

      I have a granddaughter who married an illegal immigrant from mexico. the boy and his mother were to be deported when he pleaded with my granddaughter to marry him. She did and he remaines in New Mexico. Oe month later he divorced her and she is without a usband. I advised her to be ware of his intentions even tho she went to high school with him. Most of this ciminaal activity still persists on our American kids who think illegals do love them and are only using them. This is a blantant disregard for our justice system and or immagration an naturilization system tocontinur this to occur and it is criminal that illegals use this loo- hold.

      I say: Beware young ladies from being used like this and tell them NO, you will not marry them uness they go through the procedures of becoming legal according to law. Immigration should send them back to their home of origin. Hispanics in Mexico cross the border and violate our laws constantly. I know: I lived in New Mexico for 29 years until I moved to Florida, discussed with the corruption in Santa Fe.

      • avatar
        Tired of illegal immigrants on

        Louise F: Please call the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Hotline @ (866)347-2423 and report illegal immigrants.

  7. avatar

    This is the worst display of all of those sitting in the House of Representatives. It took my son and his wife who has Canadian citizenship a total period of 2 years to receive her Green card and to be able to enter back into the United States. The problem was with the individuals working at the border. They and their attorney sent copies of required paperwork three ( 3 ) different times. Needless to say if you do everything legally you are being put off, but come in illegally you can get anything you want. Let us remove all from their positions and start over. This is Terrible that they bent over backwards to the left. Have Faith. God Bless America

  8. avatar

    And another thing…this provision should have nothing to do with Immigration AT ALL. It’s almost like an Earmark…providing a passage of citizenship for the Illegals. I am so tired of all this! People that do not live in an area that is close to a border, i.e. Tijuana….do not understand the implications and the destruction of Illegal Immigration. It’s not about humanity and that’s what these people are hoping to use is the sympathy card. ARGHHH!!! STOP USING OUR TAX PAYERS MONEY! I find it so ironic that they are so willing to spend our money but not their own. Our Founding Fathers would OUST every single one of these politicians for stomping on our Constitution. They would be tried for TREASON! We have Immigration laws that should be enforced. We wouldn’t have to reform our LAWS if our existing laws were enforced in the first place.

    • avatar
      Tired of illegal immigrants on

      Jackie: Americans in all parts of the country understand the implications of illegal immigrants; I know as I have resided all over America. Perhaps the destruction is more evident along our Southern border as a result of the sheer numbers there; however, the desire to remove these criminals exists all over the USA.

      • avatar

        @Tired of Illegal Immigrants – You’re ABSOLUTELY WRONG in your assumption!! What kind of statement is that. Many people do not understand…Many people do not understand the politics of it all. I suggest you go educate yourself. Unbelievable….. There are people that still don’t understand where gov. money comes from…they are IGNORANT to many facts. I live in San Clemente, CA and live here my ENTIRE life and I am 48 years old and it’s infuriating to all the ignorance out there regarding Illegal Immigration. It’s rhetoric like yours and propaganda that is part of the problem. ARRRGHHHH!!! Get your head out of the sand!

        • avatar
          Tired of illegal immigrants on

          Jackie: I believe you musunderstood my point. I have lived and traveled all over these United States, from California to Florida to Maine and all points in between. Americans all over this great land understand the implications of immigration, illegal or not. It is possible you feel the effects more due to your proximity to Mexico and California’s elected officials sanctuary policies. Believe me, I feel your pain and push daily for a reduction in immigration, illegal or not.

    • avatar

      Amen. Thats what I also feel we are being pi$$ed on by the people sent to keep this a Country of laws.

  9. avatar

    And we oppose this because? I think we need to take a hard look at what kind of human beings we are becoming in our zeal to control immigration. I’m all for a common-sense immigration policy that puts Americans first and protects our jobs, which is why I support FAIR and other true immigration reformers, but I draw the line at sending battered women back to where their abusers are waiting for them. There’s a place for basic human kindness in our movement.

    • avatar

      It’s not up to this Country to protect and everyone. That is ludicrous. Their home Country needs to be accountable/responsible and take care of their people. Also…it’s just another ploy for them to stay here and receive benefits in this Country and completely UNFAIR for the people who are waiting in line and have gone done the right path of citizenship. It’s all BS!!!

    • avatar
      Uncommonsensesc on

      Their abusers are here though – they aren’t back in their legal, resident country! This bill only makes it easier for illegal aliens to stay here and drain the taxpayer’s money!

    • avatar
      Tired of illegal immigrants on

      Please realize we oppose act as it grants residency to these women, it requires no proof and is open to fraud and abuse, encourages more illegal immigration, etc. etc., etc. Further, our primary objective is to provide for Americans first; other countries should do the same. The USA cannot continue allowing all into our country; sympathy should be thrown out when the bleeding hearts ruin its own citizens!
      Perhaps your goal should be to focus on domestic violence abroad as well as within; that might make it better for all. As a matter of fact, why not focus on Mexico’s violent acts committrd by the cartels? Or the prostitution of younh children in Asia? Or focus on… I know why…

    • avatar

      Alex, if you read or heard just some of the experiences American men and women have had as a result of illegal aliens/immigrants betraying them for the sole purpose of gaining a green card I doubt you would be in favor of granting them anything more than transportation back to their homeland.

      So many Americans who have endured a loss of their personal freedom, their homes, their life-savings, registered guns, etc. do not speak out due to the fact they are so embarrassed to admit the degree to which they were scammed by immigrants who professed to love them. This government favors the immigrant and, to add insult to injury, most often the citizen becomes the victim and the immigrant the winner. A man in NJ reported the daughter of the woman he married (who accused him of domestic violence 2 days after the service) laughed and threw a booklet she was carrying that had information highlighed on how to obtain a U-Visa.

    • avatar

      Alex, unfortunately you don’t recognize a scam when you see it. This legislation is nothing more than another scam by Democrats to cram more left-wing voting, government handout receiving, and job stealing aliens into this
      country. Time for you and others like you to pull your heads out of the sand.

  10. avatar
    Steve Paramore on

    What is so hard about the entire immigration debacle?

    It is completely transparent ans a ‘no-brainer’. There are two ways to enter America, any Country for that matter.
    Legally and Illegally.

    So the answer and proper course of action is simply this. anyone who entered the Country illegally, is an invader of the Country, is breaking the law, and no exceptions, no excuses, no time-limits, and NO amnesty….pack up and leave the Country, or go directly to jail. PERIOD. Go back where you came from, properly apply for entrance, recieve green card, and then by all means, come on back.

    It is time for the ‘anchor baby’ law to come off the books. It is being used and abused, and serves no valid purpose any longer.

  11. avatar
    laura spicer on

    WHAT DOES ONE BILL HAVE TO DO WITH THE OTHER???… I am so very tired of these LAME, CAREER POLITICIANS !!!- this includes the Republicans. It is obvious these politicians are putting their “careers” and bribes first, while putting COMMON SENSE, our SAFETY, and the LAW in last place. I say… vote them all out of office. Limit terms. Limit their benefits, Enact strict and precise “Ethics”, “Conduct” and “Accountability” laws. Can we impeach them?

  12. avatar

    I still cannot believe our representatives destroy our rights for illegals. We need to remember this on electeion day

      • avatar
        Tired of illegal immigrants on

        Yes, illegal immigrants have rights. We educate tgem, we feed and clothe tgem, heck, we even provide housing and jobs to them. Conduct some fact finding research before posting; your credibility is worth nothing when making absurd statements.
        I prefer their only right be deportation; however people like you don’t agree.

        • avatar

          @ Tired of Illegal Immigrants – You speak out of both ends.! What part do you not understand!? OMG!! ILLEGALS have no rights…yes they do get these entitlements…but it’s not because they have rights. It’s due to the loopholes in our system. I suggest you go back to educating yourself!

          • avatar
            Tired of illegal immigrants on

            Jackie: Please accept my apology. I was under the impression, based upon your posting, that you believed illegals should have “rights” but did not. We are both of the same belief; stop suggesting I educate myself further.

          • avatar
            Tired of illegal immigrants on

            Jackie: By the way, illegal immigrants do have a right to education in America; see Plyler v Doe.

    • avatar
      Uncommonsensesc on

      You got it! I’d just as soon wipe the slate clean and start over! I don’t care if it’s Republicans or Democrats – the US citizen is coming in second on their agendas and they need to be shown that we do matter, that we’re mad as hell and we won’t stand for it anymore!

      • avatar

        Again I concur that we need to replace every elected person who has been in congress more than 8 years no matter which office, only one bite of the apple to anyone.

        • avatar
          RICHARD HARRIS on

          Term limits is a good place to start. We also need to shorten the term of a senator from 6 to 4 years.