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Quick Immigration Action "Needed" to Prevent NY Domestic Violence

Tatiana Grez, lead advocate with the Latina advocacy group SEPA Mujer, said the system needs to be changed, because at present many undocumented women can only stay legal by staying with their husbands, even if they are abusive.
Tatiana Grez, lead advocate with the Latina advocacy group SEPA Mujer, said the system needs to be changed, because at present many undocumented women can only stay legal by staying with their husbands, even if they are abusive.
July 30, 2013

NEW YORK - Members of Congress from New York and across the nation will be getting an earful on immigration issues today, and local advocates say domestic violence is a major reason they need to act without delay.

There is no time to pause on immigration reform, according to Maryann Sinclair Slutsky, executive director of Long Island Wins. She said members of Congress need to know that reforming the nation's broken immigration system also can protect undocumented immigrants who fear coming forward to report serious crimes, including domestic violence.

"And, if they're in a domestic-violence situation, they can come out of the shadows, they can go to the police without fear of being deported," she said. "And that's why it's important, and that's why we need it quickly."

The Obama administration supports giving so called "U Visas" to undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence, but New York immigrant advocates note that provision is missing from the current measure that's being debated in Congress.

Tatiana Grez, lead advocate with the Latina advocacy group SEPA Mujer, said the system needs to be changed, because at present many undocumented women can only stay legal by staying with their husbands, even if they are abusive.

"If she left the guy, how would she get a job? If she left the guy, she got to leave the country probably or stay hiding, right? We got to ensure a safe situation," Grez declared.

Maryann Sinclair Slutsky said calls will go out across the nation, but she is optimistic the New York delegation has a better sense of the needs of all New Yorkers on immigration reform.

"We are so diverse, especially in New York City, especially on Long Island," she said. "I'm more hopeful that the Congresspeople here recognize that, and they see it every day, in the contributions that immigrants are making to our community."

Local advocates say the calls will focus on getting the House to adopt the Senate version or come up with a similar version of immigration reform.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY