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John Boehner
John Boehner's House Republicans would make
it easier to abuse immigrant women.
When you read that House Republicans not only oppose the Senate's bipartisan expansion of protections for undocumented immigrants in the Violence Against Women Act, but want to strip abused immigrant women of confidentiality protections, the easy joke is that Republicans want to turn the Violence Against Women Act into the Mail-Order Bride Abuse Enhancement Act. Easy, but unfair, right? Maybe not. Huffington Post's Laura Bassett reports that the treasurer of one of the groups lobbying the House to make immigrant women less safe is in the business of arranging marriages between American men and Russian women.

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, or SAVE, is a domestic violence group obsessed with false allegations of abuse. Natasha Spivack, its treasurer, became involved in SAVE after one of the Russian brides her company matched with an abusive American husband got a $434,000 award from a federal jury, claiming Spivack's company didn't screen candidates and didn't inform her the law would allow her to escape her abuser without automatic deportation:

"That was a totally false accusation," Spivack said. "This particular woman abused the system and defrauded the whole system. I was the victim of immigration fraud. And that's how I became involved in SAVE, because at that time there was no movement whatsoever against false accusations of abuse." Spivack confirmed to HuffPost that she has lobbied to revise the Violence Against Women Act to address the issue of false accusations of domestic abuse.
House Republicans share Spivack's obsession with the idea that immigrant women are concocting false stories of abuse at the hands of American husbands to ... get one of 10,000 visas available for abused immigrant women, rather than gaining legal residency and ultimately citizenship through their husbands, is apparently the theory. In reality, of course, women whose immigration status is dependent on their husbands are particularly vulnerable to abuse, which is why the protections of the bipartisan Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act are so important. These women are also particularly vulnerable to Republican politicians, since polling finds that while majorities support VAWA provisions protecting gays and lesbians and Native Americans, immigrant women don't draw the same level of support.

At a House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) called the Republican bill "a step backwards and a flat-out attack on women."

Tell your representatives to pass the expanded, bipartisan Senate reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, not the Republican House version that would exclude Native Americans and LGBT people and weaken protections for undocumented immigrants.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue May 08, 2012 at 03:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They've not given a reasonable reason for their (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, DvCM

    obstruction.  They just want to have power over women (and Republican women apparently approve of this) so they're going to insist on having their way.  If they would give in on this, in order to get something else from the Democrats, they could reap huge rewards as the Dems would fall all over themselves to be bipartisany even if they give Boehner another chance to say he got 98% of what he wanted.  Yet the Republicans are just too wedded to the anti-Democratic and War on Women agendas to back off now.  They've seen what happens to compromisers (today, with Dick Lugar being example 1A) so they're going to stick to being abusers.

  •  Protecting womerns threatens Marriage. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Melanie in IA, DvCM

    Face it: marriage is just going to be rernt if we have to respect our womerns.

    Mail order bride places will close down if'n we have to treat womerns a certain way - what's the point of gettin ya a womern from some third-rate country where they're used to bein put upon only to have 'em git here and start thinkin all uppity, like theys gots rights or something?

    I spose it sounds nice "bein good to womerns" but its jest another one of them liberull idears that only rerns things for us all.

    #occupywallstreet: Although I know the rhythm you'd prefer me dancing to, I'll turn my revolt into style.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue May 08, 2012 at 03:19:20 PM PDT

  •  More on Natasha Spivack (8+ / 0-)

    Read the 4th Cir decision unanimously upholding the verdict against her here:

    On three separate occasions, once in January 2000, once in March 2000, and once in April 2000, Plaintiff sought Spivack’s counseling and advice with regard to the violent physical and mental abuse that she was suffering at the hands of James Fox. Plaintiff had occasion to be in the presence of Spivack during these times because Plaintiff and James Fox attended the monthly social event that Spivack hosted for EI clients and married couples who met through EI. For example, during the January 2000 social, Plaintiff told Spivack about the evening of December 29, 1999; specifically that James Fox had beaten her and terrorized her while pregnant, leaving her with a busted lip and bruises, and that she was so afraid of him beating her again that once he left the apartment for a while, she fled on foot and spent the entire night in a nearby Wal-Mart. At the April 2000 social, Plaintiff specifically told Spivack that James Fox was becoming increasingly abusive and had chased her with a broken piece of glass, put it on her neck, and then told her he hated her, causing her to be “really scared.” (J.A. 1126).

    In response to Plaintiff’s repeated reports of abuse and
    request for advice, Spivack always minimized the abuse Plaintiff suffered, advising her that it was nothing to worry about. With respect to the December 29th beating specifically, Spivack advised Plaintiff that “‘All Americans--all American men are crazy.’” (J.A. 1123). Spivack continued: “‘Maybe you just listen to him, and do what he says.’” Id. Spivack repeatedly advised Plaintiff that she had only two options, work things out with James Fox or be deported back to the Ukraine.

    Defendants’ knowing allowance of this woman to remain in such a physically and mentally abusive relationship while she was pregnant is highly reprehensible.
    •  More. (6+ / 0-)
      The record is undisputed that Spivack knew about the battered spouse waiver during the times that Plaintiff had confided in her about the physical and mental abuse that James Fox inflicted upon her. The record is also undisputed that Spivack, nor any other agent or employee of EI, ever informed Plaintiff about the battered spouse waiver. Notably, at all times relevant to this case, EI was governed by the Mail Order Bride Act (MOBA), 8 U.S.C. § 1375. As part of this 1996 legislation, Congress found that there was a heightened risk of domestic abuse in relationships formed by international matchmaking agencies and that women who used such services are “unaware or ignorant of United States immigration law.” 8 U.S.C. § 1375(a). MOBA required that “[e]ach international matchmaking organization doing business in the United States shall disseminate to recruits, upon recruitment, such . . . information as the [INS] deems appropriate, . . . including information regarding . . . the battered spouse waiver.”4 8 U.S.C. § 1375(b)(1) (emphasis added).

      Finally, the record is undisputed that EI’s website featured Plaintiff’s name and likeness throughout the relevant time period, including through trial. Defendants used Plaintiff’s name and likeness to portray her as a happy and satisfied customer even after Defendants had actual knowledge that James Fox physically and mentally abused Plaintiff and that Plaintiff was decidedly not a happy customer. Indeed, Defendants placed a picture of Plaintiff taken when she was either six or seven months pregnant (taken in March or April 2000) on the EI website. It is undisputed that EI never obtained written consent as required by the relevant Virginia statute to place any of these pictures on its website. Virginia Code § 8.01-40(A).

  •  The only way to deal with this .... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is to make calls to yoru rep (as you stated) and to show up at the polls this November and raise the flag.  

  •  So now, I guess if republican women complain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about not having equal rights, republican husbands can say “Well, at least you’re not one of those immigrant mail-order brides” (followed by the usual STFU, get back in the kitchen, you watch too much TV etc.).

  •  But corporations are people too (my friend) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, Egalitare


  •  Conyers statement (0+ / 0-)

    wasn't nearly harsh enough.  Dems need to pick this up big time and hang it on the GOP's necks.

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Wed May 09, 2012 at 04:31:07 PM PDT

  •  Vile on a truly global scale n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Wed May 09, 2012 at 04:36:23 PM PDT

  •  It's like they're telling us: (0+ / 0-)

    "O.K. smarty pants, We will do away with divorce, by taking away the right to divorce."

    "We believe that the people are the source of all governmental power; that the authority of the people is to be extended, not restricted."-Barbara Jordan

    by sancerre2001 on Wed May 09, 2012 at 04:49:42 PM PDT

  •  Republicans are standing up for the "Family Value" (0+ / 0-)

    of spousal abuse of those without the power to do anything about it.

  •  Folks here are hypocritical (0+ / 0-)

    We always talk about how bad it is that the Republican Party wants to get into people's personal lives (or into their uterus, if it is a woman, etc.), but folks here seem to not care that the part of this law that addresses the "mail order bride" (BTW, talk about stigmatizing folks for their socializing!) gets the government involved in interpersonal relationships.

    The way I understand it, if I, as an American citizen, decide to meet someone who is a non-citizen for romantic reasons, I am supposed to first get some sort of certified criminal check done and given to this person before I can legally start a relationship with that person.  Think about that for a second.  Let's say you are an ex-pat living in some European country, and you put up a personal ad, or respond to one, etc.  According to this law, you would be violating the law if you did give that person the documentation for that criminal check.  HOW FREAKING RIDICULOUS IS THAT?

    Now I know the reason why this part of the law is in place. Evidently there was one or two instances of some ogre who married a foreign woman, and when she didn't act the way he wanted, he killed her.  But don't regular Americans early in their marriage kill each other as well?  Are we going to prohibit Americans from marrying foreigners that they meet online just because one or two are crazy?  What about Americans who marry crazy, violent Americans?  Should we stop them from getting married?

    A proper way to do this is to pass a law saying that someone who has a conviction of a violent crime is not allowed to sponsor an immigrant spouse - OR at least the spouse would know about this person before continuing on with the relationship.  But this would be done during the application process, not at the beginning of getting to know someone.  (BTW, this type of law might be good for ALL folks getting a marriage license.)

    I can't believe that every American marrying a foreign spouse has done the due diligence that this law requires.  I am wondering if this law has prohibited the American from having the spouse from joining him (and his American citizen children via that spouse) come to live with the American.  Or perhaps this law is only targeted against the companies like  (Whenever I'm abroad, I use the local free dating websites to meet folks, so I don't know.)

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