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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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