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Latino Daily News

Monday May 20, 2013

Immigration Amendment to Provide Work Permits for Victims of Domestic & Sexual Abuse

Immigration Amendment to Provide Work Permits for Victims of Domestic & Sexual Abuse

Photo: Immigration Amendments

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The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday approved a measure authorizing work permits for undocumented victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse at the beginning of the fourth day of debate on the amendments to the immigration reform bill.

The amendment, proposed by the committee chair, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, aims to benefit survivors of domestic violence, rape or sexual trafficking.

According to the text, the Department of Homeland Security would have to approve a work permit for these immigrants within 180 days from the time they present their requests.

The measure, Leahy said, will speed up the procedures to obtain a work permit. Currently, survivors of domestic violence often have to wait at least 16 months when they request special visas reserved for crime victims.

That delay limits access to financial resources for the victims, a situation that leaves them in a “very vulnerable position” that makes it more difficult to escape from abusive situations, Leahy’s office said.

Since debate began on May 9, the Judiciary Committee has analyzed around 100 amendments to the immigration reform plan presented on April 17 by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has reached an agreement in principle on its own version of immigration reform.