By Anonymous (not verified) on June 14, 2012

Congress needs to pass a version of the Violence Against Women Act that fully protects immigrant women who fall victim to domestic violence.

Consider what happens to thousands of undocumented domestic violence victims now residing in this country, such as Joon, whose name we have changed to protect her identity. But she is a real person. She was our client at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles.

Joon came to the United States from Korea because her longtime boyfriend promised to marry her if she joined him. Instead, he repeatedly abused her.

Joon tried to end the relationship, but her abuser took advantage of the fact that Joon was not familiar with U.S. laws and threatened to take their child if she refused to meet him one last time.

It was during this final encounter that he tried to sexually assault her in the presence of their baby. She attempted to fight him off, while he severely beat her.

Joon managed to escape and called the police. She bravely stood up against her abuser and cooperated with the police and district attorney in the criminal case against her former boyfriend.

But Joon then had to face another threat: as an undocumented immigrant, she was in danger of deportation. Fortunately, she qualified for legal status under the U visa law, which is part of the Violence Against Women Act. The U visa created a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrant victims of crime who cooperate with law enforcement. Through the U visa, Joon was ultimately able to receive legal permanent residency status, and she aims to become a U.S. citizen.

Thanks to the Violence Against Women Act, Joon’s story has a happy ending, but other immigrants who survive domestic violence face the possibility of a much darker future.

In April, with the act up for renewal, the Senate passed a bill that retains protections for undocumented immigrant victims. But in May, the House passed its own version of the bill, which destroys the very fabric of the U visa law and rolls back these protections.

With two opposing bills, Congress now has the option to reconcile them into one. It is pivotal that the final bill to President Obama reflects the original intentions of the Violence Against Women Act.

House Republicans are delaying the reconciliation phase on a technicality. We call upon House Speaker John Boehner to end the stalemate and stand up for vulnerable women who are victims of crime.

Countless immigrant domestic violence survivors like Joon continue to need protection. In a nation where one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and one in six women has experienced some type of sexual assault, such protection is crucial.

Betty M. Song is a supervising attorney and Amy Woo Lee is a senior staff attorney with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. They can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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