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Providing for Consideration of H.R 4970, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012, and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4310, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. CLARKE of New York. I thank the gentlelady.

Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to submit my remarks in opposition to a Republican bill that weakens protections for violence against women and in support of the bipartisan Senate bill.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from New York?

There was no objection.

Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in vehement opposition to H.R. 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012 (VAWA). This egregious bill is another example of this Republican-led Congress waging political warfare on women.

H.R. 4970 would roll back years of progress and bipartisan commitment on the part of Congress to protect vulnerable immigrant victims of domestic violence, stalking, sex crimes, other serious crimes, and trafficking. Choosing one type of victim over the other.

Mr. Speaker, this will greatly impact areas with heavy concentrations of immigrants, which includes my district and other residents of New York City. Historically, NYC has been the beacon of immigration. Many in Congress, including Republicans, can trace their ancestry back to the immigrant population of NYC.

These new punitive measures within H.R. 4970 that hinder abused immigrants' ability to seek justice against their abusers, are a grave set of circumstances that will have future implications on the safety and security of our country.

It will jeopardize community relations with law enforcement, force those on a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship into the shadows, and threaten the moral fabric that binds civil society.

As the majority continues to pride itself as being the defenders of small government, fiscal responsibility, and moral authority, I am appalled at how almost every action taken in this 112th Congress has been to the contrary of their platform.

Mr. Speaker, I feel like I'm in that movie Groundhog Day, every day it is the same attacks over and over again. Are we running out of options? Are we so scared of tackling the real issues in this country like job creation, that we will continue to debate the same egregious legislative measures that curtail the rights and freedoms of women and cut off access to it for immigrants?

Mr. Speaker, it makes no sense that a nation of immigrants, built on the backs of immigrants, would not provide protection to immigrants.


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