I applaud Rep. Renee Ellmers for voting against the Aderholt and DeSantis amendments to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill.
While on their face the amendments seemed helpful to domestic violence survivors, in reality they are likely to increase survivor vulnerability. Domestic violence victims often are wrongfully convicted of domestic violence crimes; this is particularly true for immigrant victims who often have language and cultural barriers.
The fear of deportation already prevents victims from seeking assistance, and the DeSantis bill will further silence them. The steering committee of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence comprised of national leadership organizations opposed the Aderholt and DeSantis amendments to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill because they were overly broad, sweep large numbers of victims into their scope and ignore the best interests of victims and their children.
Ellmers and those who work to protect domestic violence victims and their children know that this amendment will ultimately hurt them. Although the amendments passed, Ellmers courageously voted no, breaking with party lines to try to ensure that victims and their children are protected.
Dana Whitfield Mangum
Executive Director, North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Durham