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NNEDV Applauds Passage of FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill, Expresses Concern About Impact on Immigrant Victims

March 23, 2018

Today, the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill was signed into law just before current funding ran out. The Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) celebrates the hard-won and desperately needed resources for survivors included in the omnibus. NNEDV remains concerned, however, with the impact of the bill on immigrant survivors of violence and urges Congress to act.

“Victims of domestic and sexual violence, especially those on Tribal lands, often cannot access the services and help they need to escape and heal. The resources included in this bill will help close the gap to ensure that more survivors can find safety and justice,” said Kim Gandy, NNEDV President and CEO.

NNEDV is celebrating several new and increased investments that will help survivors escape violence and rebuild their lives:

  • Investments in Services for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence. $160 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), with more resources allocated to serve tribal victims; $492 million for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), including new resources for transitional housing and rural programs, and $4.4 billion in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds (non-taxpayer funds) that will go to the states to support services for victims of all crimes.
  • Gun Safety Improvements. The Fix NICS provisions will strengthen the national firearms background check system (NICS) to ensure that domestic abusers do not have access to firearms. This authorizing language will help to decrease domestic violence homicides and keep communities safer.
  • Significant Commitment to Tribal Victim Services. The omnibus establishes the first-ever funding stream from VOCA for Tribes to address services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, as well as other crimes. The approximately $130 million will meet a pressing need for victims on Tribal lands who disproportionately face violence and often have extremely limited access to services.
  • Domestic Violence-specific Housing Services. A newly created $50 million set-aside in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homelessness services provides specific funding for housing for victims of domestic violence, which will help survivors find safe housing after fleeing abuse.

“While we celebrate the historic support for survivors in this bill, we also recognize that increased funding for immigration enforcement activities will further jeopardize undocumented immigrant victims of domestic violence, increasing their fear of reporting the abuse and seeking safety. We urge Congress to strengthen its resolve to make sure that our response to domestic violence is inclusive of immigrant survivors,” said Gandy.

NNEDV and our member state coalitions are urging Congress to address the needs of immigrant victims in the FY19 funding bill by increasing resources and staff for the Service Centers that process U visa applications (a special visa for victims of domestic violence who are cooperating with law enforcement). In addition to concerns about immigrant survivors, the domestic violence field stands with immigration advocates in calling on Congress to pass meaningful legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers who have lost DACA status.