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This article was originally published in The Washington Post on December 02, 2013. You can access the original article here:

The Washington Post on Tuesday drew attention to the plight of immigrant women who experience domestic violence, and face steep roadblocks to protection.

“In the national debate over immigration changes, little attention has been paid to a subset of immigrants who live in a double shadow: thousands of women who depend on abusive spouses for legal and economic protection in the United States,” The Post’s Pamela Constable reports.

Immigrant women who depend on abusers for legal residency status often fear leaving or seeking help because of threats of deportation and separation from their children. Bureaucratic obstacles such as the one-year filing deadline for asylum-seekers, caps on visas available to victims of crime, and hard-to-obtain work permits can also make it more difficult for immigrant women to break free from abusers and achieve self-sufficiency.

The Post’s coverage followed a congressional briefing that Tahirih co-convened on Nov. 19. Leading domestic violence advocates and police chiefs shared survivors’ stories at the briefing. Tuesday’s article features Jeanne Smoot, Director of Public Policy at Tahirih.

“Congress may see there is time to wait, but we see incredible urgency to press forward,” Smoot told The Post. “We see an immigration system that ties and traps women in situations of abuse and exploitation every day. Reform legislation will address that with a host of thoughtful and significant changes.”

Read The Post’s full article here.

Photo credit: Astrid Riecken, The Washington Post