Domestic violence is a serious under-reported crime in the U.S., and undocumented women are particularly prone to this type of violence given their low socio-economic status and frequent dependence on their partners’ income. While immigrant survivors qualify for protections under the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), recent immigration policies have affected their reluctance to seek assistance for fear of deportation. We use data on VAWA self-petitions, along with information on immigration enforcement and Trust Acts or alike regulations creating the so-called sanctuary cities, to identify the impact of both types of immigration policies on the rate of VAWA-self petitions between the year 2000 and 2016. We find that a one standard deviation increase in immigration enforcement lowers the VAWA self-petition rate by approximately 5 percent, whereas the adoption of more permissive Trust Act and alike regulations counteracts that effect by raising the share by close to 2 percent.
Presented in Session 224. Unauthorized and Irregular Migration