The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence applauds Congress for including the Fix NICS Act of 2017 in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending package! NCADV is proud to have been involved with bill from the beginning, leading the negotiations with other stakeholders such as law enforcement and prosecutors, and engaging with Congressional leadership offices to advocate for the inclusion of Fix NICS in the omnibus. This lifesaving bipartisan legislation will ensure that domestic violence court records will be more systematically and effectively entered into the national background check system. As a result, far fewer abusers will have access to firearms.
We particularly appreciate Senator Cornyn’s and Senator Murphy’s leadership for their hard work to bring this critical change to the background check system and for ensuring that Fix NICS is included in the omnibus spending package. Please thank them for supporting the safety of survivors!
In more good news, VAWA and VOCA funding have hit historic highs, and we are particularly thrilled at the inclusion of a 3% VOCA tribal funding stream, a key priority for NCADV. It also increases FVPSA funding, including a $5 million set aside for Native victims and survivors, and invests in housing for victims and survivors.
We also appreciate lawmakers’ understanding of the crucial role that trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement plays in keeping victims, survivors, and communities safe from domestic abusers. Attempts to entangle immigration enforcement with local law enforcement keeps victims and survivors in the shadows, and we are glad to see that Congress has resisted harmful calls to defund so-called ‘sanctuary cities’.
While we applaud the inclusion of Fix NICS and the rejection of attempts to defund ‘sanctuary cities’, we remain concerned at Congress’s inability to protect Dreamers (immigrants who were brought to the United States as youth) from deportation and to establish a path to citizenship for these young people who have provided so much to our society. We are similarly concerned about increase in funding for immigration enforcement, which will exacerbate the current climate of fear that keeps victims and survivors in the shadows and may lead to the deportation of victims and survivors who are eligible for green cards through VAWA.
We are also concerned by the transfer of VOCA funding to pay for VAWA. VOCA and VAWA have different recipients and different intended purposes. Transferring money from the Crime Victims Fund to fund VAWA law enforcement activities sets a very bad precedent, and it reduces the funding available to direct service providers to assist victims and survivors of all crimes.
As always, your calls and emails to Congressional office have made all the difference in ensuring that Fix NICS moves forward. Thank you for your advocacy and all that you do for survivors!