On February 6, 2014, the Department of Justice announced the first three tribes approved to implement special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction under the Violence Against Women Act of 2013. The three tribes are: the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and the Tulalip Tribe. Under the VAWA Pilot Project, these three tribes will be able to exercise criminal jurisdiction over certain crimes of domestic violence and dating violence, regardless of the defendant's Indian or non-Indian status.
2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the historic passage of the watershed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)—the first comprehensive federal legislative package designed to end violence against women—which was signed into law in September, 1994 as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
Individuals and the EEOC are seeking justice for dozens of immigrant women and men subjected to abuse in their workplace, including sexual assault, extortion, felonious assault, and sexual harassment. This specific appeal seeks to enforce the confidentiality protections available under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for individuals who apply for U-visas and T-visas, which are available to crime victims who cooperate with authorities and for immigrant family violence victims who apply for immigration relief under VAWA.The issue of confidentiality of VAWA self-petitions, U-visa, and T-visa applications has been litigated in the lower courts, but this appeal is the first time that a federal appeals court has heard the issue. By submitting this brief, we hope to strengthen the Violence Against Women Act by ensuring that immigrant victims of sexual assault, harassment, and other crimes receive the full protections available to them under the law.