Policy Work/Efforts

Share this:

At API-GBV, we work on the state and federal level to advance policies that benefit the Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community and AANHPI survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other gender-based abuses. We work on issues such as culturally specific approaches, immigration and criminal legal system reform, community-based, restorative alternatives for survivors, language access and justice, economic and reproductive justice, and more. If you have any questions or would like to become more involved, please reach out to Grace Huang, Policy Director at API-GBV.


Engaging our Communities: API-GBV Policy/Advocacy Listening Sessions

API-GBV Listening Session for the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence

In September 2021, API-GBV hosted a listening session for the White House’s U.S. National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. Earlier this year, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council that directs the White House Gender Policy Council to develop a national strategy for advancing gender equity and equality. One key implementation mechanism of that national strategy is the creation of a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.

At our listening session, 17 speakers from our community shared their powerful insights and recommendations on what should be included in a National Action Plan to address all forms of gender-based violence with invited guests from the White House’s Gender Policy Council and Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). Speakers explained how a National Action Plan could reflect the specific needs and priorities of our Asian American Pacific Islander community, including in the areas of prevention, intervention, services, funding, and more. We are grateful to partners at Jahajee Sisters, Turning Point for Women and Families, Maitri, Hmong American Women’s Association, Womankind, My Sister’s House, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, University of Washington, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, Sikh Family Center, Pacific Women’s Indigenous Network, Daya, CRDV Network, Asian Women’s Shelter and other advocates for sharing their truths, stories, and critical insights. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners and the White House on this National Act Plan.

Passing Federal Legislation: API-GBV’s Legislative Advocacy

API-GBV is an active member of the National Taskforce to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and our work on the taskforce includes legislative advocacy for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (FVPSA) and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

  • This year’s Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (FVPSA), H.R. 2119, includes many improvements for domestic violence survivors, including the creation of a new culturally specific services program, investments in domestic violence prevention, and specific resources for Native Hawaiian survivors. The bill is a great step towards addressing some of the critical disparities facing AANHPI communities and other marginalized communities, in terms of DV services, COVID impacts, and more. Recently, FVPA passed the U.S. House of Representatives, and we will continue to work with our partners to urge the Senate to swiftly pass the bipartisan companion bill, S.1275, to ensure survivors have the support they need.
  • This year’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization is critical to supporting all survivors. Every time they have reauthorized VAWA, Congress has made vital and often groundbreaking improvements. This is the first authorization to take place since the pandemic began, subjecting survivors to increased economic instability and in some places, making their safety more precarious. We know what survivors need, and know that they cannot wait five more years for those improvements. The House of Representatives have already passed the House version, H.R.1620, but the Senate has yet to introduce a bi-partisan bill to reauthorize VAWA that builds on H.R. 1620 and includes all survivors.

Sharing Our Perspective: API-GBV’s Administrative Advocacy

As part of our policy/advocacy work, API-GBV submits comments in response to various federal agencies that have issued requests for information or that have issued notices of public rulemaking. This year, API-GBV provided input about the impacts of proposed policies on AANHPI and/or immigrant survivors of gender-based violence, as well as numerous recommendations on how to improves access and responses to support AANHPI and immigrant survivors, including the following highlights:

  • In September 2021, API-GBV provided written comments to USCIS (DHS) in response to its Notice of Public Rulemaking on T visa (trafficking victim visa) regulations. API-GBV provided input relating to improving regulatory definitions, how to address law enforcement agency endorsements, the burden of proof to be utilized in T-visa adjudications, the bona-fide determination process (which affords access to work authorization) for T-visa applications, and more.
  • In August 2021, API-GBV provided written comments to HHS, Office of Minority Health, on best practices for advancing cultural competency, language access, and sensitivity toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the federal government’s COVID-19 activities.
  • In July 2021, API-GBV provided written comments to the Office on Management and Budget in response to OMB’s request for information regarding advancing equity in federal programs. API-GBV provided input on improving data collection about the AANPI community, strengthening language assistance, minimizing the intersections of immigration enforcement with other government programs, increasing support for culturally specific organizations, and more.
  • In June 2021, API-GBV provided written comments to the Department of Education in response to its Notice of Public Hearing regarding its Title IX nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in education programs guidance. API-GBV submitted comments requesting that the existing Title IX rule be rescinded and reissued to better account for the needs of AANHPI and immigrant survivors of harassment and violence based on sex.
  • In May 2021, API-GBV provided written comments to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS) in response to its request for information on ways to improve the legal immigration system. API-GBV submitted comments making recommendations regarding strengthening processes to support immigration protections provided for survivors in the Violence Against Women Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and the Refugee Convention, updating the Public Charge ground of inadmissibility regulation to account for the needs of survivors, and more.
  • In April 2021, API-GBV provided written comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at HHS regarding CMS’ Interim Final Rule on Medicaid coverage. API-GBV provided input about the potential impacts of these coverage changes on AANHPI and immigrant communities in this formal comment.

Cross-Movement Collaborations: API-GBV and the Alliance for Immigrant Survivors

API-GBV co-chairs the Alliance for Immigrant Survivors (AIS), a national network of advocates and allies dedicated to defending and advancing polices that ensure immigrant survivors of gender-based violence have access to critical protections. We encourage you to visit our Take Action Page or sign up for our email alerts! Here’s what AIS has been up to recently:

  • In October 2021, AIS sent a letter signed by 76 organizations in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Inadmissibility on public charge grounds. Together, we addressed the impact that a potential proposed public charge rule will have on immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and urged DHS to craft a public charge rule that addresses the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, and supports their ability to obtain and maintain safety and well-being. Check out our page on public charge.
  • AIS continues to advocate for 5 key policy priorities to provide access to safety for immigrant survivors. This includes lifting the cap on the number of U visas annually available –currently limited to 10,000 –to meet the need; funding USCIS to ensure they can grant timely employment authorization to VAWA self-petitioners, U and T visa applicants; preventing detention and deportation of survivors seeking asylum and eligible VAWA self-petitioners, U and T visa applicants; explicitly including survivors of gender-based violence in asylum law; and ensuring access to economic supports for immigrant survivors.
  • AIS created position statements on common anti-immigrant amendments often introduced in legislative and budgetary processes that hinder immigrants’ access to legal status and increase their vulnerability to exploitation. AIS strongly opposes any amendments prohibiting people from getting immigration status due to arrests and/or convictions related to the trauma of domestic abuse, sexual assault, rape, human trafficking, child abuse and other crimes; any amendments limiting funding to jurisdictions for having sanctuary policies; amendments limiting people from accessing public benefits, housing, healthcare, unemployment, tax credits, etc.; and amendments related to limiting access to asylum.

Related Resources

Advisory: How Do Recent HUD Proposed Rules About Verification of Immigration Status Impact Survivors of Domestic & Sexual Assault?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed regulations that change longstanding policy relating to immigration status verification requirements and disallowing those ineligible for federal housing assistance (i.e., members of “mixed-status” households) from residing in HUD’s public and specified assisted housing programs. This advisory describes impacts of the proposed rule on immigrant survivors of violence

May 2019 Advocate & Legal Services Findings: Immigrant Survivors Fear Reporting Violence

In May 2019, a coalition of national organizations gathered feedback from nearly six hundred advocates and attorneys from across the United States, learning that many immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence are now too afraid to call the police or go to court to get help. The advocates report that survivors have an increased fear of deportation, retaliation by their abusers, and separation from their children.

How Domestic Violence Impacts Immigrant Victims

This chapter in the Handbook of Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan provides an overview of abuser risks, community-generated, and system- generated risks impacting immigrant victims of intimate partner violence and summarizes resources intended to mitigate those risks.