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Access to Public Benefits for Battered Immigrant Women and Children

By Leslye Orloff

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 significantly reduced access to federal public benefits for most immigrants. However, these laws also expanded access to public benefits for some battered immigrants who had been ineligible for assistance. Some immigrants, including some battered immigrants, remain eligible for certain public benefits, and the PRA grants access to some federal benefits to "qualified aliens." With certain provisos, current law makes battered immigrants eligible for public benefits.

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