Benacquisto and Palm Beach County immigrant women shed tears over domestic violenceby Dara Kam | April 26th, 2011
Dozens of immigrants from Palm Beach County, accompanied by their children and grandchildren, got on a bus in Lake Worth at 11 p.m. to travel to the Capitol as part of a week-long effort by hundreds of immigrants now swarming the Capitol.
The immigrants, their children and advocates are pleading with lawmakers to abandon an Arizona-like immigration reform now under consideration in both the House and Senate.
More than a dozen women and children met with Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Wellington, for nearly 30 minutes. Both the women and the senator emerged in tears.
Leonila, an undocumented restaurant worker from Mexico who lives in West Palm Beach, shared her story with Benacquisto. The mother of five, who would not give her last name, told the senator that she was a domestic violence victim who fears that women like her will be even more afraid to get help after they are sexually or physically abused.
“One doesn’t have to think too hard about how that would affect me,” said Benacquisto, who during her campaign last year disclosed that she was raped at the age of 19.
Benacquisto pledged to work with the sponsors of the bill (SB 2040) to include provisions for women who are domestic violence or sexual abuse victims.
“Any victim who needs to ask for assistance at that time needs to have the confidence they can go to someplace safe,” Benacquisto said.