Domestic Violence, Immigration, and the Violence Against Women Act

Imagine you have nurtured a long-distance relationship with a US resident. Over the years, things are going well, so you decide that you will finally make a bigger commitment, you decide to travel to the US to deepen your relationship. At first, things are great, you seem to have chemistry together, and she seems sweet and nice. You resolve to seek out a green card by marriage. After a while, however, you begin to see that she has a dark side. She can tend to get out of control after a few drinks. Her tongue gets sharper and her demeanor twists, kind turns to cruel, affection turns to spite. A few times, after more than a few drinks, she has even struck you.

You have begun to feel unsafe in the relationship and yet you feel conflicted. As your love has waned for your partner, it has grown for your new home. You want to get out of this relationship and you want to be legally protected from your abuser, but you worry about how this will affect your immigration status and chances of permanent residency.

Does this story sound similar to yours? The Violence Against Women Act applies to men as well and it ensures that if you find yourself in a similar situation, you will not have to give up your dreams of living in the US.

Self-Petitioning Under the Violence Against Women Act

In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Under VAWA, battered non-citizen spouses may petition for legal citizenship. This petition may be filed without the knowledge of the abuser. VAWA is intended to ensure that noncitizen spouses do not find themselves in harm’s way by continuing to pursue an abusive relationship that was started in good faith just so they can still become citizens. VAWA offers an alternative path to citizenship, but this path requires supporting documentation and the ability to prove some key facts.

The petitioner must prove that abuse occurred after the marriage was undertaken in good faith, that the petitioner lived with the victim, and that the petitioner has “good moral character. Advocating and providing evidence of these criteria can be difficult and stressful, so we urge you to seek out legal assistance and to have an experienced lawyer on your side.

Halt on Deportation Under VAWA

If you have found yourself in a situation where there is an order for your deportation and you satisfy the criteria to self-petition under VAWA, petitioning can halt your deportation. If you are in an abusive relationship and divorce proceedings and the breakdown of the relationship has led to an order for your deportation, do not despair, you have options.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

It is important to get professional help in matters involving your immigration status and safety. Do not delay in acquiring legal help from our law offices. Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help, especially if you need help petitioning under VAWA. Make sure to acquire legal assistance the whole way through to safeguard your immigration status AND your well-being. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

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