VAWA Immigration Lawyer in San Jose, CA, Helping Victims of Domestic Violence Acquire Immigration Status
For immigrants coming into the United States hoping to achieve permanent resident status or one day apply for U.S. citizenship, the process asks that they usually must rely upon the sponsorship of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. In many cases, the sponsor in such a relationship may be the immigrant’s spouse or fiancé(e).
However, in some unfortunate situations, the spouse or sponsor may be abusive in nature. And if the immigrant wishes to object to this treatment, the abusive spouse or sponsor may wield their immigration status against them. Basically, there is the fear that abusive spouses and sponsors may convince the abused immigrants that, unless they endure their horrific treatment, their sponsorship will be withdrawn, and the hopeful immigrant can kiss their residency status goodbye. Because of this uneven position of power, victims of domestic violence may believe that they could face deportation if they dare speak out against their harassers.
Thankfully, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) exists to protect such victims of domestic violence from removal proceedings, allowing them to petition for themselves without the involvement of their abusive citizen spouse.
There are many requirements that must be taken into consideration when applying for VAWA, and not all applicants may be eligible for the protection of the law. In order to better determine eligibility, victims are encouraged to reach out to lawyers with experience handling VAWA cases in the state.
Contact the San Jose law offices of Yew Immigration Law Group to discuss your case with experienced immigration attorney Alison Yew. Our attorney and her legal staff have years of experience dedicated to providing legal advice and services to clients caught in the difficult immigration process. No one should be asked to suffer through abusive relationships, and the abused should certainly not have to navigate the legal system on their own.
If you’re a victim, do not trust that your abuser has all the power in this relationship. Abusers do not get to say whether they stay or are forced to be removed from the country. Speak to our lawyer about the Violence Against Women Act to see if you qualify for protection.
What is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)?
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally signed into law in 1994, granting new legal protection to those who have been victims of domestic violence. In the year 2000, it was joined by the Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act, which added new qualifications and amendments to serve better those of limited financial means, limited education, and victims of human trafficking. This act also created the U-Visa, which sought to protect non-citizens and those without residency who had been victims of violent crime. In 2005, the laws were again amended with a new language to ensure better that the elderly were also protected under the law.
Those who are not citizens or lawful permanent residents may be eligible to “self-petition” for immigration status via VAWA, meaning that they will not need the sponsorship, involvement, or approval of their abuser.
Self-petitions that are approved will grant the applicant a work permit, deferred removal, and an approved petition to begin the application process for residency in the United States of America.
You do not need to be in an ongoing marriage with the abusive individual in order to be eligible for protection under the law. Victims who divorced their abusive spouses sometime within the last two years may also be eligible to apply. A fiancé(e) who was abused by their intended spouse may also qualify.
To better understand whether your individual case meets the VAWA self-petition requirements, contact attorneys experienced in immigration practice areas. At our law office, our legal team provides helpful assistance to those looking to prove the complicated nature of an abusive relationship via documentation and law enforcement agency interviews.
Can Men, Parents, and Children File VAWA Petitions?
Although the Violence Against Women Act expressly mentions women in its name, the law actually provides protection and rights to all genders and age groups.
Men may self-petition for VAWA cancellation of removal proceedings and work authorization just the same as women can. While men, statistically, make up a large number of domestic abusers in America, men are also the demographic that commonly does not report to law enforcement when they’ve been the victim of abuse or domestic violence. Men may suffer sexual assault from women or other men who are their partners or spouses. But they may also endure extreme cruelty from their parents, children, and other family members.
A parent (elderly or otherwise) or child who was abused by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident may also apply for VAWA cancellation of removal protection. When children submit an application, the non-citizen parent may also receive permanent residence and other authorizations if the petition is approved.
Man, woman, non-binary, child, adult, or elderly all deserve to be treated equally in their homes. If you’re abused spouses or family, and you’re deemed to be of good moral character, schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer for guidance on how to receive immigration relief.
What Types of Physical or Mental Abuse Might Qualify a Person for a VAWA Self-Petition?
It is an unfortunate situation, but those filing applications for VAWA will have to provide important evidence of the abuse or battery to the police investigation.
Abuse and domestic violence can take many forms, including:
- Abusive sexual contact.
- Animal cruelty.
- Destruction of property.
- Economic violence, including extortion, blackmail, and complete control over money resources needed to live.
- Emotional abuse, including constant belittling of personal worth or verbal abuse.
- Forced isolation from school, family, or a friend.
- Intolerable cruelty.
- Physical abuse, including punching, kicking, pushing, throwing, slapping, and choking.
- Psychological violence, including threats and intimidation.
- Rape and any unwanted sexual activity performed without consent from the other person.
- Sexual assault.
In order to seek VAWA Cancellation of Removal, the abused spouse must prove that they were in a “good-faith marriage” with their abuser before it became an abusive relationship.
In addition to that, the abused must show evidence that their abuser is a U.S. citizen or has permanent residency in the USA. The victim must also show that they have lived in the USA for at least three years and that a period of that time was spent living with the perpetrator of the violent relationship.
Contact Our Law Firm to Schedule a Consultation with an Immigration Attorney Today
No one should be asked to endure domestic abuse. If you or your child is the victim of crimes committed by individuals with citizenship or residency, you may qualify for justice through the VAWA petition. If your petition is approved, you may then obtain a green card and be allowed to stay in the USA, all without the knowledge of the people who harmed you.
For more information on the steps to take, request a consultation with our law offices. We can provide knowledgeable assistance and guide you through the process so that you may hope to achieve the most satisfying result for your immigration case.
Call our law office for a case evaluation, and we can better determine whether your unique situation meets the VAWA criteria: (408) 645-6395