If a woman has been abused, she can self-petition for permanent residency in the United States without the abuser knowing about it. The types of abuse qualifying for this petition include battery (physical harm), or extreme mental or physical cruelty. This may also apply even if you illegally entered the U.S. (EWI).
There are many types of domestic violence regarding immigrant women and children. But these victims of abuse are in a foreign country and often not familiar with the law or what support or resources are available. It’s highly important for an immigrant victim of abuse to speak about the violence with an attorney such as Ayesha Chaudry.
Be aware that no type of domestic violence or abuse is legal in the United States. An important federal law known as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed in 1994 to prohibit such violence. More details were added to the law in 2013 and it applies to both citizens and non-citizens.
A victim of abuse might feel they are alone in the world. The woman may not be able to contact friends or family. The abuser may watch her movements or keep her from leaving the home. If she can leave, she often has an escort with her. The abuser may threaten violence at any time and use it as a threat to keep the woman afraid. This violent person might tell the woman she could lose custody of her children or be deported if she tries to report the crime.
The truth is – the woman will not be deported or lose her children because she is a victim of violence. She is protected by the law, from local to federal. Don’t believe an abuser who says something different. Immigration lawyers such as Ayesha Chaudry are here to help victims.
It will seem frightening and hard to take the first step to getting away from the abuse. But when you have support from an attorney who tells you about the Violence Against Women Act, you’ll realize you and your children have ways to escape your abuser and any further harm.
The wife who self-petitions for help under the Violence Against Women Act must have an abusive husband who is either a U.S. citizen or has a green card. You must have been living with this spouse at the time of the abuse. The application for protection must show they went into the marriage for good reasons and not just for citizenship. And, the self-petitioner must prove their moral character is good.
Doing this on your own is not easy and it’s best to contact a family immigration lawyer such as Ayesha Chaudry, who has experience in such matters and has helped people in New York and Connecticut with family immigration matters of this type.