According to a study by the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”), on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men across the United States. The prevalence of domestic violence is an unfortunate but real factor for many people. Some of the people experiencing this do not have immigration status in the United States, meaning that they are not lawfully present here. Some people can obtain status in the United States through the Violence Against Women Act or VAWA. This Act was created by Congress to allow victims of domestic violence to escape dangerous situations without fear of deportation.
Under VAWA, if a noncitizen or his or her child or parent is the victim of abuse (including emotional abuse) by a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident family members, the noncitizen and victims may be able to apply for lawful permanent resident status. Through VAWA, these victims can obtain a green card and a pathway to citizenship. The benefits of VAWA are available to male and female victims. To show whether or not a person has endured extreme cruelty under VAWA, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS defines this as physical and/or psychological abuse. Some types of evidence that are typically used in these types of cases are police reports, hospital records, but these are not required.
Congress had the intention of protecting domestic violence victims from their abusive family members who may use the victim’s lack of immigration status to hold them hostage in a dangerous situation. VAWA allows the victim to become a legal permanent resident without having to involve the abusive family member.
The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233, and they are available twenty-four hours a day for victims of domestic violence.
If you or your loved ones are victims of domestic violence and want to inquire about your immigration options, call Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A., Immigration Team, at 601-948-8005 or 601-927-8430. We are also available by live chat on our website. We would be more than happy to safely and securely discuss your options with you or your loved one.