Violence Against Women Act: How Does It Help Immigrants
The month of October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence affects millions, both women and men, of every race, religion, culture and status. It’s not just punches and black eyes — it’s yelling, humiliation, stalking, manipulation, coercion, threats and isolation. It’s stealing a paycheck, keeping tabs online, non-stop texting, constant use of the silent treatment, or calling someone stupid so often they believe it.
Undocumented immigrants who have been victims of domestic violence by a U.S. citizen or green-card holder spouse, child or parent, may be able to self-petition for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) without the abuser’s help or knowledge. Despite the name of the act, it applies equally to both men and women. Those who are eligible will be able to apply for a green card in the U.S., without having to leave the country, regardless of whether they entered with a visa or without inspection.
Having filed a police report regarding the abuse is not a requirement for this benefit, although you should absolutely do so if you feel your life is in danger. We have represented many clients (both men and women) in seeking this benefit. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss a potential VAWA case with our office. (312) 971-7221.