Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Unfortunately immigrants are often trapped in abusive relationships because they fear deportation and separation from their children and others that they love. The United States recognized the impact of domestic violence on immigrants and in 1994 passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA was later modified in 2000 and again in 2005.
VAWA allows two different forms of relief for immigrant victims of domestic violence who have been abused by their United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parents.
These victims can:
- Self-petition for lawful permanent resident status without the cooperation of the abused spouse or parent; and
- Request cancellation of removal as a defense to removal to the immigration court.
An applicant for VAWA cancellation of removal must:
- Have been battered by or suffered extreme cruelty from a spouse or parent who is or was a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, or is the parent of a child in common with the United States citizen or lawful permanent resident abuser, and the child has suffered abuse;
- Have been present physically in the United States for 3 years before applying;
- Have been a person of good moral character during the period of physical presence;
- Not have been convicted of an aggravated felony;
- Not be inadmissible or deportable due to certain criminal, security, or marriage fraud violations; and
- Demonstrate that removal would result in extreme hardship to either you, your child, or if you are child and applying for this form of relief, your parent.
The following people are eligible to apply for VAWA cancellation and suspension:
- Abused spouses of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents;
- Abused sons and daughters of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents;
- Non-abused parents of abused children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents, even if not married to the abuser; and
- Abused intended spouses of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.
Keep in mind that VAWA does not require for you to be currently married to your abuser or to even prove the marriage was entered into good faith. The death of your abuser or even divorce from your former spouse will not disqualify you.
There are many rules and exceptions to VAWA that you may not be aware of so be sure to consult our law office to allow us to explain how this law can potentially help you stay in the United States.Procedure
There are generally two steps when applying for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act. The first step involves filing Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. If this petition is approved then you will be able to apply for permanent residence and obtain a green card.Benefits
- Lawful permanent residence in the United States;
- The ability legally work in the United States;
- Public benefits that you qualify for; and
- The filing of a motion to reconsider under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) will result in an automatic stay of deportation. This means that you cannot be removed or deported from the United States until the proper immigration court or agency who had jurisdiction on your case makes a ruling on the motion.
Our law firm understands that VAWA cases are extremely sensitive. Often you have suffered extreme violence and sometimes are scared to speak about your experiences. This is why our law office sets aside extra amounts of time to interview you. We understand that your country conditions and the way your country treats men and women will be important for allowing us to better understand your case. We are sensitive to you and your culture in a way that sets us apart from everyone else. Your story and your experiences deserve to be respected and heard, we are here to listen when you are ready to open up to us.
You need and deserve a law firm and an attorney who will stand by your side when you are fighting your case under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). We want to have the honor of representing you. Please contact The Law Office of Armand Jawanmardi for a consultation on what you can expect when fighting a case under VAWA and what we can do for you at (713) 999-9115. We are always available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions.