In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted, which includes a special provision that now allows for battered immigrants to seek legal status in the United States through self-petition. Given the sensitive nature of the situation, battered immigrants are not left to rely upon sponsorship from a spouse, parent or other family member that is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident if that person is abusive.
Under normal circumstances, an application for adjustment of status requires sponsorship from a current citizen of the U.S., or a permanent resident. This is not the case, however, when said persons are physically or emotionally abusive toward the immigrant who is seeking status in the U.S. For both men and women who are being abused, a New York immigration attorney at Pozo Goldstein, LLP can be contacted for more information about your rights under the VAWA. Although the name of the act only includes “women”, it is equally applicable to men as well.
The stipulations set forth in the VAWA can also be applied to cases in which an immigrant is facing deportation or removal. If you are currently facing deportation or the threat of a removal proceeding, there is still time to take legal action; if you’re the spouse of an abusive partner, there is even time to self-petition under the guidelines of the VAWA.
In order to deter the dependency that is often created in abusive relationships, immigrants who are facing deportation or removal can still self-petition under VAWA. Even if the case is currently under review, the majority of immigration judges will postpone a final removal hearing until the VAWA petition has been finalized.
Once a VAWA petition has been approved, an attorney can help you file for VAWA cancellation of removal, using the provisions stipulated in VAWA. Another option would be to terminate the proceeding altogether and then apply for adjustment of status.
The allowances provided under the Violence Against Women Act are applicable to all battered immigrant spouses, even those who entered the U.S. illegally. Whether you entered to U.S. using fake documents or you escaped inspection while crossing the border, the rights provided to you as a battered spouse still hold true.
The law recognizes that abusive partners often take action to gain control and / or power over their spouses, and this is true in cases of immigrant spousal abuse as well. As such, the requirement to have a spouse that is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident support a petition is not applicable in these situations.
A significant benefit offered by the VAWA is the derivative status provided to the children of abused spouses. Under the representation of an immigration attorney at our firm, we can help ensure that the child of a battered spouse is given legal status in the U.S. along with his or her parent. As soon as an adjustment of status has been granted and the Green Card has been approved, beneficiaries will be made eligible for citizenship through naturalization.
If you’re interested in learning more about your rights as a battered or abused immigrant, don’t hesitate to call Pozo Goldstein, LLP today. Our professional legal services are offered to immigrants throughout the state of New York, and we provide 24/7 representation to those in need. When you need help, we’re here, so contact us today.