Deportation Defense VAWA
Deportation Defense: How The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Could Help
No one should ever have to endure being the victim of physical or emotional abuse. However, so many women, men, and children are expected to endure these cruelties in secret and without protest, fearing that speaking out could result in harsh consequences for them and for their loved ones. Individuals going through the immigration process can be especially vulnerable, with abusive sponsors using the process to keep them silent.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) can benefit immigrants who have been abused by US citizens and lawful permanent residents. Since the inception of the law in 1994, the immigrant can petition for themselves, taking the immigration process out of the hands of their abusers. The process enables victims to confidentially file for and receive lawful permanent resident status without notifying their abusers.
For abuse survivors who are facing removal, whether because of something their sponsor said in retaliation or for other unrelated reasons, applying for VAWA could be a useful deportation defense.
Availability Of U and T Visas
VAWA also protects immigrant women by making U visas and T visas available to them. A non-citizen can seek a U visa if he or she has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a victim of certain criminal activity. These crimes include rape, torture, trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, prostitution, and abduction, among others. The individual seeking the U visa must have information about the crime and be helpful to the prosecution or law enforcement officials investigating the crime. Eligibility for a U visa also requires that a person be otherwise admissible under immigration law, or qualified for a waiver of admissibility. A U visa lasts four years, but after three years of continuous residence in the U.S., an individual with a U visa can apply for lawful permanent resident status.
Similarly, a T visa is an option for victims of severe forms of human trafficking, including those involving children under the age of 18. In order to be eligible for this type of visa, an individual must be present in the U.S. as a result of the human trafficking activities, assist law enforcement officials in any investigation or prosecution of the traffickers (only if the victim is over the age of 18), and demonstrate that she will suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the U.S. This type of visa protects an individual from removal and allows her to work in the U.S.
Have questions about how VAWA could help your deportation case? Contact us online or call (510) 491-0291for a free evaluation. Se habla Español.
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What Is The VAWA Cancellation Of Removal?
After an immigrant has been put in immigration court removal proceedings, they may be eligible for relief via the VAWA cancellation of removal. A successful VAWA cancellation of removal results in receiving your green card and being allowed to stay in the US.
To qualify for VAWA cancellation of removal, an immigrant must:
- have suffered battery, extreme cruelty, domestic violence, or domestic abuse committed by a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the US who is a spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child.
- have been in the US for three years, at least, and maintained “good moral character” over that period of time.
- prove that their removal would cause extreme hardship for them and, potentially, others.
What Proof Is Needed To Apply For VAWA?
An immigration judge will make the ultimate determination as to whether you could secure protections under VAWA based on the strength of your case. The more evidence you have which can support your claims, the better.
Proof that could help you successfully apply for VAWA includes:
- Proof of your identity.
- Proof of the abuser’s legal status in the US.
- Personal declarations detailing what you have endured and what hardships you may face if deported.
- Any available police records that back up claims of abuse and cruelty.
- Proof of abuse.
- And proof that the immigrant has lived in the US for at least three years.
Are You Protected From Being Deported While Your VAWA Self Petition Is Pending?
Pending status is not the same thing as lawful status. There is no guarantee that you will not be deported while your VAWA status is being reviewed and is in a pending stage. If you are eligible for VAWA, it is vital that you apply without delay.
If your application is still pending, your immigration attorney could ask the court to delay removal proceedings on account of the pending self-petition. Please contact a lawyer to discuss your case today at (510) 491-0291.