VAWA Lawyers in Oakland Serving Clients Throughout California
No one should be asked to tolerate the pain, the indignity, the terror, and the shame of domestic abuse. What’s particularly sad is how many survivors feel that they must do just that, either out of fear of or obligation to their attacker or a sense that they will not be believed. Victims of crimes who are immigrants are even less likely to report that they’ve been abused, because in addition to those other matters, they also fear the risk of being deported.
No one should have to suffer through the pain of physical or mental abuse. But if this unfortunate incident has already occurred, then the survivors should definitely not have to worry about being detained and deported from the country they call home.
Immigration attorneys may be able to help victims in obtaining protections from deportation. Just as the U visa provides protections to immigrants who are victims of serious crimes, VAWA could offer similar protections to immigrants who are victims of domestic violence and abuse. Call Landerholm Immigration at 510-488-1020 to discuss your options
Who Qualifies for VAWA?
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally passed in 1994. This policy was created specifically for immigrant spouses, partners, and children who were victims of domestic abuse by their US citizen or permanent resident relative. Under VAWA, the survivor is allowed to self-petition for immigration without the knowledge or involvement of the abusive US resident, allowing victims to secure safety and independence from their abusers.
Without VAWA, the US citizen may have been able to use the immigration process against their immigrating victim, effectively turning their sponsorship into a tool in their continued abuse.
VAWA is for noncitizens who have been abused by US citizens or green card holders in America. The policy allows them to take the immigration process into their own hands and out of the hands of their abusers. Spouses, partners, children, parents, and recently divorced spouses may be eligible for VAWA. If you are a spouse, you must have entered the marriage “in good faith.” You must have lived with the abusive US citizen or LPR, not have been part of the cause of the abuse, and be a person of “good moral character.”
What Types of Abuse Fall Under the Violence Against Women Act?
It feels wrong to say what types of abuse do and do not qualify for the Violence Against Women Act, but under the law not every act qualifies and not every victim is eligible.
The types of abuse which may fall under VAWA include:
- Assault of a physical or sexual nature
- Battery and “extreme cruelty”
- Controlling finances
- Emotional abuse, including bullying and constant insults
- Forced home imprisonment
- Punches, kicks, pushing into walls, and hair pulling
- Threats of physical injury
- Threats to have the victim deported or immigration process canceled
- Unwanted sexual touching
Can VAWA Help Men and Children Who’ve Been Victims of Domestic Abuse?
Though the law mentions women in its name, VAWA is not specifically for women alone. Male and non-binary survivors of abuse who are non-US citizens may also apply for VAWA in California. In the US, all people must be treated equally under the law, so if women are afforded protections under VAWA then so are men.
There are more men being abused in America than we know. Whether it is because of personal shame or cultural considerations, men are generally less likely to report they’ve been abused than women.
Whether at the hands of women or their same-sex partners, men have as much right to apply for protections from abuse as anybody else. Children of any gender are also afforded protection under VAWA. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. offers a confidential free consultation to new clients.
Consult an Experienced Immigration Lawyer
VAWA can be useful for people in the immigration process so that they don’t have to deal with their abusive US sponsors. The law can also be of use to those facing deportation via the VAWA cancellation of removal. If you are a victim of abuse and extreme cruelty, you need to know that you have rights and legal options available to you which could protect you and your loved ones from abusive individuals.
Domestic abuse can make a person feel so alone. But you do not have to be. The lawyers of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. supply sympathetic, caring legal representation to survivors of abuse and could help you get protection and legal status.
Contact our Oakland office for a free evaluation at 510-488-1020.