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Does the Violence Against Women Act Protect Against Deportation?

 Posted on October 17, 2023 in Immigration

Untitled---2023-10-17T105430.440.jpgThe Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1994 to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. It provides various forms of support and assistance to survivors of domestic abuse, including access to immigration relief for abuse victims who are married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. By receiving protection against deportation, immigrant victims can leave abusive situations and seek safety for themselves and their families. For those who need help with these issues, an immigration attorney can be an invaluable resource, offering support and legal assistance with petitions for visas and Green Cards.

Overview of VAWA Immigration Protections

Under VAWA, immigrant victims of domestic violence can self-petition for lawful permanent residency without the knowledge or consent of their abuser. This law allows victims of abuse (including women, men, and children) to seek safety and independence from their abusive family members without fear of deportation.

A person may be eligible for a VAWA self-petition if they meet the following criteria:

  • The immigrant must have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who has been accused of engaging in acts of abuse. The immigrant may be the abuser’s spouse or child. A parent may qualify under VAWA if they have been subject to abuse by an adult child who is over the age of 21.

  • The abuser committed battery or other forms of extreme cruelty against the immigrant or their child during the qualifying relationship.

  • The immigrant is currently residing in the same home as their abuser or resided with them in the past.

  • The immigrant must demonstrate that they have good moral character. This generally means that they must not have committed any “crimes of moral turpitude,” such as violent crimes, sex crimes, prostitution, etc.

  • An immigrant who is married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must show that they entered into their marriage in good faith and had not gotten married in order to obtain immigration benefits.

The Intersection Between VAWA Protection and Deportation Proceedings

In some cases, an immigrant victim's application under VAWA may not prevent them from being placed in removal proceedings. This can happen if the victim is found to be inadmissible or removable for reasons unrelated to their abuse, such as criminal convictions or immigration violations.

However, even if an immigrant victim is placed in removal proceedings, they may still have options to fight deportation and remain in the United States. It may be possible to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility and demonstrate that deportation would cause extreme hardship for a family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. It is crucial for victims to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can assess their eligibility for relief and represent them throughout the legal process.

Contact Our Wake County VAWA Self-Petition Lawyers

If you are an immigrant who has been a victim of domestic violence or other types of crimes, it is important to understand your rights and your options for avoiding deportation. The Violence Against Women Act provides protections against deportation and offers a path toward lawful permanent residency. Other options may also be available, including U Visas for victims of certain types of crimes who are willing to work with law enforcement during criminal investigations and prosecutions.

At Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC, we have extensive experience assisting clients with VAWA self-petitions, defense against deportation, waivers of inadmissibility, and other immigration issues. Our compassionate Charlotte deportation defense attorneys are dedicated to helping survivors of abuse navigate the complex immigration system and achieve safety and stability. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us at 1-844-YO-PELEO. We are here to listen to your story, answer your questions, and provide you with the guidance you need during this challenging time.

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