Domestic violence is a serious problem for any family, but it is especially devastating for immigrant families. An abuser who holds legal immigration status (either as a citizen or permanent resident) can use this to control a spouse, child, or other family member who does not. The abuser may threaten to send the family member “back” if he or she reports abuse. This is a vicious cycle that has devastated many immigrant families. Luckily, the law has made provisions to combat this horrible cycle. Victims of domestic violence can seek their own lawful immigration status without their abuser knowing about it.
At Michael G. Murray, P.A., our experienced immigration attorneys know how to protect your legal rights. They have helped many individuals and families obtain lawful immigration status in the face of domestic violence. We can help you take control to protect yourself and your family from an abusive relationship. Call (512) 215-4407 today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Austin immigration attorneys.
How Can I Obtain Lawful Immigration Status Through VAWA?
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. In 2013, it was reauthorized by President Barack Obama. The law provides certain programs, funding, and legal protections for victims of domestic violence. It also allows non-citizens to file an immigrant visa petition on the grounds of domestic violence. While certain provisions of VAWA expired in 2018, the immigration provisions are permanent and do not require reauthorization by Congress. This means that immigrants can continue to seek immigration protection under VAWA indefinitely.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services reports that certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent residents (Green Card holders) can file a visa petition themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. The process begins by filing a Form I-360 petition at the Vermont Service Center. The petition must be accompanied by supporting documentation to prove the claims made in the petition. Once the petitioner has an approved Form 1-360, he or she is eligible to work in the United States. An approved Form I-360 also makes the petitioner eligible to apply for a Green Card. A Green Card gives the holder permission to live and work in the United States permanently. While the approved I-360 does not guarantee a Green Card, it is an important step toward securing a permanent legal immigration status.
Experienced, Aggressive Austin Immigration Attorneys Who Protect Victims of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence can cause devastating consequences for many generations. Immigration status can be one of the strongest weapons an abuser uses against his or her victims. It is therefore critical that abuse victims gain their own lawful immigration status independent of an abuser. Let our experienced Austin immigration attorneys help you gain independence and protect your family from an abusive relationship. Call Michael G. Murray, P.A today at 512 215-4407 or contact us online.
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