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[Jeannie Joung, Immigration Lawyer, 엘에이 이민법 변호사] Victims of Domestic Violence and Green Card

Tim came to our office for consultation about his grandmother. Earliethis year, his grandmother had met a man through an online dating site. His grandmother is 72 years old and the man’s profile stated that he is 76 (which she later found out that he was much older). After dating online for a few months, the man proposed and Tim’s grandmother relocated from Texas to marry him. Tim picked up his grandmother from the airport and took her to the man’s apartment in Los Angeles. Tim didn’t have a good impression of the man but hey, if he made his grandmother happy, then that’s all that mattered.

In the next couple of weeks, the couple had a simple wedding at a courthouse. Tim attended their wedding and a few of the man’s friends were there too. After the uneventful ceremony, Tim left the couple and didn’t hear much from his grandmother until two months later when he received a phone call from an emergency room. A staff called Tim asking him if he can pick up his grandmother. She had been physically abused by her new husband.

Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) is a federal law that protects the victims of domestic violence. Among other things, the Act provides funding for investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, allows the victims to file civil lawsuits against the abusers, and provides for certain immigration benefits. Specifically, the Act allows spouses, children, parents of U.C. citizens and spouses and children of permanent residents to file an immigration petition for themselves without the abuser’s consent of knowledge. The Act applies equally to both women and men, equally to people who are in the U.S. legally or illegally.

Under VAWA, we are able to help Tim’s grandmother apply for an immigration petition on her own without her husband’s consent or knowledge. This is very important to Tim’s grandmother because she was so scared of him that she left California and had gone back to Texas. She was afraid that if her husband found her, he would not leave her alone. She was even more afraid that if he found out that she was filing an immigration petition based on her marriage to an abusive spouse, he would come after her with vengeance. She was genuinely afraid for her life.

VAWA allows for Tim’s grandmother to apply for legal permanent residency and eventually a citizenship. Depending on the case, she may be eligible to apply for citizenship only three (3) years after becoming a permanent resident. VAWA provides the same type of benefits to the victims of domestic violence as those who are married to a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident without being abused.

In order to apply for permanent residency under VAWA, the victim must satisfy certain requirements through documentation such as a marriage certificate, lease agreement showing that the victim lived with the abusive spouse, declaration from the victim and those who knew about the abuse, police reports (if available), etc. If she is unable to provide the documents, there are other ways to prove the case. An experienced immigration attorney is the key to successfully proving the case, especially if the documents are insufficient.

Our office has helped many people regarding VAWA and green card cases. If you think you might be eligible under VAWA, domestic violence and green card, we are here to help.

Please contact our office for free, confidential legal consultation today.

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