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by | Dec 21, 2022 | Firm News

Huge backlogs. Frustrating delays. Unable to travel for funerals, weddings, honeymoons. Where is the human sensitivity of the immigration system?

VAWA, Violence Against Women Act, harbors such sensitivity for victims disabled on a soulful level. Let’s face it. Suppression of women ranging from subtle, demeaning comments to abusive physical, mental, and emotional acts exists all over the world and in every culture. At times, fleeing from a country may seem possible, but fleeing from an environment so-called home seems nearly impossible. Surely, the country whose foundation is built on pursuing life, liberty, and justice for all, should have some remedy for such immigrants quietly suffering within their own confines.

Immigrants come to this country for freedom, better opportunities, and justice. When it is not there within the four walls of one’s home, then it is not there in all of the universe. Well, let’s not get beyond the United States border for this blog, but it defeats the point when the system in place is not quite there to support these “personal asylum” type cases. (I only labeled this for the article, and there’s no such term.)

So what exactly is VAWA? And how does one qualify for it? My blog is here to lay out the key fundamental qualifications needed to obtain such immigration benefit.

Typically, many cases involve the petitioning and income-earning spouse being the one doing the abusing. This can definitely be debilitating for the victim beneficiary in a new country, having potentially a language barrier and no other means of living, all while dealing with surviving abuse. VAWA allows for abused beneficiary to eliminate the abusive spouse completely by filing a self-petition.

Key Qualifications

The keys qualifications are:

1) You have a qualifying relationship as the: a) Spouse, intended spouse, or former spouse of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident if: You are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser (including your marriage to the abuser was legally terminated by death (U.S. citizen spouses only) or a divorce (for reasons related to the abuse) within the 2 years prior to filing your petition; your spouse lost or renounced citizenship or permanent resident status within the 2 years prior to filing your petition due to an incident of domestic violence; or you believed that you were legally married to your abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse but the marriage was not legitimate solely because of the bigamy of your abusive spouse, b) Child of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent; or c) Parent of an abusive U.S. citizen son or daughter who is 21 years old or older.

2) You were subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative during the qualifying relationship. (If you are applying as a spouse, you may also be eligible if your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse subjected your child to battery or extreme cruelty);

3) You are residing or have resided with your abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative; and

4) You are a person of good moral character.

If you are self-petitioning as the spouse of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, then you must also demonstrate that you entered into the marriage in good faith and not for the purpose of evading immigration laws.

In certain circumstances you may remain eligible for the VAWA self-petition if your abusive relative lost or renounced their U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status or if your abusive relative died.

So there it is. Sensitivity for the feminine—whose energy makes the planet go around, whose womb has birth the entire humanity—shall be protected eternally.

Here is to the Violence Against Women Act. VAWA. Wow!