Over last weekend, the New York Times published an article about immigrants who deal with domestic violence for fear of being deported if they report the crime. According to the article, undocumented victims are reluctant to step forward for fear that they will be detained by the government and sent back to their country if they report the crime. The article pointed to a particular incident in El Paso, where ICE agents had arrested a woman just after she had received a protective order against the man who allegedly was abusing her.
Domestic violence is a terrible crime and one that needs to be dealt with by the police. But abuse victims should know that there are protections in place for them. You can apply for a visa if you are being abused by an intimate partner. First, it’s important to note that all people living in the United States, regardless of their citizenship status, are guaranteed basic protections under the law. This means you can do the following:
- Obtain a protection order for you and your children
- Separate or divorce without consent of your spouse
- Share certain marital property (the court will divide the property)
- Ask for custody for your children and financial support
As an immigrant, there are three options available to you as a victim of domestic violence. You will able to apply for legal immigration status for you and your children. This application is confidential, and no one will know that you applied. There three ways are as follows:
- You can self-petition for legal status under the Violence Against Women Act
- You can obtain a U-nonimmigrant visa
- You can cancel your deportation orders under the VAWA
What is a U-nonimmigrant visa? This visa is set aside especially for victims of certain crimes, domestic violence being one of those crimes. By having this visa, it allows law enforcement or government officials to investigate the crimes against you and prosecute criminal activity. This visa is valid for up to four years with extensions available for certain circumstances. With this visa, you and your children will be eligible to apply for a green card. With this visa, it will protect domestic violence victims from detention and deportation, allowing them to come forward and get the legal help they need.
If you have a family member who is being detained by ICE, you will need an immigration bond to get them out. Contact an immigration bail bondsman at Freedom Federal Bonding Agency today for more information. Hablamos Espanol.