VAWA as a Savior for Immigrant Women
With around 19 million immigrant women in the US, half of the entire foreign-born population in the US is female. Unfortunately, most of the immigrant women are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, especially those who are unauthorized. The immigrant women are most likely to be abused while entering the US, at the time of working and within their homes. For these reasons, the federal law goes in for several forms of immigrant women protection.
What is self-petition under VAWA?
Under VAWA, the immigrant women, victims of child abuse, domestic violence or elder abuse may self-petition for permanent resident status. For this, the victim does not need any cooperation from their abusive parent, spouse or adult child. It allows the victims to file self-petition with full confidentiality. Self-petition helps the immigrants for attaining lawful permanent resident status. It allows the victims to stay away from their abusers once the lawful permanent resident status has been received. With approved VAWA self-petition, the applicant receives work authorization and deferred action besides providing permanent residential status. When an individual opts for permanent resident status with self-petition, she becomes the subject to the system of family preference. This allows children and spouses of US citizens to apply immediately and receive a green card as the immediate relative. However, there is no limit to the number of self-petitions under VAWA that can be filed in a year.
Eligibility for self-petition under VAWA:
VAWA approves of self petitions to all the immigrant women. But, there are certain eligibility criteria that need to be followed.
- Self-petitions are available to the spouses and the former spouses of the abusive US citizens. It is also available for the lawful permanent residents of the US. In case of divorced spouses, they can opt for self-petition if the reason behind the divorce was due to marital abuse. For that, the application for self-petition needs to be filed within a period of two years of the divorce.
- Children of the lawful permanent citizens and the abusive citizens can file for self-petition. The self-petition needs to be filed before the age of 25 years in case of child abuse.
- The spouses who are not US citizen and whose children are abused by other US citizen can file for self-petition.
Besides providing proof of the abuse, the self-petitioner also needs to prove:
- Their relationship with the abuser.
- Marriage of good faith in case the abuser is a step-parent or spouse.
- Immigration status of the parent, child or citizen.
- Residential proof with the abusive member of the family.
- Good human being and good moral character.
- Relationship between parent and children in case the applicant is an immigrant who is non-abusive and the relationship status with the spouse who perpetrated the abuse.
VAWA cancellation of removal:
VAWA cancellation of removal also known as suspension of deportation is a form of relief which has been designed to keep the victims of the abusive US citizen or permanent citizen parents or spouses from being deported from the country. It is a relief option for the non-citizen victims. They can seek for it in the immigration court after they have been placed in the proceedings of removal. With successful cancellation of removal, the victim can attain permanent resident status and their children can also be released into the US. This also allows them to attain a green card.
In order to qualify for VAWA cancellation of removal, the victim needs to prove:
- Physical presence in the US for at least three consecutive years.
- She has been subject to extreme cruelty and abuse by a US citizen.
- Removal would lead to extreme problems.
- Good moral character.