Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) cases
In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), creating special routes to immigration status for certain battered noncitizens.
Victims of domestic violence who are the child, parent, or current/former spouse of a United States citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder) and are abused by the citizen or permanent resident may be eligible to apply for a green card themselves without needing the abuser to file for immigration benefits on their behalf.
The abuse may include evidence of: physical abuse, violent acts or threats of violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, verbal abuse and degradation, emotional abuse, isolation, intimidation, economic abuse, coercion or threats to take away children or have one deported.
Immigrant women are less likely to report abuse to authorities. First, victims of domestic violence fear from retaliation by the abuser. The situation is more severe with immigrants, who may lack an understanding of the justice system, may also fear deportation. VAWA allows abused immigrant women and children to seek legal residency in the U.S. independently of their abusers.
Walker & Ungo has worked pro bono with our local shelter organization S.A.F.E
. to provide legal representation in VAWA cases for victims of domestic violence.
Help is also available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD). The hotline has information about shelters, mental heath care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about filing for immigration status. For more information, visit the National Domestic Violence website.
The following are local (north Mississippi) shelter and domestic violence related support groups:
Domestic Violence Support Group 662-841-9138 (Tupelo) / 662-423-7318 (Iuka)
Sexual Assault Support Group 1-800-527-7233