Call: (212) 213-8275

Victims of Spousal Abuse or Crime

How Valentini Law Offices Can Benefit You: Our office atmosphere is peaceful, comfortable and strictly confidential, which makes it easy for our clients to tell their story. In addition to routinely counseling immigrant victims of domestic violence, our managing attorney has an impressive amount of classes, seminars and conferences on domestic violence under her belt. We gather evidence and do the legal work with the utmost respect for our clients privacy and peace of mind. Our clients can take comfort in the fact that absolutely no one outside of the Valentini Law Offices has access to their information.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self Petitions, Battered Spouse or Child Waivers and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Cancellation of Removal and Adjustment of Status

Due to a number of factors, immigrant women are especially vulnerable to become victims of domestic violence. Often, the abuser will use his status as a citizen or lawful permanent resident in order to intimidate, isolate, and control his spouse. He may, for example, threaten to report her to the Immigration and Naturalization Service to have her deported, refuse to file papers to legalize her immigration status, or threaten to have her children taken away. He may isolate her from her family and friends, not allow her to learn English, hide important immigration-related documents from her such as a passport, or not allow her to get a job. The abuser may also use sexual, emotional, and physical abuse to control and degrade his victim, damaging her self-esteem and in turn, enforcing her dependence on him.

Many immigrant victims of domestic violence are reluctant to come forward and end the abuse due to fears of deportation and/or of losing their children. There may be cultural reasons for this reluctance, as well as a general fear for safety. Fortunately, there are several forms of relief for these women.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Family-based Immigration

Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), immigrant women who are married to abusive U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents may self-petition for permission to stay in the United States and gain the eligibility to work legally. Self petitions do not have to be signed or filed by US citizen or lawful permanent residents and, therefore, can be fully prepared and submitted by an immigration attorney. The abuser would have no knowledge of the application; therefore, he would have no influence on the process. Another option granted by the law relates to immigrant women under deportation proceedings who have been abused by their spouses. These women may file for Cancellation of Removal, which would allow the victim (and her children) to remain in the United States and be granted green card status. Additionally, under the Violence Against Women Act, victims who have temporary green cards may be eligible to file a Battered Spouse Waiver, which would remove the condition on their status and allow them to become lawful permanent residents.

Resources for Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence

By calling the following hotlines, domestic violence victims can gain access to crisis counseling and shelter. Assistance is free and a variety of languages are spoken.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

New York City Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)

Schedule a consultation with a VAWA Lawyer
Valentini Law Offices, PLLC
(212) 213-8275

Victims of Crime

U Visas

The U visa is an immigrant visa that was established to encourage aliens to report crime and cooperate with law enforcement officials. The U visa is potentially available to victims of torture, trafficking, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, prostitution, domestic violence, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, unlawful criminal restraint, abduction, false imprisonment, felonious assault, manslaughter, murder, blackmail, extortion, obstruction of justice, perjury, witness tampering and other crimes. It is required that the victims of the above mentioned crimes have been or are being cooperative with law enforcement officials, judges and prosecutors. Law enforcement certification is necessary to qualify for a U visa.

T Visas

T visas are available for alien victims of severe forms of human trafficking, sex trade or forced labor, who are in the United States. Upon a showing that the victim is likely to face extreme hardship and suffering upon return to the country of origin, and upon cooperation with law enforcement officials in the investigation or prosecution of the traffickers, successful applicants will receive temporary residence for three years and may subsequently apply for permanent residency.

To schedule a consultation with a New York Immigration Lawyer, call:
(212) 213-8275
or email us.