How To Obtain The VAWA Legal Status
”El Show Sin Fronteras”
Spanish Video Above Translated In English Below
Welcome to our Show Sin Fronteras, where we have the mission to inform all the people who see us through their phones or from home, and that they can know how to go to visit their family in their country of origin, or what you have to do for them to come to this country, for example.
Today we bring with us one of our immigration legal guardians that many of you have already had the pleasure of meeting, our dearest attorney Jackie is joining us to talk to us about the VAWA program. It is a subject where many doubts are generated because it has to do with the violence that we often, unfortunately, accept from our partner or family.
VAWA In Brief
Today we will focus specifically on VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) and it’s very important for us that both men and women understand how they can apply and qualify for this VAWA situation.
Our lawyer Jackie tells us: ”Yes, of course, men and women can apply. The law is called VAWA and stands for the Violence Against Women Act. It is a law of protection for women, but it is also a law of protection for men, children, or parents.
It doesn’t matter the age or the gender and that’s why it’s a very important law because just the name alone can leave us with a misconception that this law applies only to women who might be qualifying for this humanitarian Visa.”
Our dear Manager Fidel shares with us: ”It is also worth mentioning that in the society in which we have lived culturally, the man has to be the strong male, right? And it’s hard for a man to accept that he is suffering, that he is or is not going through this kind of situation, and that’s why I also want to remind you that there is nothing wrong with this, it happens to us too, we can also be victims of violence and it doesn’t always have to be just physical violence, but we can also go through this.
I also want to call on those people who are in this situation to come to us and not to let themselves be carried away by these paradigms that society has imposed.
It is very sad that we have been educated with concepts that man does not cry, because if you cry you are fragile.
Unfortunately, when we are in a relationship where we are experiencing abuse, lies, and violence, many times we don’t see it and we normalize it because maybe our parents may have had a relationship like that and we thought that was normal when in reality we are being abused, and if you are undocumented and you are a victim, there is a great possibility of immigration relief.
Can I Affect My Victim If I Apply For VAWA?
A very common doubt that our clients have is the following: I live with my partner and I love her very much, I don’t want to harm her. I’m scared because they are going to take me to the police to testify against the woman I love and I don’t want to let that happen because she is the mother of my children or the other way around he’s my son and I love him and he tells me I’m undocumented but I don’t want to put my son in jail. Does anything here affect the abuser if they qualify or if they apply for this VAWA?
Jackie shares with us: ”The most important thing for VAWA is that there is no requirement to report the person who is hurting you.
In the United States, each type of Visa is different, for example, the U Visa says that we have to prove that the victim called the police and because he/she made a report he/she cooperated with the investigation.
With VAWA this does not apply, so there is no requirement to call the police on your partner, your parents, or your children, they will not know anything about the procedure.
VAWA is intended to protect victims of domestic violence in any form.
Victims are not going to apply for an immigration benefit if there is a punishment for their beloved family members, right? That’s why everything is confidential, and the immigration agency is going to do an investigation or can involve the police in a VAWA case.”
Who Can Apply for VAWA?
So does that mean that anyone who assaults us qualifies us for VAWA or are there any specific requirements of the assailant or the victim in order to qualify for VAWA? immigration relief?
Jackie: ”In VAWA cases the offender must be a permanent resident or U.S. citizen because if the offender does not have papers, does not have a tourist visa, is not in immigration court proceedings, or does not have any fixed status, the victims cannot qualify for VAWA.
Those types of cases are like that, but for example, with U Visa it’s not the same, because for U Visa it doesn’t matter the legal status of the aggressor”.
VAWA & Common Law Marriage
A question we get asked a lot in our office is the following: What happens when I am in an open relationship and we already have children, we have 5, 10, or 15 years together but we are not married? Would they no longer have this option?
Jackie: ”Here in Texas, we have Common Law Marriage, which is informal marriage. which is informal marriage.
In the State of Texas the only requirements for marriage are:
That people live together and call each other husband and wife in front of other people, or refer to each other as their husband or wife.
Those people can also qualify for VAWA if we can prove that the people are a couple, whether they are living together or not doesn’t matter.
They may also qualify with the fact that they have children together.”
A question from our dear audience goes like this: I am married and my husband is doing the I-130 which is a family petition, however, he often locks me up and leaves me without food, there are physical and verbal assaults. I want to know if I need support or consent from my husband in order to apply for this Visa?
Our dearest attorney Jackie states: ”Of course not, she can do a VAWA case with us and keep the family petition which I imagine is still in process because it takes some time, and her husband is not going to know anything about the VAWA case, then she will advance with both procedures at the same time. Because the immigration departments that handle these petitions are separate and do not share information with the other immigration departments.
The truth is something very common for us is that our clients do not want to abandon the family petition or separate from their partner because they have no status, and they prefer to wait to see what happens with their VAWA case, and when they have these facts, they feel freer and know that they have more options.
That’s completely normal and it’s not going to hurt your case.”
VAWA Qualifying Abuses
Attorney Jackie: ”Unfortunately there are several types of abuse that can occur in marriage within a family.
It can be financial abuse, for example, we have had several clients tell us and tell us that when they get their paycheck stubs on a Friday, the abuser takes all the money and tells them: Well, here’s your $20 for the week and the rest is mine because you don’t have papers in this country, so you can’t manage a bank account so I’m going to control everything financially.
There are times when a person is very isolated and the aggressor does not allow them to leave the house, for example, last week I spoke to a woman who told me that whenever she left her house to go shopping or visit a friend or family member, the aggressor always called her several times to tell her: “Where are you? When are you coming home? You can’t stay out of the house for more than an hour! Come back to the house!” and that is a form of control and emotional abuse.
That also qualifies, but the truth is that there are many ways to qualify for this type of Visa.
If you think you may qualify for VAWA because of your marriage or because of a family member who does not treat you well, it is worth consulting with us because we can investigate and see if there is an argument for a VAWA case based on abuse, as every case, every couple, every family is different.
The goal of a VAWA case is to protect undocumented victims of violence, and just because they don’t have immigration status in the United States, it’s a way that can be used against them to manipulate and control the victim.
It is very common for abusers to use the threat of immigration status against their partners.
VAWA & Infidelities
We have another question from our audience, who mentions that his wife, who is a citizen, does not allow him to have any type of social media, she only allows him to have a common account that she controls, and besides, she does not allow him to have access to these accounts; he found out that she is unfaithful to him, could this be useful to be able to apply for VAWA?
Jackie comments: ”Well yes, of course, it is emotional abuse when a person is unfaithful, I imagine there are more details related to this act, and in these circumstances, there are always more factors.
It’s a red flag when a person wants to control your social networks or your money or your own integrity.
Usually, when our clients call us for a consultation, they tell us things like, “Well, my partner doesn’t hit me, but sometimes there are other forms of control or abuse whether it’s the use of profanity, swearing, and so on. So that definitely qualifies.
Does The VAWA Program Need To Be Improved?
One more question we have from our dear audience is the following: Counselor, what would you change about VAWA?
Jackie says: ”What I would change is the rule about people who have been in multiple times and have been out, sometimes they have multiple deportations and the pardon is a little strict.
If I were president I would change it, no matter the immigration history of the victim or the applicant, it doesn’t matter to me, it has nothing to do with what the person has suffered, so that’s what I would change.”
Parents, Minor Children & VAWA
Today’s last question is the following: In what situations can dads apply for VAWA?
Jackie shares with us: ”Yes, men can qualify if their children have abused them, the only thing is that the sons and daughters have to be over 21 years old when we send in the application.
If you have a daughter who treats you badly, is a bit abusive either mentally, physically, or financially, call us and don’t wait or panic, because there is a possibility that for example if she is 19 or 20 we can start with all the tests or forms and at the time when she turns 21, we can send that application package.
If you have additional questions about your relationship, verbal or physical abuse, your adjustment of status, or your specific case, you can contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a short 10 minute evaluation of your case via telephone we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you don’t miss our weekly broadcasts via Facebook, YouTube & Twitch.
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