It can be a very dangerous life if you’re in the country illegally. There are so many situations where Americans instinctively rely on rights and governmental assistance that they take for granted — and you can’t. If you get attacked by a malicious person on the street, you can’t go to the police without risking discovery and deportment. This makes it particularly dangerous in rowdy areas to “look like an immigrant” — even worse to act like one.
Fortunately, there is one ‘counter-loophole': a law that protects one group of immigrants who would otherwise be in one of the most difficult situations you can imagine — domestic abuse victims. If you can imagine the terror of living with someone who is physically violent with you, believing that if you tell anyone you’ll be taken out of the country and never allowed back — or worse yet, if you don’t have to imagine — be assured.
The Violence Against Women Act protects illegal immigrants, granting them an opportunity to remain in the country — a path to citizenship — if they can show that they’re in an abusive relationship. Despite the name, the Act protects male and female immigrants equally, as well as the illegal children of abusive spouses.
If you think you might need the protection offered by this law, here’s what you need to know:
- You must file the VAWA petition within 2 years of the most recent abuse.
- The abuse must be considered “battery” (unwanted physical contact) or “extreme cruelty” (mental, emotional, or sexual abuse.)
- You must be the spouse, parent, or child of the abuser, and live with them.
- You must establish your own good moral character.
- If you are the spouse of your abuser, you must prove that your marriage is legitimate.
- If you are divorced from the abuser, the divorce most be because of the abuse, and must have been finalized within two years of the petition filing.
If you can meet those six criteria, you can file under the VAWA. If you can acquire a police report, a restraining order, or any other form of official paperwork that indicates that there is a legal background for your claim of abuse, it will help your petition immensely. If you need assistance, call <a href=”http://attorneyzuniga.com/restraining.html”>Lancaster, CA assault lawyers</a> at the Law Offices of Jesus Zuniga today.