Victims of Domestic Abuse Can Petition for Residency
From El Correo de Queens
Octover 31-November 13, 2003
By Victor Garcia
Minors and women who are victims of domestic violence
are protected under the Law of Violence against Women, which was
the year 2000, according to the International Foundation of the
Immigrant (Fundacion Internacional del Inmigrante FII). The foundation
claims that under this law, such women can file their own petitions
to the Immigration Service if their partner fails to petition for
them. In the United States one out of every four women is a victim
of domestic violence.
According to Eduardo Juarez, the president of the foundation, a
victim must show the Attorney General that her marriage or intended
marriage to a United States citizen was legitimate in order to
benefit from this law. She must also show that during the marriage
she or her child was mistreated or was the object of extreme cruelty
imparted by the husband or boyfriend.
Juarez explained that if an
immigrant woman is married to a legal resident rather than a citizen
she is also protected under this
law. “Of course the law did not forget about them. The petitioner
must prove that she was the rightful wife of a legal resident for
the last two years, even if her partner has lost residency in those
two years due to domestic violence incidents”, he said.
was very explicit on this issue. “If the woman has
been married for two years and her husband is beating her, she
must call the police and have him arrested. If the Court finds
him guilty of domestic violence, then he can lose his residency
for committing a felony and will become ineligible under immigration
In cases of this nature, the government recognizes
the wife and allows her to petition on her own.
Moreover, the wife and her children will receive legal residence
if she was divorced due to abuse or extreme cruelty. Immigration
services can grant residency if she can prove her case, assured
Up until 2000, immigrant women and children who were
mistreated had no access to immigration protection, the Law of
against Women of 1994 did not do so. This allowed those who
against their family to act with impunity. Further, the victims
could be deported without protection from immigration services.
invited the victims of domestic violence to solicit free advice.
The organization is located at 1435 Broadway, between 40
and 41 St., second floor, Manhattan 212-302-2222.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . .
Translated from Spanish by Valeria