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Domestic Violence has a silver lining in the Violence Against Women’s Act

Alina got beaten regularly.  If dinner was done fast enough, Alex, her husband, beat her.  If he didn’t like the dinner, he beat her.  If she didn’t finish the supermarket fast, Alex beat her.  If she left the house without his permission, Alex beat her.  If she spoke to her family, he beat her.  Life was one beating after another.  Alex didn’t care if their kids saw him beating her.  If she complained, Alex promised to get her deported and she would never see their two kids again.  After all, he was born a U.S. citizen she was just undocumented and had no rights.  This is what he told her, regularly.Alina was in a horrible situation.  It got so bad she had a stroke.  But still she didn’t trust anyone.  She ultimately got help.  Thanks to the Violence Against Women’s Act she got her green card without Alex’s help.  Nobody can change the horrible things that Alex did.  He deserves to be in jail for a long time.

Whatever you think of Ray Rice’ punching his fiancée in the face, Alex regularly beat Alina regularly.  Nobody should live that way.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows certain abused family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to petition on their own for a green card without the “help” of the the abuser.

In order to qualify for VAWA, you must prove:

  1. Your qualifying relative who abused you is or was a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  2. You as the victim at some point lived with the abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent, in or out of the United States (depending on the relationship).
  3. You must be a person of “good moral character.”  This is more than just being convicted of a disqualifying crime.  This is a catch all where under the totality of circumstances immigration can challenge whether you deserve this benefit;
  4. The abuse must constitute battery or “extreme cruelty” which can include psychological or emotional abuse (there doesn’t need to be physical abuse to be eligible).
  5. You must be admissible to the U.S. or qualify for a waiver.  The VAWA process is more forgiving than general adjustment of status, and even if you were convicted of certain crimes or entered the U.S. without permission you may still qualify.

Here, Alina was married to Alex so she could establish a “qualifying relationship.”  For other qualifying relationships, see the article here.

I have worked hard to be an optimist; to try to find the good even in the bad.  It is never easy.  Cases like Alina’s are particularly hard, but some good did come out of this.  Nobody can change the abuse she suffered.  Alina and her kids will live with that for life.  But she now has got her green card.  She has custody of the kids.  She gets child support and has minimal contact with Alex.  He can no longer hurt her.  He can no longer threaten to deport her.

For Alina, there is a silver lining

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