Immigrant Battered Women's Project
Battered immigrants who do not have legal immigration documents to reside in the United States face serious challenges to obtaining safety and freedom from abuse. These people suffer the terror of domestic violence made worse by language and cultural barriers. Immigrant battered victims are often unfamiliar with the American justice system, are fearful of police, and are powerless to counter the abuser's control over them. Life Span's Immigrant Battered Women's Project offers hope to these victims, and a real opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their children.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
This federal law allows battered women married to abusers, who are citizens or permanent residents, to file immigration papers on their own behalf and not depend on the abusive husband to petition for them.
The U visa is a tool created by the victims of the Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, enacted in October 2000 to assist law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. The U visa offers an opportunity for law enforcement to pursue criminal investigations and prosecutions with the cooperation of undocumented victims. The U visa is available to noncitizens who (1) have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse resulting from a wide range of criminal activity, and (2) have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful with the investigation or prosecution of the crime
Undocumented victims of domestic violence and sexual assault crimes in the United States often fear reporting abuse to the police, or following through with criminal charges because of their undocumented status. In an abusive relationship particularly, the abuser may use this information to control the situation. In Life Span’s Immigration Project, the attorney can petition for a U visa for individuals who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, who participate in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime. It all begins by calling the police and reporting the crime.
Our Immigration Project helps hundreds of women each year seek lawful immigration status, ensuring that these clients can seek safety without fear of deportation. To learn more about the Immigration Project or to refer someone, please call Life Span's Center for Legal Services and Advocacy at 312-408-1210