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LegalProtectionsforAbusedAliens

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					Legal Protections for
  Abused Aliens:
 VAWA & U Visas
      Stephen B. Yurik
     Lane Alton & Horst
      (614) 228-6885
   syurik@lanealton.com
           INTRODUCTION
   Abused Aliens sometimes stay with
    an abusive spouse to avoid loss of
    legal status and deportation.

   Protections provided by Federal
    Statutes make this unnecessary in
    many cases
    STATUTORY PROTECTIONS
   Violence Against Women(‘94),
    Battered Women Protection Acts
    (’00)
    • Abused spouses of U.S. Citizens (USCs)
      or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs)
      can self-petition to become LPR
         Not dependent on USC or LPR spouse to
          obtain immigrant visa
Victims of Trafficking and Violence
      Protection Act of 2000
Created U Visas
  • U Visas – Available to Victims of
    substantial physical or mental abuse as
    a result of crimes
     Immigration and the Family
   USCs and LPRs can sponsor family
    members for LPR
    • LPRs defined
    • Most LPRs gain that status through family
      sponsorship
   Immediate relatives of USC (spouses,
    unmarried children under 21, parents)
    • Not subject to statutory cap
    • Can apply for LPR upon marriage to USC
     Immigration and the Family
   Preference Immigrants
    • 1 – Unmarried sons & daughters of USC
    • 2A – Spouses and unmarried children under 21
      of LPRs
    • 2B – Unmarried sons and daughters of LPR
    • 3 – Married sons and daughters of USC
    • 4 – Siblings of USCs
   Wait time
    • 4-10 years for most aliens
    • Longer for Mexico, Philippines, China, India
     Immigration and the Family
   Process of Adjust of Status
    • I-130 Petition filed by USC or LPR spouse
          Must establish own status;
          And the qualifying family relationship
          Can withdraw anytime before residency granted
    • I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status
          Immediate relatives file immediately
          Preference relatives must wait for priority date to
           become current (4-23 years)
 Immigration and the Family
Conditional Permanent Residency
• LPR status is conditional when granted if
  married less than 2 years
• Petition for removal of conditions 90
  days before 2 year anniversary
• Must prove good faith marriage
     Documents
       • Joint purchases and accounts
       • Photographs
     Interview
          Potential for Abuse
   Immigrant seeking legal status

   Immigrant stays in abusive marriage
    to obtain or maintain LPR status
    • I-130
    • Petition to Remove Conditions
      Self Petition under VAWA
   Criteria for Eligibility
    • Good faith marriage
    • Battered or subjected to extreme
      cruelty
    • Joint residence (past or present)
    • Current residence in U.S.
    • Good moral character
    • Abuser is or was USC or LPR
      Self Petition Under VAWA
   Divorce does not Disqualify if
    • Caused by battery or cruelty;
    • Petition filed within 2 years


   Common disqualifiers don’t apply
    • Entry Without Inspection
    • Visa Overstay
    • Unlawful work
      Self Petition Under VAWA
   Evidentiary Standard – any credible
    evidence
   Evidence of battery or cruelty
    • Medical records
    • Police reports
    • Court documents
    • Witness statements
     Adjustment of Status (AOS)
   Immediate Relatives
    • File for AOS simultaneously
   Preference Immigrants
    • Wait for Priority Date
   Eligible for Work Authorization
                  U Visas
   To Encourage Exploited and Abused
    Illegal Aliens to Report Crimes
    • Undocumented can qualify
    • Doesn’t require marriage to LPR or USC
    • Provides path to legal status
           Qualifying Criteria
   Victims of Certain Crimes
    • Trafficking, kidnapping
    • Domestic violence, etc.
   Suffered Substantial Abuse
   Has information about the crime
   Certified as helpful to the
    investigation or prosecution
          Benefits of U Visas
   Lawful Status
   Employment Authorization
   LPR status in some circumstances
    • Present in U.S. for 3 years after gain U
      status
    • Continued Presence justified on
      humanitarian, family unity or public
      interest grounds
                Conclusion
   Immigrants may be able to avail
    themselves of courts for divorce and
    keep or gain legal status
    • VAWA
    • U Visas

				
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posted:8/1/2012
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