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									Working with Immigrant Victims of
 Violence: Basic Techniques, Rights
           and Remedies
      Two Days in May
                  May 7, 2009
        Lauren Morrison, Staff Attorney
      Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio
    Why learn about violence against
          immigrant women?
•   Immigrant women often experience
    unique forms of abuse
•   Immigrant women face additional
•   Service providers, by learning to
    respond effectively to immigrant
    victims, can help to lower these
       Power and control tactics
•   Emotional Abuse
•   Economic Abuse
•   Sexual Abuse
•   Using Children
•   Threats
•   Intimidation
•   Isolation
         Strategies to lower barriers
•   Never use the word “illegal” when
    referring to an undocumented immigrant

•   Tell your client that there may be
    immigration remedies available to her as a
    victim of domestic violence. Make

•   NEVER contact immigration officials
    without consulting an immigration
    attorney familiar with your client’s case
         Strategies continued
   Listen closely to your client’s story.
   Provide information about available
    resources and rights.
   Assure your client that she has a
    right to be safe.
   Create the best possible dialogue by
    using interpreters whenever
      Working with Interpreters
•   Use a professional, qualified, impartial interpreter

•   Have a pre-session with the interpreter to establish
    what you need from him/her

•   Assure the client that the interpreter will keep
    conversations confidential

•   Use first person and treat the interpreter as a conduit

•   Know your legal responsibilities
      When to use an interpreter
•   Always use an interpreter when the client
    requests one
•   Use an interpreter if the victim has Limited
    English proficiency
    • LEP – people who are unable to speak, read, write or
      understand English at a level that allows for effective
    • This may mean different things for different clients. Evaluate
      case by case.
    • The victim may understand more than she speaks or speak
      more than she understands
    • You may be discussing concepts your client doesn’t fully
      understand. Having an interpreter helps to break these
        Professional Interpreters
   Who should interpret?
    • Someone who has received training in
      interpreter skills
    • Someone proficient in both languages
    • Someone who has a commitment to
      interpreter ethics
    • Someone the client does not know
      outside of the interpreter role.
                 Never Use
   Who should NOT interpret?
    • Children
    • Family member of the victim
    • Family member of the abuser
    • Friend of the family
    • Neighbor
    • Interpreter used by the abuser
    • Abuser
Relief for Battered Immigrants

Legal Rights and Remedies
          Rights Available to ALL
   Child Protection and Adult Protective Services
   Violence and abuse prevention, including domestic violence
   Mental illness or substance abuse treatment (emergency)
   Short term shelter or housing assistance (homeless
   Programs during adverse weather conditions
   Soup kitchens, food banks, senior nutrition programs
   Access to the court system – can press criminal charges,
    obtain a CPO, get a divorce
      How the Immigration System
   DHS: Department of Homeland

    • CIS: Citizenship and Immigration Services
         Administrative applications for “benefits”
    • ICE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement
         Detaining and removing those inside US
    • CBP: Customs and Border Protection
         Airports, border, 100 miles inside border

   EOIR: Executive Office for
    Immigration Review
                Immigration Laws
   Two ways people enter the US
    •   Entry through proper immigration channels (with
    •   Entry without inspection (generally across the border)
           Called EWI

   Two types of people coming into US:
    •   Nonimmigrants – people who are coming to US
    •   Immigrants – people who are coming to US to become
        Permanent Residents

   Even when people come in as nonimmigrants
    they can sometimes become immigrants
    through family based immigration.

   Visitor Visa
    • I-94 stay v. duration of visa

   Student Visa

   Employment Visa
   Family Based Immigration

   Employment Based Immigration

   Diversity Visa Lottery

   Asylum/Refugee Status

   Special Remedies

   Relief from Removal
           Permanent Residence

   Individuals coming into the US as immigrants
    either have applied for or are seeking Permanent

    • Terminology:

          LPR – lawful permanent resident,
          Greencard
      Permanent Residence
• Details
     LPRs receive permanent status in US but
      can be revoked if:
       • Commit certain crimes
       • Vote illegally
       • Abandon status by leaving the US for extended
         periods of time.
     Get Card that must be renewed every ten
     Eligible to apply for US Citizenship after 5
      years (3 if based on marriage)
       Family Based Immigration
Who Can be the Beneficiary
For US Citizens:
   Can immediately apply for spouse, parents and
    unmarried children under 21 to get greencard.

   Can file an I-130 to secure a place in line for:
    • Unmarried sons and daughters of USC over 21
    • Married sons and daughters of USC
    • Brothers and sisters of adult citizens
    Once the USCIS is ready to process applications for these
    beneficiaries, the USC can file for a greencard (I-485)
                  Family Based
 Who can be the beneficiary:
For Permanent Residents
Permanent residents cannot apply for
  anyone to immediately get a greencard.
LPR can file an I-130 to secure a place in
  line for:
    • Spouses
    • Unmarried children
    Once the USCIS is ready to process applications for these
    beneficiaries, the LPR can file for a greencard (I-485)
        Family Based Immigration

   Requirements for Marriage
    Based Petition:
    •   Marriage
    •   To US Citizen or LPR
    •   In Good Faith
    •   Joint petition to adjust status
 Family Based Immigration

• Have to be married 2 years when apply
  or the green card will be conditional.

• If not married two years then 21
  months after original application the
  parties must jointly apply to remove
  conditions, or the immigrating party can
  try to get a waiver.
 Impact of Domestic Violence

– In DV situations, when abusive
  spouse is citizen or LPR and
  abused spouse is not, immigration
  status can be wielded as a tool of
  –   Threats to not assist with greencard
  –   Threats to deport
  –   Threats to keep children in US
    Special Immigration Remedies
    Married to US Citizen or LPR
    •   Self Petition
    •   Removal of Conditions
    •   U-Visa
    •   T-visa
    Not married to US Citizen or
    • U-visa
    • T-visa
VAWA Immigration Remedies: Self

   Self Petition provides:

    • Path to green card (LPR status)
      without assistance of abusive spouse

    • Ability to obtain work authorization
      while case is pending
              Self Petition
Who can apply:
 •   Abused spouses of USC or LPR – can apply
     for their children as derivatives also

 •   Non abused spouse of USC or LPR where
     child is abused

 •   Abused children of USC or LPRs

 •   Abused parent of USC sons and daughters
                 Self Petition
   Criteria for Self Petition (Spouse)
    •   Applicant is or was married to Legal
        Permanent Resident or US Citizen
    •   In good faith
    •   Abused by this spouse
    •   Abuse took place during the marriage
    •   Applicant lives in US, or was abused by
        spouse in US
    •   Good moral character of applicant
                        Self Petition
   Criteria for Self Petition (Child)
    • Unmarried and under 21
            Applicant can be under 25 if can show abuse is one
             central reason didn’t apply before 21
            Child includes stepchild if parent’s marriage occurred
             before child’s 18th birthday
            Child includes adopted child if adopted before 16th
             birthday and lived with adoptive parent for two years
    •   Abuser is USC or LPR
    •   The USC or LPR abused the child
    •   Child resides in US
    •   Child resides or resided with abuser
    •   Child has good moral character
               Self Petition
   Criteria for Self Petition (Parent)
    • Son or daughter must be USC
    • Son or daughter must be over 21
    • Abused by son or daughter
    • Applicant resides with or resided with
      son or daughter
    • Applicant is of good moral character
         Removal of Conditions
   If client was married to USC less than two years
    when applied for green card, client has
    conditional permanent residency

   Client normally has to wait 21 months from the
    date she gets the green card, then apply with
    spouse to get permanent residency.

   This joint filing requirement can be waived.
           Removal of Conditions
   Waiver of Joint Filing Requirement
    • Client can waive joint filing requirement if she
      can show:
          Married in good faith but spouse is now deceased.
          Married in good faith but marriage was terminated by
          Married in good faith but applicant was battered or
           victim of extreme cruelty by USC spouse/parent.
          OR
          Removal would result in extreme hardship.
   U-visa is:

    • Four year non-immigrant visa

    • Possible path to greencard

    • Work Authorization if apply
   Criteria for U-visa
    •   Immigrant suffered “substantial physical or
        mental abuse” as a result of being victim of
        certain crimes.
    •    Immigrant has info about that crime
    •   Immigrant has been helpful, is being helpful,
        or is likely to be helpful in the investigation
        or prosecution of the crime AND
    •   Crime violated the laws of the US or occurred
        in the US.
                    U-Visa: Crimes
       Crimes Include:
    •     Domestic Violence
    •     Rape
    •     Torture
    •     Trafficking
    •     Incest
    •     Sexual Assault
    •     Prostitution
    •     Kidnapping
    •     Felonious Assault
    •     Witness tampering
    •     Blackmail
    •     Extortion
    •     Manslaughter
    •     Murder
    •     Obstruction of Justice
    •     Perjury
   Derivatives:
    -Victim over 21 –      can apply for spouse and
    unmarried children under 21
    -Victim under 21      – can apply for spouse,
    unmarried children under 21, parents and siblings
    under 18.

*Need to show qualifying relationship
                     U-Visa: Proof
   Issues of proof:
    • Standard: any credible evidence

    • Necessary Documents
       Form I-918
       Form I-918 Supplement B - Law Enforcement Certification
       Declaration from applicant
       Waiver of any grounds of inadmissibility

    • Helpful Documents
       police reports,
       photos,
       CPOs,
       court documents
          U-Visa Adjust Status
   Can adjust status from U-visa
    • Three years have passed since granted
    • Physically present in US that whole time
    • Not unreasonably refused to help
      investigate/prosecute the crime
    • Presence justified on humanitarian grounds,
      family unity or public interest
    • Applicant did not engage in genocide or Nazi
   Four year non-immigrant visa for
    victims of trafficking

   Possibility to become lawful
    permanent resident
   Requirements
    • Has to have been a victim of a severe form of trafficking
      in persons,
    • Has to be physically present in US on account of the
    • Has to have complied with any reasonable request for
      assistance in the investigation/prosecution unless under
    • Would suffer extreme hardship involving severe and
      unusual harm if he or she were removed from US,
    • Has not committed a severe form of trafficking in
    • Is not inadmissible (unless waiver applies.)
   Trafficking Definition:
    • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is
      induced by force, fraud or coercion or in which
      the person induced to perform the act is under
    • The recruitment, harboring, transportation,
      provision or obtaining of a person for labor or
      services, through the use of force, fraud or
      coercion for the purpose of subjection to
      involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage
      or slavery.
   Issues of proof:
    • Best to submit an endorsement from a
      law enforcement agency (LEA) that
      person is a victim but can also submit
    • Credible secondary evidence – showing
      good faith attempts to get endorsement
      from an LEA
                T-visa: Benefits
   With a T-visa applicant will be able to apply
    for permanent residence after three years in
   Visa applicant is also eligible for same public
    benefits as refugees
     • Need a certification from the Office of Refugee
       Resettlement that shows:
         Victim is willing to assist in every reasonable
          way and
         Has made a bona fide application for visa
          which has not been denied
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
 •   Child must be involved in Dependency,
     Delinquency or Other Juvenile Court
 •   Child must be deemed eligible for long term
     foster care by Juvenile Court.
 •   Court must find it not in best interest of child
     to return to home country.
 •   Findings must be based on abuse, neglect or
     abandonment of child.
 •   Juvenile Court judge must sign an order
     making these findings.
 •   Applicant must be under 21 and unmarried.
           SIJS: Procedure
   Applicant must file for SIJS and
    Permanent Residence (greencard).

   Juvenile Court must retain
    jurisdiction until petitions are
    approved and LPR status is granted.
   Individuals that overstayed visas or entered
    illegally may not have lawful status and may be
    subject to removal.

   NTA - Notified of removal proceedings by Notice
    to Appear

   Some possible defenses:
    • Cancellation of Removal
    • VAWA Cancellation of Removal
    • Valid Marriage to USC proved by I-130 (and party
      entered lawfully)
    • Eligible for other immigration benefit (ex, U or T visa)
    Rights of non-citizens detained by

   Speak to an unappointed attorney

   Hearing with Immigration Judge

   Unappointed attorney at hearing and

   Request release from detention
         Relief from Removal
   Cancellation of Removal
    • Applicant is in removal proceedings
    • Applicant has been continuously present
      in the US for at least 10 years.
    • Applicant has not been convicted of
      certain crimes
    • Removal of applicant would cause
      extreme hardship to USC spouse or
         Relief from Removal
   VAWA Cancellation of Removal
    • Applicant is in removal proceedings
    • Applicant is victim of battery or extreme
      cruelty by USC or LPR spouse (or
    • Continuous physical presence in US for
      three years.
    • Not convicted of certain crimes
    • Extreme hardship to applicant or
      USC/LPR child
   Questions?
   For more information please
    Lauren Morrison
    Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio
    215 E. Ninth Street, Suite 500
    Cincinnati, OH 45202

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