Albuquerque VAWA Attorneys
VAWA Lawyers in New Mexico
Are you an undocumented immigrant woman who is in an abusive relationship? Do you know of a female friend or family member who is in a situation like this and she either does not know where to turn or is too afraid to ask for help? This is a very frightening and difficult time for everyone involved, especially if that person believes there abuser is monitoring their every move, whether that be physically or via the internet.
Currently, there are an estimated 19 million immigrant women and girls in the United States. Unfortunately, a large number of these immigrant women, particularly those who are undocumented are susceptible to oppression and exploitation. The potential for immigrant females to be exposed to exploitation is most typically seen when they come into the United States, are in the workforce, and sadly in their own homes. It is because of these reasons and others that the United States federal government put into law the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which entitles undocumented immigrant women with a number of different types of protection.
Here is some basic information about the three forms of protections:
- The “U” visa is for victims of certain crimes.
- The “T” visa is for victims of severe forms of trafficking.
- The “self-petitioning” under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Why do female undocumented immigrants need protection against exploitation?
One reason is they are far more likely to hold a job in an informal work environment such as domestic workers and caretakers. Also, they are typically unable to demand their rights or have protection under current laws. Immigrant women workers are typically more susceptible to rape, sexual abuse and harassment as well as other gender related exploitation in the workplace. In and even darker aspect some immigrant women are solely brought into the United States through human trafficking networks and are forced to work while under surveillance, being threatened with deportation, and/or bodily harm. These women truly are prisoners among their captures usually not speaking English.
Undocumented immigrant women have a higher potential of being confronted with domestic violence. This is even more amplified when their immigration status is dependent on their abusive spouse. A typical example would be an immigrant woman who is dependent on a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse to petition for her through the family-based immigration system. Another typical example is when an immigrant woman's legal status is dependent on their spouse’s employment-based immigration status. This last example can leave women particularly vulnerable because they are financially dependent on a spouse. Not only that but in many cases they are susceptible to a spouse’s constant threats of deportation. Many abusive spouses who petition for their spouse or children typically postpone, cancel, or just plain don't file petitions for their family members. They may even threaten their family members by telling them they will be turned in to immigration authorities.
Lastly, many undocumented immigrant women are afraid to report any abuse or exploitation by their abusive spouse to any law enforcement agencies for fear that they will be deported and separated from their loved ones. The abuser is well aware of this fact and uses it to their advantage to silence their victims.
While many undocumented immigrant women fall into this scenario and they endure the abuse directly from their abusive spouse typically what is the turning point for them to seek help is when the abuser starts to abuse their children or other family members. If this sounds all too familiar to you or a loved one, you need to seek professional help.
Contact an Albuquerque VAWA immigration attorney at
Kretz & Romero, P.C. if you are an undocumented immigrant woman who is an abusive relationship and are in need of help.