Abused husband obtains Green Card under VAWA
Even though VAWA means Violence Against Women Act, Women abused by their US resident or citizen spouses are not the only ones that can benefit under this law to obtain the US legal Permanent Residency. Men abused by their spouses, children abused by parents and parents of children abused by their parents can benefit as well. In all cases, under this law, the abuser must be resident or American citizen, unlike for the U Visa for Victims of Crime, where the legal status of the abuser does not matter. This was the case of our client Alfonso.
Alfonso, a colombian immigrant, met his wife and the mother of his son when they were working together. Laura, his wife, was also known for her aggressive temperament, however Alfonso did not see it because he was so in love. A while after they knew each other, Laura got pregnant and she tried to change everything in Alfonso’s life, even they way he dressed. Alfonso’s family started to notice this situation and they tried to warn him, but he preferred to stay away from them.
When Alfonso and Laura’s son was born, Federico, the situation improved a little but later it got worse. The abuse was not just verbal and emotional now, but it was also physical. Alfonso was attached to the idea of providing a good home for his son, that he tolerated the abuse. They even underwent family therapy but Laura’s behavior did not change at all. One day, in the middle of a fight, Laura was so violent that she even hurt Federico. This made Alfonso react and he reported the incident to the police. After that, there were many more incidents and in one of them, Alfonso was arrested because Laura accused him of domestic violence.
This is when Alfonso contacted our office to find an attorney who could represent him in court and defend him against the domestic violence charges. Our Lawyer Desmond P. FitzGerald successfully defended the criminal charges that were filed without any basis. After listening to everything that happened between Alfonso and Laura, Attorney FitzGerald determined that Alfonso was eligible to apply for US legal permanent resident trough VAWA.
After the visit of a social worker who informed Alfonso and Laura that if the situation continued, they might lose the custody of Federico, Alfonso decided to leave the house trying to avoid more incidents. But Laura didn’t stop and she kept harassing and manipulating him by not letting him visit his son. Alfonso had to call the police several times to make Laura leave the house and he even tried to obtain a restriction order but it was denied. Attorney FitzGerald gave Alfonso instructions about how to collect evidence of the mistreatment and the importance of keep continuing to go to therapy.
Not only is it difficult for a male to obtain immigration status through VAWA, but it is particularly difficult when there have been charges of domestic violence filed against the male. Fortunately, attorney FitzGerald was able to defend the client against those domestic violence charges, in order to preserve his eligibility for VAWA benefits.
In this case, the USCIS made a request for additional evidence that tried to require the client to obtain special police clearances from all the places he had lived in the US. This request is not only time consuming and difficult to comply with, but it is also not required by the regulations.
Attorney FitzGerald notified the USCIS that his client did not have to comply with this request and that the USCIS was required by law to process our client’s application with the evidence that had been submitted. Attorney FitzGerald’s argument was convincing and the USCIS promptly approved the petition. Alfonso is now a US resident and may be eligible to become a US citizen in a few years.