Domestic Violence and Immigrant Women
Authored By: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid - Austin, Womenslaw.org, Texas Council on Family Violence, and the Texas Civil Rights Project VAWA program
- Texas Civil Rights Project VAWA program American Gateways' PRISA program Power and Control Wheel for Immigrant Women Information
American Gateways' PRISA program: www.americangateways.org
Many immigrant women are afraid to leave a violent relationship until their immigration concerns are addressed. Undocumented immigrant women face threats of deportation by their abusers. Their abusers often threaten to withdraw support of their immigration petitions, and feed them misinformation about the laws in this country. In many cases, the abuser speaks better English than the woman and is able to talk his way out of being arrested when police come to the scene. For these and many other reasons, immigrant women may be reluctant to come forth and ask for assistance.
Immigrant women need to know that the Violence Against Women Act provides ways for them to get legal status in the U.S., if their husband is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
This page contains information , which immigrant survivors of domestic violence will find useful.
First, click here for information on how immigrant women are affected by domestic violence. It is provided by the Texas Council on Family Violence. Also, click the link above labeled "Power and Control Wheel for Immigrant Women" for the same information.
VAWA is the acronym for the Violence Against Women Act, which was passed by Congress in 1994. Among other things, VAWA created special provisions in United States immigration law to protect victims of abuse who are not citizens of the United States. In cases of domestic violence, US immigration law allows certain victims of abuse who are not citizens to obtain lawful status without having to rely on their abuser to petition.
Please click here for information on the Violence Against Women Act for more information on obtaining lawful immigration status WITHOUT relying on the abuser. The resource is put together by WomensLaw.org.
For help on this an immigrant survivor of domestic violence can contact the following organizations.
American Gateways at (512) 478-0546. Click here for their contact information. From their page: American Gateways' PRISA program assists immigrant survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other crimes in applying for immigration benefits under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA).
PRISA teaches survivors of abuse to advocate for themselves and assists with self-petitioning for legal permanent residency. Through VAWA this group of women are eligible for a U-Visa or a T-Visa under VTVPA. Obtaining immigration benefits through PRISA provides battered immigrants with the tools necessary to leave an abusive situation, recover from crisis, and become their own advocates. Click here for more information on this program.
The Texas Civil Rights Project : VAWA Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence Program: From their page: Who we serve: Our project focuses on immigrant survivors of domestic violence living in Texas’ rural areas. If we accept your case, we will provide free services, submit proper forms to Immigration, apply for your work authorization document, and submit your legal permanent resident application. We can do the same for your undocumented children if they are unmarried and under 21. Click here for more information on this program.
Please see the section below for information on other organizations that may be able to help with these issues as well: