San Francisco Violence Against Women Act Lawyer
Immigration Law Assistance for Victims of Spousal Abuse and Domestic Violence
Countless immigrants have found themselves in the position of having to choose between tolerating an abusive relationship married to a U.S. citizen, or facing removal from the United States. Many people are not aware of what constitutes abuse in our immigration policies. It is not only physical or sexual abuse but mental abuse and harm to the children is included as well. It is intolerable to force a person to face domestic abuse and sexual assault by an abusive U.S. citizen as a precondition for remaining in this country. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) helps to solve that condition by offering protection for the victims of spousal abuse and domestic violence. At the Law Office of Marcia I. Perez, I help people file California battered spousal visa petitions to protect their immigration status and escape the abusive relationship. No one should have to stay married and abused just to receive an immigration benefit. Contact my San Francisco office online or call toll free at 888-712-4012 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
Men as Victims of Domestic Violence
There is a myth that men cannot be abused. This in not true. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is not only for women. In the United States all persons must be treated equally, so laws that protect women also must protect men. Because there are not many places a man can turn to, I have created a specialty of representing men in abusive relationships. For many men it is almost forbidden to speak about women abusing them. Because of cultural reasons, many men are too embarrassed to approach such subjects. I break that barrier and find relief for you from that abusive relationship and in your immigration case. If you are a man and your spouse currently hits you, spits on you, uses your child as a weapon against you, threatens you with deportation or taking your child away, verbally and mentally abuses you then you are in an abusive relationship and may qualify for VAWA immigration relief.
The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer
Many of the clients who would be protected by VAWA don’t realize they qualify. Victims of physical or mental abuse, both men and women, may be reluctant to consider themselves as abused. If your spouse has taken steps to isolate you from friends and family, called you names, physically attacked you, or engaged in other destructive behavior against your person, you may qualify for protection under VAWA. H-4 visa holders are particularly prone to isolating behavior, as they are prevented from working as part of the immigration status. VAWA cases are complicated and require much documentation. As an experienced San Francisco Violence Against Women Act attorney, I can guide you through the process and fight for your right to be free from an abusive situation. There are many excellent non-profits that can help you for free if you financially qualify. You can conduct a search online to find the agency nearest you. Many non-profit agencies are overwhelmed and may have a waiting list. Some do not offer personalized and individual case management, private attorney representation or may not offer services to men. If you feel you need a more thorough and individualized VAWA filing, please contact me.
U Visas for Victims of Violent Crime
In addition to helping abused spouses file for protection, I help people seeking a U visa as crime victims. In some instances of domestic violence the abuser is not a U.S. citizen or the abused victim is not married to the abuser, in these cases the victim does not qualify for VAWA protection. However, there is relief under the U visa statutes. If you are victim of domestic violence, regardless of the abusers legal and marital status, you may qualify for a U visa if you report the crime to the police. Unlike VAWA, the crime must be reported and contact with the local police must be initiated. Other U qualifying crimes include murder, felonious assault kidnapping, rape, abusive sexual contact, blackmail, extortion, and conspiracy or attempting any of the above crimes. The U visa includes derivatives like the parents and siblings of an underage victim, as well as the spouse and children of an adult victim.
These visas are intended to allow people to live and work in the United States in exchange for participating in the criminal process. After three years the victim can apply for residency. You must be willing to actively assist the police in their investigation of the crime, as well as testifying in court about the crime, to get a U visa. The person need not be convicted (found guilty) of the crime or even arrested, the fact that it was reported and the local police sign off on the I-918 petition is enough to initiate the U visa process. These visas are rare and it is vital to have an aggressive and knowledgeable attorney on your side to maximize your chances of receiving protection. The law enforcement agency involved in the criminal case must sign off on your petition and many are reluctant to do so. An aggressive attorney must be persuasive and persistent to make it happen. In one case that I handled, the Wichita Police Department in Kansas would not sign the initial U visa certification. I called everyday until the police officer in charge agreed to do so. He was annoyed and frustrated with me but respected my drive and diligence to get the certification signed. He finally gave in to get rid of me and we laughed about it.