Immigrant women who marry U.S. citizens or legal residents are eligible to apply for legal immigration status. Unfortunately, some women find themselves trapped by abusive husbands who may refuse to help them and even hold their lack of immigration documents as a threat –‘if you dare complain about the abuse, I’ll call immigration on you.’ Women stuck in such abusive relationships are often isolated and indigent and live in fear of being deported and separated from their children. It takes tremendous courage on their part to contact Las Americas and seek a better future for themselves and their children.
Las Americas has currently about 70 open cases involving abused women. Through the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, we can request legal permanent residency status and even suspend deportation proceedings for battered spouses and children, without the help or knowledge of the abuser.