Article 3: by Rev Wambui Njoroge, M. Sci
Call it domestic violence or wife beating or by any other name, it is still abuse and it is a crime. The Lord declares that He has good plans for the immigrant.To give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon him, and go and pray to the Lord and He will listen to you (Jeremiah 29:11-12) paraphrased
If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, access help-The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.7233-Available 24/7/365 Days. From my heart and notes, DV is not love in any language straight from the heart, or freely expressed. DV is a crime. No woman or man deserves to be abused for any reason. If you are a victim of DV, it is not your fault. Know that you are not alone. You owe it to yourself and to minor children under your care to be safe from DV.
Read Article 1 about signs of abuse. Article 2 describes various ways immigration issues are used by the abuser and how an American Dream can become a total nightmare. DV is a sensitive issue and should not be used to threaten any man or woman. Every individual even an immigrant has the right to live free of fear from DV. My fellow friends in Diaspora, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Where Wife Beating Ended-By 1920 wife beating was made illegal in all of the United States. Advocacy against wife beating regained popularity in the 1970s alongside women’s movement with feminism. Some individuals who get upset with the feminist movement are quite right about that, but it is too late in the day. Wife beating the way it was known is now illegal. Therefore, in US wife beating and DV are synonymous with DV. If you are an immigrant in USA, and your culture endorses wife beating, welcome to good old USA. You can no longer abuse a woman or a man, that is considering some men are abused as well. Its is against the law. You can serve time in jail or prison. It is not if your secret cycle of abuse will become known, it is when. Unfortunately when this happens, information about adults, sometimes is published in social media. Don’t wait until then. There is intervention for the victim and for the abuser to learn how to cope with life issues.
Immigration Options: Here are Immigration options that are available. Notice that the current administration stand on immigration issues is changing fast. Funding for some of these programs are dwindling, or might be withdrawn without notice. Therefore, it is highly recommend that you consult a certified immigration attorney in your state before taking some drastic measures concerning your options.
VAWA-Violence Against Women Act/You can self petition independent of the abuser even if he/she sponsored you for a Green Card (GC)/ Abused men in sticky immigration situations can apply too. I met one young man who heard me speak against DV. He educated me on the fact that because he was being abused economically and emotionally, he had to leave the abusive relationship and self petition for his GC. He was eligible and he got it.
Married Person/If you are married to a US Citizen or GC holder regardless of spouse nationality, even from your home country, you can Self Petition without the knowledge or cooperation of your abuser.
Divorced Person/If you are divorced from a US Citizen or a GC holder for less than 2 years, you might qualify to Self Petition for Permanent Residency. If it is past 2 years, consult with a Certified Immigration Attorney.
Deportation Process/You might be able to apply for cancellation of removal if DV is involved.
You Are a Conditional GC Holder/You might qualify for “Battered Spouse Waiver” to obtain a GC (this is what the gentleman I met qualified for).
Not Married/Your abuser is not a citizen, is not a GC holder, but you are a victim of DV, say from an intimate partner. You might qualify for a U-Visa. This is a 3-year visa for victims of Crime. However, understand that to qualify for a U-Visa, you will be expected to cooperate with law enforcement in prosecuting your abuser.
Gender Based Asylum/ If you can show evidence that you came to USA to escape from abuse in your home country. If you can prove that you are afraid of gender based violence should you return to your country. You might be eligible for a GC.
Newly Arrived In USA and a Victim of Abuse: Immediately upon arrival, you should report that you are escaping Domestic violence in your country. Some countries, say Kenya do have a way of victims reporting abuse. So you will likely have evidence or a person that was known to be abused by her spouse and has friends in the USA who can testify. May have even written letters. In one case, the victim had letters from the husband threatening her.
Adult Children & US Citizen/21 year old biological or legally adopted child can petition for a parent who might be afraid to report abuse. This may even speed the process. This is an all around option, meaning it is one way of obtaining GC in the absence of abuse.
For all immigration options, be honest in all your dealings and your reporting.Tell the truth nothing but the truth so help you God. An Attorney presenting a workshop said that one of the greatest hindrances in an immigration case is individuals who lie about their situation. How can an immigrant expect to have confidentiality with an Attorney they have lied to? In this age of technology, telling lies might fail the test.
If your life is in danger or you are in crisis, do not hesitate to call 911. It is better to be wrong than to be sorry. You have only one life to live or to loose and that is your life. You owe it to yourself. One life lost because of DV is one life too many. There are people who care for you and your family. You are not alone even though it feels like you are alone. Help is available.
In the State of GA/1-800-33-HAVEN/1.800.334.2836 DV hotline will connect a person with the Criminal justice Coordinating Council, certified shelters. Different states have a different number to connect a person to the system. To report abuse of seniors (65+) contact Adult Protective Services by calling 911. Hope this information is helpful in protecting women and men who are being abused.
Isaiah 60:18 “No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls salvation and your gates praise.”
Read more and learn about legal services available for victims, for example shelters, Temporary Protective Order, Criminal Charges, Public Benefits:
Disclaimer: This information is to help you seek assistance regarding any of the above options. You are encouraged to consult with a Certified Immigration Attorney. If you cannot afford one, let your local DV Agency know.