We just received an I-485 approval for one of our long-time clients from Newport Beach. We have represented her for three years, and her long road to permanent residency has finally come to an end. We filed the I-360 under the Violence Against Women Act in 2011 after our client fled an abusive relationship with an American Citizen. The Vermont Service Center processed the case, and after eighteen months or so, we received an approval for the I-360. The I-485 application for permanent residency that we filed with the I-360 was transferred to the local Santa Ana field office for the adjustment of status interview.
If an alien is the victim of domestic abuse or extreme mental cruelty, he or she may be eligible to receive a protection from deportation (and work authorization) under the Violence Against Women Act. In order to receive an approval of the I-360, the alien must prove that s/he is or was married to a US citizen or permanent resident, was the victim of physical abuse or extreme mental cruelty, and the marriage was entered into in good faith. Proving abuse and/or cruelty can be a difficult task, but police reports, restraining orders and conviction records help a great deal. In the present case, we did not have any police reports or conviction records. We were able to provide a temporary restraining order.
In some cases, the VAWA self-petitioner will be eligible to receive a green card based on the domestic violence. Prior deportations, criminal convictions and other problems could prevent the VAWA applicant from becoming a permanent resident.
At the interview in Santa Ana, everything went smoothly. The officer, who I’ve worked with many times over the years, was polite and considerate with my client. He understood that she had been through a lot over the last few years, and he was kind and gentle with her. When he announced the the green card would be approved, my client broke down in tears. She had been waiting for this day for a long time. She was unable to visit her home in Mexico for many years because she feared she would not be able to return to the US. During that time, many close family members passed away. Helping clients like this is why I became an immigration attorney.
After the interview, I explained that she would be eligible to naturalize as a US citizen in three years, and she was excited to move forward with that process. If you are the victim of domestic violence and an alien, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. We have handled many VAWA cases over the years, and we’ve developed a firm understanding of the laws and regulations associated with domestic violence cases. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will meet with you during a confidential consultation so both of us can learn more and figure out if VAWA is a viable option for you.