Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), certain immigrant spouses and children in removal proceedings may apply permanent residence through VAWA cancellation of removal. Immigrant women and children are more likely to experience abuse and exploitation while entering the U.S., working or at home. Therefore Federal Law has created various forms of protection for these victims. Many immigrant victims face threats to deportation especially if their immigration status depends on their abusive spouse or parent(s) through the family-based immigration system.
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VAWA cancellation of removal is designed to stop removal proceedings for victims of abuse by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. If successful, cancellation of removal results in lawful permanent resident status for the victim(s). In order to qualify for this type of relief, you, the immigrant victim, must be able to prove:
- That you have been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent;
- That you have been physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of 3 years or more prior to your VAWA application and the issue of the Notice to Appear (NTA);
- That you have been a person of good moral character during the past 3 years;
- That your removal would cause extreme hardship to you, your children or your parents;
- That certain inadmissibility grounds (criminal convictions, etc.) do not apply to you.
If your application is granted, you will obtain lawful permanent residence in the U.S. Usually, the most difficult thing to prove is that you would suffer extreme hardship if you were not permitted to remain in the U.S. This is why having an experienced immigration lawyer to represent you in removal proceedings is very important.
If your application is denied, you may be ordered removed from the United States by an Immigration Judge. If so, you can appeal the denial to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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