It is extremely difficult for a man who is trapped in an abusive relationship to come to terms with what is happening to them. When we think of abusive relationships, most imagine a woman as the victim and to think that a man is the subject of abuse is sometimes hard to comprehend. Throw immigration status into the equation and it’s easy to get lost and feel hopeless.
It can be difficult for a man to admit they are in an abusive relationship, or they may not even realize they are in an abusive relationship. Some signs that you are in an abusive relationship include when your partner: verbally abuses, belittles you, humiliates you, harasses you with accusations of being unfaithful, tries to control where you go and who you see, manipulates you into doing things in order to control your immigration status, or controls how you spend money.
If your spouse never filed for your permanent resident status or you have a case pending with your spouse, you should consider filing a self-petition, a case on your own under the Violence Against Women Act so you can take your wife’s unpredictable behavior out of your case. A divorced spouse who was subject to extreme cruelty from his or her legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen spouse may apply for a confidential immigrant visa as an abused spouse (eventually leading to a green card) if the petition is filed within the two years following any final divorce decree. Even if you entered the U.S. illegally, have worked in the U.S. illegally, or are now divorced, this may still be an option for you.
The requirements for a VAWA or abused spouse immigrant visa are:
VAWA cases for men can be difficult to document as men do not usually go to the police and actually have police reports filed against them in many circumstances by their vindictive or a bit crazy or unhinged spouses. We have seen many cases where the spouse threatens to call the police and lie about the immigrant spouse to the police as a way to keep the spouse quiet about any abuse or any financial extortion. Regardless, we have been highly successful in approved our cases for men has we take the extra time to strategize with our clients and help them locate potential witnesses and evidence that may not be typical in abused spouse cases to document what happened to them.
Why go through all of this? If you receive an approved VAWA immigrant visa petition, you can receive a work permit, deferred action, and a clear route to U.S. permanent residency without your spouse’s involvement, knowledge, or fear of her sabotage of your case. If you are married to an abusive U.S. citizen, you may be able to apply for your green card, work permit, and a VAWA case all at the same time to get your work permit even faster.
We understand it can be difficult to talk about the abuse you have gone through, but we are sensitive to your needs and are here to help.