It can be very scary to experience abuse as an immigrant or refugee to the U.S. You may feel:
- Afraid to reach out for help because you fear deportation.
- Alone and isolated because you are not familiar with the language or culture.
- Dependent upon your partner to stay in this country, especially if you are in the U.S. through a visa they helped obtain.
- Confused about what resources are available to you.
- Afraid that you may lose your children if you reach out for help.
Regardless of your immigration status, you can always reach out to LifeWire for help. We do not share immigration status with any government agencies.
Legal protections exist for immigrants
There are several laws that protect immigrants who have experienced domestic violence from abuse and deportation.
- The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows an abused spouse, child, or parent of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to seek safety and independence from their abuser.
- If you already have a green card through marriage, you may be able to apply for a Battered Spouse Waiver. Survivors who apply for the waiter must prove the legitimacy of the marriage and show that physical abuse or extreme cruelty has taken place.
- The U Visa offers relief to survivors of domestic violence and other crimes—including trafficking, prostitution, and stalking—who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in investigating or prosecuting their abuser.
We strongly recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer familiar with VAWA to see if you qualify for these or other forms of immigration relief.
Eastside Legal Assistance Program: Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) is a non-profit organization that provides high-quality, no-cost civil legal services to survivors of domestic violence throughout King County and low-income residents of East and Northeast King County.
NorthWest Immigrant Rights Project: NWIRP supports low-income immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees, regardless of immigration status.
If you need help or resources, call our 24-Hour Helpline at 425-746-1940.