Protection Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

For many years, foreign-born spouses (mostly wives) of U.S. citizens faced a common trap: They could either put up with abuse, knowing that if they spoke up, their U.S. citizen spouse would likely stop supporting their application for a U.S. green card, leading to their deportation and possible separation from their children; or they could speak up and face dire immigration consequences.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed in 2005, attempted to remedy this problem. It gives battered spouses the right to self-petition and handle their own immigration applications.

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