Articles Tagged with Violence Against Women Act

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Immigrants who are facing removal proceedings could attempt to dodge deportation by invoking certain rights. One way for removal proceedings to be held in abeyance would be for a petitioner to invoke the Violence Against Women Act. Under the Violence Against Women Act, battered immigrants could petition for legal status without having to rely on their abusive U.S. spouse or relative to sponsor their Adjustment of Status applications. In spite of the label, the Violence Against Women Act is not exclusively limited to women. Men who have abusive spouses could also petition for legal resident status under the Violence Against Women Act.

One case involving a Nigerian citizen sees the Violence Against Women Act come into play during removal proceedings. Eugene Joseph entered the United States in 1991 and was placed under removal proceedings after he was convicted of theft in Illinois and committing bank fraud. During the proceedings, Joseph did admit to his undocumented status but sought to adjust it into a permanent legal resident status by stating that he was married to a U.S. citizen. During the legal proceedings, Joseph also asked for a waiver of inadmissibility in an attempt to address consequences that came as a result of his criminal activities. Joseph stated that deportation would cause his family to experience “extreme hardship.”

During the hearing, Joseph’s wife came forward and testified on his behalf. Joseph’s wife stated that his deportation would take a financial and emotional toll on their marriage as well as causing an undue amount of suffering to their asthmatic sons. The immigration judge that presided over Joseph’s case concluded that the suffering that would be brought about by his deportation would not be considered excessive when compared against the cases of children whose parents were to be deported from U.S. territory. The Board of Immigration appeals agreed with the immigration judge and upheld the decision.

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Undocumented immigrants residing in the United States face difficult prospects if they are unable to adjust their status into that of a permanent legal resident. Some immigrants resort to attain permanent legal status by filing an I-30 visa petition. An I-30 visa petition or a petition for alien relative allows a United States citizen to establish their relationship with specific alien relatives who intend to immigrate to the U.S. One possible way that an immigrant can file an I-30 visa petition is to marry a U.S. resident. However, this move does not guarantee a smooth path to obtaining a permanent legal resident status.

One of the issues that immigration authorities can bring up to block an I-30 visa petition is marriage fraud. The case of Joel Njoroge Manguriu illustrates this perfectly. Manguriu is a native of Kenya who entered the United States on a student visa. Manguriu went over the allowed length of time that an immigrant can stay in the United States under a student visa. Eventually, he decided to marry a U.S. citizen in an attempt to adjust his status. Manguriu’s wife, Manuelita Lopez, filed an I-30 visa petition on his behalf. After the I-30 visa petition was filed, Manguriu applied for an adjustment of his immigrant status.

Immigration authorities reviewed Manguriu’s application. Manguriu’s request was denied on the grounds of marriage fraud. Manguriu’s case took a turn for the worst when the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against him. Manguriu sought to evade the proceedings by filing a petition through the Violence Against Women Act. Manguriu claimed that his spouse was abusive. The immigration judge presiding over his case decided to halt the removal proceedings and his VAWA petition was approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. After the USCIS approved Manguriu’s VAWA petition, he asked the immigration judge to adjust his immigrant status to that of a permanent legal resident of the U.S.

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