10 February 2006
A Russian mother and son were granted adjustment of status this week in Newark, pending security checks, on the basis of self-petitions filed under The Violence Against Women’s Act, (VAWA).
VAWA was enacted to protect spouses of US Citizens and their children from abuse at the hands of their spouses. Specifically, many foreign people, who marry US Citizens are particularly vulnerable to physical and emotional abuse by their spouses. Often the alien spouse is beaten and abused under threat of being arrested deported should he or she go to the authorities.
In the case at hand a Russian mother and her teenage son were living in the United States, when she met, fell in love with, and married a United States citizen. As is often the pattern, during the courtship, the Citizen was charming, caring and loving. However, once the marriage took place, the Citizen husband became hostile, threatening and physically abusive to both his wife and her son. Both were terrified, and took no action until finally seeking legal counsel secretly.
After being informed of their rights, the next time the abusive spouse attacked them both, the mother called the police and was granted a temporary retraining order, which was later made permanent after a hearing in family court.
Then the mother and son filed ?Special Immigrant Petitions? under VAWA, with the Immigration Service.
After proving that:
1. She was in a bona fide marriage to a US Citizen; and
2. She and her son had been abused and or subject to extreme cruelty at the hands of the US Citizen,
The Battered Spouse Petition was approved and the two filed for adjustment of status based upon that approval. Seven months later, the adjustment of status interview was conducted and they were approved pending the clearance of their security checks, which have been delayed in most cases.
The Violence Against Women’s act is often the only avenue available to alien spouses and children who are trapped in abusive relationships. Moreover, despite the laws name, CELLA & ASSOCIATES has also successfully prosecuted VAWA cases wherein the victim of abuse was actually the alien husband.