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We represent individuals, families and businesses that are dealing with a range of immigration issues.

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Legal immigration to the U.S. has always been complicated. Applicants are required to fill out and submit endless forms and documentation, and a series of interviews is typically necessary. If even one piece of information is missing or incorrect, a process that already requires several years may require even more time.

The process is a particularly arduous one for women, men, and children who are living in an abusive household or trying to escape such a household. In the 1990s, then-Senator Joe Biden and President Bill Clinton worked to enact a law that became known as the Violence Against Women Act or VAWA. The law provided for harsher sentences for people convicted of crimes against women while also establishing programs to assist the victims of domestic violence.

Initially, VAWA applied only to American citizens. People soon realized that immigrant women needed similar protections. Many of them were being sponsored for immigration by a family member, and therefore felt that they were trapped in an abusive, and possibly life-threatening, relationship. Frequently, women were threatened by abusers with deportation or loss of a relationship with their children if they left the abusive relationship.

Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act 

VAWA amended this act to provide processes through which the victims of abuse could petition for legal residency without having to tell their abusers about their plans. A self-petition for permanent residence was a safe way for domestic violence victims to escape their situation and legally remain in the U.S., frequently with their children.

Are You Eligible for Protection Under VAWA? 

Either abused female or male relatives of green card holders or U.S. citizens may be eligible for VAWA protection. In fact, spouses, parents, and children all may qualify under the program, which means that they can stay together and remain in the U.S. without having to live or be in contact with their abuser.

Turn to Ferrer Shane Gonzalez 

If you’re in an abusive relationship and are seeking a way to legally remain in the United States, then you need an attorney to provide you with legal advice. Protections are available to you under the law, and the practitioners at Ferrer Shane Gonzalez are familiar with all of these. This means that they can inform you of your rights and help you to obtain them.

As with all immigration proceedings, applying for protection under the Violence Against Women Act is complicated. A mistake in the paperwork can set your application back for months. It is always advisable to rely on the experience of a trusted Miami immigration attorney, especially when your safety, and that of your children, is at stake.

Contact Ferrer Shane Gonzalez today to schedule a consultation regarding the Violence Against Women Act and how it can help you to legally remain in the U.S. The law applies to both men and women and to traditional and gay marriages. Don’t let your abuser lead you to believe that the law won’t protect you. Ask an attorney about your options.