This factsheet provides basic information on various immigration remedies available to victims of domestic violence and/or certain other crimes, including sexual abuse, child abuse or human trafficking. This factsheet covers:
  • A general overview of American legal immigration concepts and definition of terms
  • A general description of how people obtain legal status in the U.S. and how deportation or removal fits into the process
  • How marriage and divorce are related to immigration status
  • Specific protections in immigration law for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
  • How advocates can help victims in the immigration process
The information conveyed in this factsheet is intended only to assist in exploring options with non-citizen immigrants, and is not a substitute for individual advice from an experienced attorney.

Related Resources

Advisory Revised Aug 2019: How Will ‘Public Charge’ Proposed Policy Changes Impact Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a final rule, published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2019, which significantly changes longstanding policy about the meaning and application of the “public charge” inadmissibility provisions of immigration law. According to DHS, this is to ensure that non-citizens “who are admitted to the United States, seek extension of stay or change of status, or apply for adjustment of status will be self-sufficient, i.e., will rely on their financial resources, as well as the financial resources of the family, sponsors, and private organizations.”

Advisory: How Do Recent HUD Proposed Rules About Verification of Immigration Status Impact Survivors of Domestic & Sexual Assault?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed regulations that change longstanding policy relating to immigration status verification requirements and disallowing those ineligible for federal housing assistance (i.e., members of “mixed-status” households) from residing in HUD’s public and specified assisted housing programs. This advisory describes impacts of the proposed rule on immigrant survivors of violence

May 2019 Advocate & Legal Services Findings: Immigrant Survivors Fear Reporting Violence

In May 2019, a coalition of national organizations gathered feedback from nearly six hundred advocates and attorneys from across the United States, learning that many immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence are now too afraid to call the police or go to court to get help. The advocates report that survivors have an increased fear of deportation, retaliation by their abusers, and separation from their children.

API-GBV June 2017
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