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  • The battered immigrant has 2 year conditional residence. Proof of abuse required. Must prove that the marriage was valid. Divorce does not bar applying for a waiver of the joint petitioning requirement Abusive spouse does not need to sign any papers or appear at any interview with INS Battered immigrants do not have to wait two years to get lawful permanent residency.

    1. 1. Immigration and Family Law Child Custody and Domestic Violence Institute Chicago, Illinois May 12, 2006
    2. 2. Ana and Jorge Case Hypothetical <ul><li>What, if any, immigration relief might Ana be eligible for and what can you do to help her with her immigration case? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the issues that might arise in custody case between Ana and Jorge and how will you advise Ana? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the ideal team of people who could work together to help Ana? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Immigration Law Options for Abused Immigrants
    4. 4. Potential Immigration Legal Remedies <ul><li>Applications filed with DHS/CIS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VAWA self petition (Form I-360) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Battered spouse waivers (Form I-751) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>U visa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T visa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Asylum and withholding of removal (Form I-589) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forms of relief from removal- granted by Immigration Judge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VAWA cancellation of removal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VAWA suspension of deportation </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. VAWA Self-Petitioning Requirements
    6. 6. General VAWA Self-Petitioning Requirements <ul><li>VAWA self-petitioner must have been: </li></ul><ul><li>Subjected to Battery or Extreme Cruelty </li></ul><ul><li>By a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse, parent, adult son/daughter (over 21) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-petition must be filed within 2 years of date of dissolution judgment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>With Whom self-petitioner resided (no time period required) </li></ul><ul><li>Good Moral Character </li></ul><ul><li>Good Faith Marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Prima Facie Determination = Public Benefits </li></ul>
    7. 7. Proof of Legal Marriage <ul><li>Proof of prior divorces of both parties </li></ul><ul><li>Common law marriages are valid if valid under state family code (e.g., TX, IA) </li></ul><ul><li>Bigamy by abuser will not bar filing if </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good faith intent by self-petitioner; AND </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wedding ceremony </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Good faith marriage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not entered into solely for immigration purposes </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Extreme Cruelty <ul><li>Emotional Abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Sex Abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Coercion </li></ul><ul><li>Threats of deportation </li></ul><ul><li>Physical abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Intimidation </li></ul><ul><li>Social Isolation </li></ul><ul><li>Humiliation, insults </li></ul><ul><li>Possessiveness, stalking </li></ul><ul><li>Harm to pets </li></ul><ul><li>Minimizing, Denying & Blaming </li></ul>
    9. 9. Evidence <ul><li>Any credible evidence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-petitioner’s declaration = primary evid. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corroborative evidence not required </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extreme cruelty or battery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Other persons’ declarations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Restraining order </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Medical records </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Police reports, criminal prosecution records </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mental health, religious/clergy, DV service providers </li></ul></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Immigrant Crime Victim Visas (“U”)
    11. 11. Crime Victim (“U”) Visa Requirements <ul><li>Substantial physical or emotional abuse from criminal activity </li></ul><ul><li>Possesses information about criminal activity </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal activity must have occurred in U.S. or otherwise violate U.S. law </li></ul><ul><li>Certification from government official that victim has been, is likely to be or is being helpful to an </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Investigation or prosecution of criminal activity </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Who can certify? (may be altered after promulgation of U visa regulations) <ul><li>Police officer </li></ul><ul><li>Prosecutor </li></ul><ul><li>Judge </li></ul><ul><li>Immigration Officer </li></ul><ul><li>State or Federal Agency Employee </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Child Protection Services Worker </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EEOC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VOCA staff </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. “U” visa crimes covered <ul><li>Rape </li></ul><ul><li>Torture </li></ul><ul><li>Trafficking </li></ul><ul><li>Incest </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic violence </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual assault </li></ul><ul><li>Prostitution </li></ul><ul><li>FGM </li></ul><ul><li>Being held hostage </li></ul><ul><li>Peonage </li></ul><ul><li>Involuntary servitude </li></ul><ul><li>Slave trade </li></ul><ul><li>Kidnapping </li></ul><ul><li>Abduction </li></ul><ul><li>False Imprisonment </li></ul>
    14. 14. Crimes Covered -- Continued <ul><li>Blackmail </li></ul><ul><li>Extortion </li></ul><ul><li>Manslaughter </li></ul><ul><li>Murder </li></ul><ul><li>Felonious assault </li></ul><ul><li>Witness tampering </li></ul><ul><li>Obstruction of justice </li></ul><ul><li>Perjury or </li></ul><ul><li>Attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of these crimes </li></ul>
    15. 15. Persons who will be helped <ul><li>Victims of rape and sexual assault </li></ul><ul><li>Abused immigrants who are not covered by VAWA – i.e. spouses of non-citizens, dating violence victims, lesbian/gay victims. </li></ul><ul><li>Nanny held hostage by employers </li></ul><ul><li>Victims subjected to rape/sexual assault by their employers or coworkers </li></ul><ul><li>Trafficking and forced prostitution victims </li></ul><ul><li>Victims of FGM committed in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Abused wives/children of Diplomats/students/workers </li></ul><ul><li>Non-citizens subject to slave labor </li></ul><ul><li>Victims of many violent crimes </li></ul>
    16. 16. Civil Protection Orders and Battered Immigrants
    17. 17. Protective Effect of Protection Order <ul><li>Work better when abuser non-citizen </li></ul><ul><li>Changing the balance of power in the relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Violation of protection order deportable offense </li></ul><ul><li>Enforcement for CPO violations occurring outside the country </li></ul>
    18. 18. Protection Order Effectiveness <ul><li>NIJ study participants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>37% threatened or injured with a weapon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50% beaten or choked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>99% intimidated through stalking, threats, harassment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Simple act of receiving CPO improved sense of victim’s well-being </li></ul><ul><ul><li>72% improved lives after 1 month </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After 6 months </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>80% felt safer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>85% life improved </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>90% felt better about themselves </li></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Creative Remedies What are some examples of creative protection order remedies you have used in your cases
    20. 20. Protection Order Provisions that Deter Parental Kidnapping <ul><li>Not remove the children from the court’s jurisdiction </li></ul><ul><li>Turn over passports of parties and/or children </li></ul><ul><li>Sign statement that no visa or passport should be issued to children absent court order. </li></ul><ul><li>Supervised visitation </li></ul><ul><li>Bond </li></ul>
    21. 21. Creative Remedies in Protection Orders <ul><li>Catch-all Provisions for CPOs -- Respondent Shall: </li></ul><ul><li>sign DHS Freedom of Information Act request </li></ul><ul><li>pay costs of petitioner’s immigration case </li></ul><ul><li>turn over to petitioner information, documents, or copies of documents </li></ul>
    22. 22. A protection order or discovery can help a victim obtain needed evidence : <ul><li>Marriage certificate </li></ul><ul><li>Wedding/family pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Birth certificates </li></ul><ul><li>Love letters </li></ul><ul><li>Copies of joint leases/utility bills </li></ul><ul><li>Police, medical, court documents about the relationship, </li></ul><ul><li>Copy of abuser’s green card or passport </li></ul>
    23. 23. Protection order or discovery continued <ul><li>School records </li></ul><ul><li>Medical records </li></ul><ul><li>Employment records </li></ul><ul><li>Social security number information </li></ul><ul><li>Health insurance </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s birth certificates </li></ul><ul><li>Letters and other mail addressed to the victim and to the abuser at the same address </li></ul><ul><li>Copy of I-130 petition </li></ul>
    24. 24. Catch-all Provisions for CPOs-- Respondent Shall: <ul><li>not contact DHS/other government official about the petitioner absent permission of the court </li></ul><ul><li>cooperate in and not withdraw any case he has filed for petitioner with DHS </li></ul><ul><li>For abusers who filed immigration case, not withdraw and not revoke the immigration case for their spouse or children </li></ul>
    25. 25. Catch-all Provisions Continued <ul><li>Defendant must obtain prior court approval before contacting any government agency (CPS, DHS, Welfare etc.) concerning the petitioner except </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Police emergency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subpoena </li></ul></ul><ul><li>cooperate in and not withdraw any case he has filed for petitioner with DHS </li></ul>
    26. 26. Importance of Remedies That Curb Immigration Related Abuse <ul><li>Curbs lethality </li></ul><ul><li>Ordering abuser not to contact immigration authorities consistent with federal VAWA confidentiality laws </li></ul><ul><li>Order controls abuser’s behavior in using immigration status as power and control – not his speech </li></ul>
    27. 27. Victims who stay <ul><li>Protection orders can be issued in all states to offer protections to immigrant victims who stay with their abusers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No abuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Counseling </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can ask for protection order provisions that gives victim custody if they separate </li></ul>
    28. 28. Overcoming the “she must leave him” presumption <ul><li>Abused immigrant must choose if, when, and under what conditions to leave abusive home. She knows him best. </li></ul><ul><li>May take many (average 7) attempts before she permanently leaves abuser </li></ul><ul><li>Leaving abuser can be extremely dangerous. Highest rates of DV homicide correspond with efforts to leave abuser and/or access help. </li></ul>
    29. 29. Overcoming the “she must leave him” presumption- Continued <ul><li>Legal system, service providers, community-based organizations, religious institutions must support abused immigrant, regardless of whether she leaves or stays with abuser </li></ul><ul><li>Leaving abuser may not be option </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Homelessness, poverty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loss of immigration status </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. Important Economic Provisions <ul><li>Maintain medical, car, house insurance </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain mortgage, rent, utility and/or debt payments </li></ul><ul><li>Child support and spousal support </li></ul><ul><li>Injunctions against third party institutions not to respond to acts by the abuser that would harm her(banks, retirement funds, utility companies) </li></ul>
    31. 31. What can you do to obtain the highest amount of support? <ul><li>Send Employer’s Statement </li></ul><ul><li>Send Employer’s Affidavit </li></ul><ul><li>Obtain tax returns </li></ul><ul><li>With FOIA obtain Affidavit of Support filed with petition I-130 </li></ul><ul><li>Request both child support and spousal support </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure pleadings always include request for retroactive and arrearage child support and that final orders include the award </li></ul><ul><li>Always obtain Writ of Withholding </li></ul>
    32. 32. Economic Relief Continued <ul><li>Turn over income tax statements (subpoena before hearing) </li></ul><ul><li>Protective provisions regarding income tax returns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Victim named trustee for receipt of tax return funds, respondent ordered to sign check </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Victim awarded exclusive right to claim children as tax exemptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respondent pays victim ½ of return </li></ul></ul>
    33. 33. Helping Victim Document Violations To Enhance Probability of Success in Future Enforcement
    34. 34. Myth: Issuance of a Protection Order Will Result in Abuser’s Deportation <ul><li>Issuance of Protection Order ≠ abuser’s deportation </li></ul><ul><li>Violation of protection order is a deportable offense </li></ul>
    35. 35. Post Protective Order Safety Planning <ul><li>Explain the importance of having a copy of order at all times, at school, daycare, employment, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Victim must still be cautious (be aware of Respondent’s attempts to get victim to rescind/drop order) </li></ul><ul><li>Explain Full Faith and Credit (especially for migrant victims) </li></ul>
    36. 36. Empowering Victim to Decide Whether or Not to Enforce <ul><li>Explain all ramifications of enforcement </li></ul><ul><li>Allow victim to decide </li></ul><ul><li>Explore enforcement options </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Civil contempt proceedings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Criminal contempt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Criminal enforcement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>100% enforcement problematic for immigrant victims </li></ul><ul><li>Creative punishment options </li></ul>
    37. 37. Strategies for the Client <ul><li>Call police to report violations even when client is not seeking arrest or other police action </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a journal/calendar of all violations </li></ul><ul><li>Document the impact of the violations on the victim and her children </li></ul>
    38. 38. Strategies for the Client Continued <ul><li>Tell someone else (friend, co-worker, therapist, trusted family member, clergy) </li></ul><ul><li>Take photographs </li></ul><ul><li>Keep letters, e-mails, phone messages </li></ul><ul><li>Report injuries to health professionals </li></ul>
    39. 39. Dangers of CPO Violation Findings and Criminal Convictions for Battered Immigrants
    40. 40. Dangers of Protection Orders Issued Against Immigrant Victims <ul><li>Violation of protection order by non-citizen victim becomes deportable </li></ul>
    41. 41. Criminal Convictions and Protection Order Violations Can <ul><li>Cause Non-citizens to Lose Their Legal Immigration Status </li></ul>
    42. 42. Conviction or Finding of Protection Order Violation Can Cause <ul><li>Lawful permanent residents to loose their green cards </li></ul><ul><li>Denial of naturalization </li></ul><ul><li>Approved VAWA self-petitioner to be denied lawful permanent residency </li></ul><ul><li>Immigration Judge to deny VAWA cancellation </li></ul>
    43. 43. Dangers of Criss-Cross Petitions for Protection Order <ul><li>Violation of a protection order is a deportable offense </li></ul><ul><li>Need for careful interviewing of client to determine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any merit in his charges against her </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-defense </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is the primary perpetrator in the relationship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask about telephone conversations, witnesses, letters, and/or e-mails </li></ul></ul>
    44. 44. Potential Strategies <ul><li>If no validity to his charges or if she acted in self defense </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not consent to issuance of a protection order against the victim </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If abused, file a protection order against him </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be prepared for trial to defend against issuance of the protection order against her. </li></ul></ul>
    45. 45. Potential Strategies For Victims Continued <ul><li>If there are incidents in which she cannot claim self defense and he may be able to prove she committed domestic violence against him </li></ul><ul><ul><li>File other family law pleadings (e.g. divorce or custody before the hearing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not consent to a protection order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instead try to negotiate a form of injunction in the family court case that would not be considered a protection order under state domestic violence statutes </li></ul></ul>
    46. 46. Issues Raised by Abusers in Custody and Protection Order Cases Brought By Immigrant Victims
    47. 47. Myth: No Jurisdiction for Non-Citizen Victim To Bring Family Court Case <ul><li>Immigration status not relevant to establishing jurisdiction in family court cases. Basis for jurisdiction is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protection order case – domestic violence crime committed in state or victim needs protection in state </li></ul></ul>
    48. 48. Jurisdictional basis continued <ul><li>Divorce case – residency of party in state </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal immigration status not required to establish residency under state family laws </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Custody case – home state of children under (UCCJEA and Federal PKPA) </li></ul><ul><li>Child support case – where child or non-custodial parent lives </li></ul>
    49. 49. Equal Protection and Due Process <ul><li>Denying access to the courts to immigrants on immigration status grounds violates equal protection and due process </li></ul><ul><li>Under constitutional law immigrants can be sued and bring suit in U.S. courts </li></ul>
    50. 50. Urging Courts to Be Wary Of Becoming A tool Of Immigration Related Abuse <ul><li>Courts should be wary any time a party raises the immigration status of the opposing party in a family or criminal court case </li></ul><ul><li>Parties may choose to raise issues regarding their own immigration status in a court case </li></ul>
    51. 51. Examples of when raising immigration status may be part of pattern of abuse <ul><li>One party raises immigration status of the opposing party to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevent the court from having jurisdiction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gain advantage in a custody case </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Undermine the opposing party’s credibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exert power and control to gain advantage in settlement or mediation </li></ul></ul>
    52. 52. Examples of when a party may raise their own immigration status <ul><li>In a custody or divorce case to explain: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How their inability to work is tied to their spouse’s immigration related abuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To explain the need for child support, alimony or maintenance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In a custody or child abuse case to demonstrate why they may not have accessed public benefits </li></ul><ul><li>To explain how threats of deportation prevented them from leaving an abuser who controlled her immigration status and that her actions should not be deemed failure to protect </li></ul>
    53. 53. Myth: A State Court Ruling Will Confer An Immigration Benefit On The Victim <ul><li>IIRAIRA 1996 ended the ability of state court judges’ decisions to determine outcomes in immigration cases </li></ul><ul><li>State court findings of residency for family court purposes will not affect an immigration case in any way. </li></ul><ul><li>Granting a protection order or other family or criminal court relief to an immigrant victim will not give her immigration status she would not otherwise qualify for. </li></ul><ul><li>All forms of immigration status’ open to victim require proof of multiple issues of which abuse or the crime is only one </li></ul>
    54. 54. Custody
    55. 55. Immigration Related Abuse and Fear of Losing Custody <ul><li>1 st and 3 rd most reported reasons that immigrant victims stay with abusers </li></ul><ul><li>Victims believe if they seek help the abuser will have them deported and cut them off from access to their children </li></ul>
    56. 56. ABA Center on Children and the Law -- Position <ul><li>“Batterers whose victims are immigrant parents use threats of deportation to avoid criminal prosecution for battering and to shift the focus of family court proceedings away from their violent acts…When the judicial system condones these tactics, children suffer.” </li></ul>
    57. 57. ABA Center on Children and the Law -- Position <ul><li>“Parties should not be able to raise, and courts should not consider, immigration status of domestic violence victims and their children in civil protection order, custody, divorce or child support proceedings.” </li></ul>
    58. 58. ABA Position Continued <ul><li>“This … will ensure that children of immigrant domestic violence victims will benefit from …laws (like presumptions against awarding custody or unsupervised visitation to batterers) in the same manner as all other children.” </li></ul>
    59. 59. Facts: <ul><li>Safety of children is promoted by awarding custody to non-abusive parent without regard to the parent’s immigration status </li></ul><ul><li>Many immigrant victims who come to courts for help will today qualify for legal immigration status through VAWA or the U visa but they may not know it. </li></ul>
    60. 60. If Battered Immigrant Client is VAWA Eligible <ul><li>Consider turning his raising immigration status around against him </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate that she does not have legal immigration status because he never filed immigration papers for her </li></ul><ul><li>Her lack of status is part of his power and control </li></ul>
    61. 61. Litigation Preparation <ul><li>Prior to litigating any custody case or protection order case in which the abuser is likely to contest custody or raise immigration issues </li></ul><ul><li>Determine if client is eligible for any immigration relief due to the domestic violence </li></ul><ul><li>Cross examine abuser regarding use of immigration status to control victim </li></ul>
    62. 62. Myth: Immigration status relevant to custody case because immigrant victim will flee the country with the children <ul><li>Lack of legal immigration status does not mean deportation is eminent </li></ul><ul><li>Legal immigrants and naturalized citizens are more likely to flee with children when </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There have been threats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They are dual nationals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They have the ability to travel freely to and from the US </li></ul></ul>
    63. 63. Court Should Treat This As Any Other Case In Which a Threat of Child Kidnapping is Alleged <ul><li>Rather than allow evidence of immigration status require proof of potential flight with evidence of the victim’s: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Connections to the US </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connections to the home country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plans to leave </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whether she has purchased airline tickets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whether her deportation is imminent </li></ul></ul>
    65. 65. VAWA 2005 and Legal Services Access for Battered Immigrants <ul><li>All legal services programs can use any source of funding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal Services Corporation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VAWA (e.g. LAV, STOP) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Foundation funding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Private funding </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To represent any victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking or other U visa listed crime </li></ul><ul><li>Without asking questions about the victim’s immigration status </li></ul>
    66. 66. Legal Services Must Be Related to the Abuse <ul><li>Types of Services: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obtaining Protection Orders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VAWA Immigration Case or Other Immigration Matters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Divorce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Child Custody </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Child and Spousal Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Housing </li></ul></ul>
    67. 67. Legal Services Must Be Related to the Abuse <ul><li>Types of Services: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abuse and Neglect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Juvenile Proceedings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small claims cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contempt Actions </li></ul></ul>
    68. 68. All Other Non-Citizens Can Receive <ul><li>Brief Services and Consultations by telephone </li></ul><ul><li>Normal Intake and Referral Services </li></ul><ul><li>Programs have been allowed to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deem the client the citizen child in contested domestic violence custody cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Represent battered immigrants in emergency and permanent protection order proceedings </li></ul></ul>