Andrea first came to the United States in early 2018 on a work visa. While working, she met John. The relationship was fast-paced, and not long after they began dating, Andrea discovered she was pregnant. After their daughter Jane was born, John demanded Andrea quit her job to stay home and care for Jane full-time.
Not wanting to make waves, Andrea agreed and consequently lost her work visa. Having no lawful status and left jobless, Andrea became entirely dependent on John. At first, John would leave Andrea with money to buy necessities, but this happened with less and less frequency to the point that Andrea would often go without food herself so she could buy Jane’s necessities like diapers and formula. Whenever Andrea would bring up the fact that she needed food or money, it would result in John exploding and leaving Andrea and the baby alone at the apartment for days without access to a car, phone, or money.
In mid-2019, Andrea made the decision to leave John, for her own safety and Jane’s. John had begun to push Andrea and physically hurt her. He would also threaten Andrea with deportation, and recently he had tried to take Jane away while intoxicated. Andrea was terrified – she believed that if it came to it, custody would automatically go to John since he was a US citizen and she was not. She took Jane and fled.
With the help of local police, Andrea was able to reach out to WTLC and get connected to our Legal Advocacy program. Upon arrival, Andrea was educated on her rights by a legal advocate, who also helped her apply for a restraining order against John, custody of their daughter, and VAWA status. Through these actions, Andrea was able to obtain her permanent residence card. Now Andrea lives a life free from the fear of deportation and her ex-husband, and is working toward a brighter future for her daughter.
WTLC provides free immigration assistance to victims of crime such as domestic violence, human trafficking, and elder abuse. Survivors can receive assistance with applying for immigration protections such as a U-Visa or T-Visa. Survivors of domestic violence who are the child, parent, or current/former spouse of US citizen or permanent resident who caused them harm may be eligible to receive assistance to self-petition for permanent resident status under VAWA.
For more information regarding WTLC’s Legal Advocacy Program, please contact our helpline at 1-877-531-5522.