Are you in a Toxic Relationship with your U.S. spouse or Permanent Resident?  If so, fortunately there is the VAWA Law that can protect you. VAWA stands for Violence Against Women Act.  This act protects both men and women who have been victims of domestic violence.  The VAWA Act allows you to apply for Permanent Residence based on Physical or Psychological Abuse.  Here are some examples of Psychological Abuse that may qualify you  for VAWA:

1. Your spouse yells at you, humiliates you, and makes you feel less about being an immigrant. 

2. Your spouse does not want to help you obtain Permanent Residence

3. Your spouse threatens to report you to Immigration.

4. Your spouse controls your calls, messages or friends

5. You cannot leave the house without their permission.

If you feel as if you are in a VAWA situation with your spouse, what should you do?
1. Gather as much evidence as possible. Save texts, take video of interactions (check your local laws, but in Texas, only one party has to have knowledge of a recording taking place), take pictures of any bruising, etc.
2. Tell your doctor. It is imperative that you let a medical professional know that any injuries were caused by your spouse.
3. Make a police report. Often victims of domestic violence are scared to report the violence to the police, for fear of retaliation from the perpetrator. However, these reports can make great evidence for your VAWA case. 

4. Tell a friend, neighbor, family member, or pastor. Domestic violence is not always physical and cannot always be seen with pictures. Too often, victims of domestic violence keep in emotional or verbal abuse. It can be vitally important for your case to talk about this abuse with members of the community who would be trusted by the court.

5. Call an immigration lawyer and set up a consultation.

Whether your evidence is gathered or not, it’s important to reach out to an immigration law firm that is experienced with helping immigrants on a path to citizenship who have been a victim of domestic violence. If you feel like you or someone you know may qualify for VAWA, or for any other immigration related questions, contact us by phone seven days a week at 361-LUV-4USA (or you can text with Maria in our immigration department at 361-885-2883. Se habla espanol.