Fadi Kayyali, founder of the nonprofit organization VAWA Law, has been involved in work to help those needing protection via the Violence Against Women Act since 2004. Often abusive husbands may use their wives’ immigration status as a means of control, threatening to call immigration authorities for deportation. There is a great need for this kind of organization which is specifically for immigrant women, who are particularly vulnerable.

VAWA Law helps immigrants who are domestic abuse survivors to find resources such as state and local government assistance, shelter, medical, and protection from deportation, a major concern in recent years.

“Practical help for those traumatized during a critical time is one of the best things about VAWA Law,” says Kayyali. “If a woman finds herself in a dangerous situation the best option is VAWA.”

The T Visa (which is reserved for victims of human trafficking) is not as good of an option compared to VAWA in domestic abuse cases.

Although VAWA Law does not offer legal assistance, the organization assists with and submits the necessary paperwork for VAWA. The organization helps women find government resources such as the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, ACTION OHIO Coalition for Battered Women, and HUD’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Resources for Multifamily Assisted Housing.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has expanded housing protections since 2013 when VAWA was signed into law. HUD’s regulation applies to all multifamily assisted housing properties, including those with project-based Section 8, Section 202 and 811 supportive housing for the elderly and people with disabilities; Section 236 and 221(d)(3) below market and reduced interest rate programs; and the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance grant program.

More Resources for Domestically Abused Immigrants

USCIS.gov Information for VAWA Applicants
Links to forms and eligibility information

USCIS  Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet from USCIS on the legal rights available to immigrant victims of domestic violence in the U.S. and facts about immigrating on a marriage-based visa

VAWA Questions and Answers from USCIS

USCIS Information for Battered Spouses, Children or Parents
As a battered spouse, child or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Green Card for VAWA Self-Petitioner
This page provides specific information for aliens in the United States who want to apply for lawful permanent resident status as VAWA self-petitioners. This is called “adjustment of status.”

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Immigrants in the US have the right to live life free of abuse.

Battered Women’s Justice Project
BWJP offers additional assistance to immigrant victims of domestic violence.

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