Monday, May 05, 2008

Abused Spouses Who Enter Illegally Now Able to Obtain Green Card

CIS recently released a memo confirming a nationwide policy to allow battered spouses who have received an approved Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petition to apply for a green card while in the U.S., despite an illegal entry. Prior to this memo's release, there was no nationwide interpretation of the statute on this issue and various CIS district offices were granting VAWA green cards for those who entered illegally and many other CIS offices were not.
This is a huge victory for battered spouses who entered illegally, many of which could face unlawful presence bars, the permanent bar, or be at risk if had to leave the U.S. to process their green card petitions abroad at a consulate.

This memo was very narrowly tailored, however, to apply to those who entered without inspection, not necessarily pertaining to those who entered by other means, i.e., with a fiance visa and did not marry the USC sponsor but married someone else who turned abusive, or those who entered with J-1s who are having adjustment problems (or other such situations).

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