§ 24.26 XV. Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
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The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) benefits undocumented spouses and children who are abused by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent. Significant improvements were made to VAWA relief in a bill passed on January 5, 1996, and in another enacted on October 28, 2000. These bills were enacted to prevent abusive citizens and residents from using their immigration status as a means of holding their spouse or child “hostage” (e.g., by refusing to help them immigrate or threatening to call the immigration authorities on them if they try to leave) by giving the abused spouse or child means of lawful immigration independent of the abuser. There are two ways to obtain permanent residence under this law: self-petitioning and a special form of cancellation of removal (similar to the former suspension of deportation). In some cases a spouse or child can obtain permanent residence as part of another abused relative’s application, even if the spouse or child was not directly abused. There is also a special waiver for noncitizens convicted of certain domestic violence offenses, if the offense was connected to the abuse of the applicant. See § 24.26(C), infra.
 The VAWA was part of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, P.L. 103-322, § 40701 (Sept. 13, 1994).
 Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-162, 119 Stat. 2960 (Jan. 5, 2006).
 Individuals who become eligible for VAWA suspension or cancellation because of the VAWA 2000 changes can move to reopen their proceedings. All VAWA applicants can move to reopen proceedings within one year of entry of final order, or longer in extraordinary cases.
 INA § 237(a)(2)(E)(i), 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(E)(i).
RELIEF " VAWA
Matter of Pagan-Sis 27 I&N Dec. 130 (BIA 2017) (noncitizen seeking waiver under INA 212(a)(6)(A)(ii) must satisfy all three subclauses of that section, including the requirement that the noncitizen be a VAWA self-petitioner).
RELIEF - WAIVERS - CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL FOR BATTERED SPOUSES APPLIES TO LPRS AS WELL AS NON-LPRS
Matter of AM, 25 I. & N. Dec. 66 (BIA Sept. 21, 2009) (notwithstanding the heading of INA 240A(b), 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b) (2006), which only refers to nonpermanent residents, a lawful permanent resident who qualifies as a battered spouse may be eligible to apply for cancellation of removal under INA 240A(b)(2)). http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/vll/intdec/vol25/3653.pdf
RELIEF - WAIVERS - CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL FOR BATTERED SPOUSES - FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED
Matter of AM, 25 I. & N. Dec. 66 (BIA Sept. 21, 2009) (given the nature and purpose of the relief of cancellation of removal for battered spouses under INA 240A(b)(2), such factors as a noncitizen's divorce from an abusive spouse, remarriage, and previous self-petition for relief based on the abusive marriage are relevant in determining whether an application for that relief should be granted in the exercise of discretion). http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/vll/intdec/vol25/3653.pdf
RELIEF - VAWA CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL
Johnson v. United States Atty Gen., __ F.3d __ (3d Cir. Apr. 16, 2010) (court lacks jurisdiction to review discretionary determination on whether VAWA cancellation of removal applicant has shown that he suffered extreme cruelty inflicted by his spouse).
RELIEF - VAWA CANCELLATION - VAWA
Benaouicha v. Holder, 600 F.3d 795 (7th Cir. Apr. 6, 2010) (noncitizen convicted of a crime of moral turpitude is ineligible for VAWA cancellation, even if good moral character can be shown).
JUDICIAL REVIEW - PETITION FOR REVIEW - NO JURISDICTION OVER VAWA CANCELATION EXTREME CRUELTY DETERMINATION
Stepanovic v. Filip, 554 F.3d 673 (7th Cir. Jan. 28, 2009) (VAWA cancellation "extreme cruelty" determination is within the discretion of the Attorney General; therefore the court lacks jurisdiction to review under 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2); over petition for review of BIA holding noncitizen ineligible for VAWA cancellation of removal, under INA 240A(b)(2), 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(2), for determining he was not subjected to extreme cruelty; BIA correctly applied the "extreme cruelty" legal standard in requiring petitioner show psychiatric or medical documents, or other evidence). See also Wilmore v. Gonzales, 455 F.3d 524, 528 (5th Cir. 2006); Perales-Cumpean v. Gonzales, 429 F.3d 977, 982 (10th Cir. 2005). But see Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 833-35 (9th Cir. 2003).
RELIEF - CANCELLATION - VAWA - TIMELINESS
Arellano-Hernandez v. United States, 564 F.3d 906 (8th Cir. May 5, 2009) (VAWA special rule cancellation is an application for relief separate from non-LPR cancellation; VAWA application was untimely when filed after deadline for relief filed by IJ, even though non-LPR cancellation application had been timely filed).
VAWA " JUDICIAL REVIEW " BATTERED SPOUSE
Butalova v. Atty Gen., __ F.3d __ (11th Cir. Oct. 7, 2014) (court lacks jurisdiction to determine whether noncitizen is a battered spouse, under INA 204(a)(1)(A)(iii)).
RELIEF " VAWA " SPECIAL-RULE CANCELLATION
Bedoya-Melendez v. U.S. Atty General, 680 F.3d 1321, (11th Cir. May 17, 2012) (whether noncitizen was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty, as required to be eligible for VAWA special rule cancellation of removal, was not a question of law, such as the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction to consider, but unreviewable discretionary determination).
RELIEF " DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS " DACA " PRACTICE ADVISORY
Legal Action Center (LAC) updated Practice Advisory, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. http://www.legalactioncenter.org/sites/default/files/practice_advisory_dreamers.pdf For additional resources related to DACA, visit the Immigration Policy Centers website. http://www.legalactioncenter.org/practice-advisories/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals
RELIEF - VAWA - RESOURCES
Ann Benson, Directing Attorney, Washington Defender Associations Immigration Project, Overview of Immigration Consequences of Criminal Conduct for Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence (Sept. 2004) http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/library/item.181220-Overview_of_Immigration_Consequences_of_Criminal_Conduct_for_Immigrant_Surv