Representing Survivors of Domestic Violence

To represent their clients, students have conducted multiple client and witness interviews, investigated avenues for legal relief, marshalled key evidence, developed legal arguments, and presented their clients’ cases in court and before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Case Examples

Matter of S

IRC students assisted S, an undocumented single mother of three United States citizen children, to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. S came to the United States when she was in elementary school. She was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her long term partner (the father of her three children). S’s ex-partner had been deported the year prior after she called the police to report an incident of violence. S feared returning to Mexico because of the animosity and blame that her ex harbored towards her. S is also the primary caretaker of her lawful permanent resident mother, who suffers from chronic and life threatening end stage renal failure, which requires dialysis four times a week. Students interviewed S, her family members, and various doctors who were involved in her mother's medical care, drafted declarations and gathered other corroborative evidence, and presented the evidence and legal argument to the Immigration Judge and opposing counsel.

Matter of L

IRC students assisted L with applying for a U Visa, a form of legal relief for non-citizens who have been the victim of a serious crime and have cooperated with law enforcement. L is a lawful permanent resident and suffered severe domestic violence at the hands of her husband for over a decade. The U Visa is an effort to prevent L from being deported back to Mexico, away from her six United States Citizen children, ten United States Citizen grandchildren, and the community she has lived in for over forty years.

Matter of W

IRC students helped W with obtaining legal status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). A VAWA petition is a form of immigration relief that allows noncitizens married to abusive United States Citizens to leave their abusers and still maintain legal status. A male victim of spousal abuse, W was in danger of being deported to the Middle East because his abusive wife withdrew his green card application and he was charged with being in the U.S. unlawfully.