Domestic Violence Victims Protected Regardless of Legal Status

AMARILLO, TX - Because of language barriers and lack of information many illegal immigrants suffer through abusive relationships at the hands of either a US citizen or legal resident.

A problem one local immigration counselor says is becoming more common in our area because many don't know they are protected under the Violence Against Women Act, more commonly known as the VAWA law.

VAWA protects those in abusive relationships regardless of immigration status.

In fact, under the VAWA law the battered non-citizen can self-petition without the help of a United States sponsor.

However, according to a local immigration counselor many are unaware of this right and continue to suffer in silence.

"They're receiving constantly that message that you are nobody in this country, you don't have any rights you cannot do anything and that is why I can abuse of you. That is not true" said Al Muñíz, Immigration Counselor.

Because the process is lengthy and requires support documents, victims must first speak with a social worker or immigration lawyer before applying for a VAWA with the Department of Homeland Security.