Hadia* is a current client who was referred to our Domestic Violence Project by a non-profit agency working with victims of violence in rural Iowa. Hadia had married her U.S. citizen husband in her home country and their time together there was idyllic, complete with the joyful news of a new baby. Her husband returned to the U.S. so he could send for them, and Hadia and her young son immigrated legally.
But after she came to the U.S. the relationship became a nightmare. She experienced frequent physical and sexual abuse by her husband whose alcoholism impeded her ability to provide basic food and necessities for their child. He hit her in public when she asked for money for food, and then drove away, witnessed by a bystander. Hadia endured incredible humiliations and several forms of abuse for four months, until her husband beat her so badly in the head and attempted to strangle her, that she recognized he was ready to kill her as he had threatened to do on previous occasions. Thankfully, she was able to get away with their son to a neighbors’ house, who called 911 and provided a safe haven until police could arrest her husband and she could be treated for her injuries and protected in a shelter.
Typically, a conditional permanent resident like Hadia needs to file a petition with her spouse to remove the conditions on her residency, or she will be placed in deportation proceedings. However, if the conditional resident spouse can prove that she entered the marriage in ”good faith”---meaning not for the bald purpose of immigrating to the U.S. ---and can prove that she endured battery at the hand of her husband, then the Immigration Service can remove the conditions without demanding that her spouse agree to join in the petition. These applications are difficult to win, as the Immigration Service demands substantial proof for al the required elements of this waiver. We are working diligently to prepared the best case possible for Hadia, and have hope that she can remain here with the full benefits of residency, as she greatly fears returning to her home country, where her status as a separated or divorced woman would keep her trapped in her home and stigmatized by the community
We would like to express our deepest gratitude for your support of IA JFON, so that we can continue to help courageous immigrant survivors like Hadia.
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.