Foreign individuals who come to the United States to marry U.S. citizens or green card holders generally have the best intentions of enjoying a loving and lasting marriage. They may bring their children from a previous marriage or relationship with them to be a part of their new family. But there can be times when things can go awfully wrong – the foreign spouse and/or the child may get battered and abused by the U.S. spouse who will threaten the foreign spouse with not filing for their green card if they go to the authorities to report the abuse. The result is that the foreigner is afraid to leave the relationship and may be at risk for grave danger. The U.S. spouse may hold off on filing the green card application because they want to hold this threat over the abused spouse as long as possible so as not to be discovered by law enforcement.
There are provisions for these types of circumstances so that the abused spouse can leave the relationship and file the necessary paperwork themselves, without the U.S. spouse needing to sign or approve it or even be aware that the application has been filed. The same provisions exist for a foreign parent who was brought to the U.S. by their U.S. citizen son or daughter and subsequently abused by them or a foreign child under 21 who was abused by their U.S. citizen parent. By filing form I-360 along with the appropriate documentation of the abuse, if all requirements have been met, the approval of this petition will allow the victim and their children under 21 to remain in the U.S. legally and seek additional lawful status.
If you are in this type of a situation please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. There is no reason to stay in an abusive relationship just because you think you will not be able to obtain your green card. Contact an immigration attorney to find out your rights and never accept physical or mental abuse for fear of not being allowed to remain in the United States.
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