An alarming new trend is emerging within the Legal Immigration System, and every Domestic Violence & Women's Advocate ought to be very concerned about it.
American women are being duped into marriage by foreign nationals who subject them to extreme emotional and physical abuse once the alien abuser has obtained their green card, only to later claim the American woman "neglected" the alien abuser, granting the abuser a 10 year green card and forcing the American woman victim to foot the bill.
Like most domestic violence cases, the abuse happens behind closed doors and gradually. The american woman has no idea that she is entering into an abusive relationship and once she realizes what has happened,it's too late. The Legal Immigration System has already stacked the cards against her.
Alien abusers are cunning and well aware of all of the loopholes the U.S. immigration system has to offer them. One of the largest loopholes alien abusers use to obtain immigration benefits exists within the way the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) handles claims of "abuse," "extreme cruelty" and/or "neglect."
Under immigration laws, any alien (including an alien abuser) who has married a U.S. Citizen, can self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), by simply making the claim that they were subjected to "abuse," "extreme cruelty" or "neglect." The American woman victim falsely accused will have zero access to the allegations, zero ability to participate in any proceeding which determines whether the american woman did or did not engage in abuse against the alien abuser, and the VAWA provisions within the Immigration Nationality Act (INA), prohibit United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from relying on the American woman victim's testimony, or any testimony of family who lived in the home during the time the American woman was abused if she tries to submit something.
As textbook domestic abuse cases go, the alien abuser is extremely charming in public, appearing to be the perfect "prince charming" husband, yet behind closed doors he terrorizes his American wife. The abuse happens slowly, and the American wife doesn't tell her family or friends or file police reports, because she's embarrassed, confused, afraid and alone. The American wife has been so isolated by the alien abuser, and emotionally abused to the point that she no longer knows which way is up or down. She doubts herself in every aspect of her life.
She does know, however, that this is not the man she thought she was marrying, and not the life she pictured when she signed the affidavit of support (I-864) agreeing to financially support him. Finally, she works up the strength to turn to the Federal Government for help, and tells them she was lied to, and this is not who she thought she married, and she wants help and protection, and to be released from the contract (I-864).
The Federal Government, however, does the unthinkable. The Government informs the alien abuser of the allegations against him, and the alien abuser immediately files a false claim against the american woman, claiming she "neglected" him. All investigations into the fraud, and the abuse of the American woman are immediately halted.
Instead, USCIS holds an ex-parte proceeding, between just the alien abuser and USCIS, allowing the abuser to submit any false testimony, forged documents, falsified evidence, etc. while disregarding anything the American woman submits as testimony or evidence, and the Administrative Procedures Act which governs the proceeding, says there are no standards for evidence, so the alien abuser can submit anything in support of his false claim. The American woman simply cannot fight this invisible monster. She has no ability to defend herself or present actual evidence. She doesn't even know the actual allegations made, so she can't possibly defend against them. She has no ability to cross-examine witnesses, produce her own witnesses, or use the discovery process to expose the truth.
The result: The alien abuser is granted a 10 year green card while the American woman is forced, under the affidavit of support contract terms (I-864) to be financially beholden to her alien abuser indefinitely for infinite amounts.
The psychological affects of being forced to finance her abuser's stay in the United States, after he traumatized her, and then made false claims against her, is indescribable. The alien abuser, is empowered, and retains control over their American wife victim, even after divorce, thanks to the Federal Government who the American wife contracted with.
The VAWA is being weaponized by alien abusers to control and manipulate their American spouses and no one is talking about it.
The VAWA is almost also discussed in the context of immigrant women victims, who suffer almost the exact same scenario. They come to the U.S. marry an american man, who is equally charming, only to later find out the American man is an abuser, subjecting them to emotional and physical torture. And finally, when the immigrant victim spouse reaches out to the Federal Government for help, the Government helps them, through the use of the VAWA. The VAWA is an extremely important component to the Immigration System for immigrant victims of abuse. Any immigrant abused by his or her spouse deserves the protections which the VAWA offers. This article is not meant to take away from the good that the VAWA offers immigrant victims, as we at ICVA support ALL victims of immigration-related crimes.
However, american women and children also deserve protections against their alien abusers who have learned to use the VAWA as weapon to further subject them to abuse. The loopholes which grant abusers the ability to manipulate the legal immigration system to the American victim's detriment, must be closed, and all victims of abuse protected.