Survivors of Interpersonal Violence
Immigrant women are often trapped in situations that are dangerous to both them and their children. Out of fear of deportation and separation from their children, countless women remain in abusive relationships. Others have suffered sexual assault or other forms of violence. Language barriers, financial difficulties and low levels of education further deter these individuals from seeking the help and legal remedies that are available to them. By providing legal services to immigrant survivors of interpersonal violence, LACLJ helps them remain in the United States with their children legally and safely, and prevents children from unnecessarily entering foster care or remaining with their abusive parent.
Many immigrant youth who often did not make the decision to come to the United States live in constant fear of deportation from a place that has become their home. At LACLJ, we serve many of these young people:
- Unaccompanied undocumented minors are children who arrive to the United States without a parent or guardian and have been abandoned, abused or neglected. Oftentimes, these children have experienced severe trauma – for example, from gang-based, gender-based or other forms of violence in their home country – that led them to take the dangerous journey to the United States. Since October 2013, Los Angeles County has become home to over 3,500 unaccompanied immigrant children. These children, who range in age from toddlers to teens and often speak only their indigenous languages, are required to appear in front of an Immigration Judge for their deportation hearings.
- DREAMers (termed after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act) are young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, have lived and gone to school here, and identify as American.
Creating Paths toward Stability
LACLJ is committed to helping youth and survivors of interpersonal violence by providing holistic legal services. Specific immigration remedies include:
- VAWA – For survivors of domestic violence where the batterer is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and the spouse, parent or adult child of the survivor
- U Visa – For survivors of violent crime who cooperate with law enforcement
- T Visa – For survivors of human trafficking (forced labor or prostitution)
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) – For children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected
- Adjustment of Status – For approved VAWA, U Visa, T Visa, and SIJS petitioners who are eligible to obtain lawful permanent residency
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – For young people who arrived to the U.S. as children and attended school here
LACLJ’s services provide life-changing solutions for immigrant families. Once immigration petitions are approved, clients can receive a social security number, work authorization and a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. Through VAWA, U Visa, T Visa, and SIJS petitions, individuals obtain legal status independent of their abusers, and can eventually apply for residency and citizenship. Meanwhile, DACA grants youth temporary protection from deportation, allowing them to safely continue their education, get a job with benefits, and support their families.