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VAWA green card cases & illegal entries
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Posted On: October 19, 2006
The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women and the National Immigration Project are considering litigation to challenge the unlawful denial of VAWA (abuse-based immigration green card) applications for applicants who are present without being admitted or paroled (Entered illegally).

The problem lies in two contradictory sections of the law. Pursuant to INA § 245(a), VAWA self-petitioners are eligible to adjust regardless of their manner of entry (so, even someone who entered illegally is still able to receive a green card despite kind of entry). Some CIS (U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services) district offices have denied VAWA green card applications for people inadmissible under INA § 212(a)(6)(A)(i), who entered illegally, unless the entry was connected to the abuse.

While lawyers in the Network work on the lawsuit, in the meantime to win these cases, it’s important to take note that there is no definition of “connected to” the abuse. This can mean, for example, that a batterer convinced the immigrant victim that it was “ok” to leave and re-enter the country, threatened the immigrant victim or her children emotionally, financially, or physically in such a way that caused her to re-enter illegally so she could return right away to the U.S. It could also be construed as emotional manipulating the immigrant victim as part of the cycle of control and violence by convincing her to re-enter the U.S. (knowing the only way she could was unlawfully), pretending that he would never hurt her again and that their marriage would be peaceful again, only to harm her again when she returned.
Attorney Heather L. Poole practices exclusively in the area of U.S. family-based immigration law and citizenship law. Heather is a nationally-published immigration author, frequent lecturer on immigration issues, and member & officer of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Southern California Chapter. For more information about Heather and the services offered, visit


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