Many new immigrants suffer indescribable physical, emotional, financial, psychological, sexual and other types of abuse, humiliation, and exploitation by fiancé(e)s, spouses, intimate partners, relatives and even employers. This dynamic tends to exist in relationships where there is a significant power imbalance due to immigration status. The victim is, typically, the beneficiary of a pending immigration Petition or Application, whose approval depends almost entirely on another individual or entity. In some cases, the abuse stems from the abusers’ exploitation of the fact that their victims have overstayed their visas or are undocumented and are, therefore, unlikely to report the abuse to any law enforcement authority.
Those who are trapped in toxic, abusive and unbearable familial or employment relationships often feel condemned to binary choices: (a) Continue to endure the abuse (assuming the abuser does not end the relationship before the approval of the immigration Petition or Application); or (b) Return to a country that almost certainly lacks the opportunities that the United States offers them.
There could be other ways for victims to seek and obtain immigration benefits, without necessarily having to continue to suffer abusive and intolerable treatment. An experienced and skilled immigration attorney can help victims and survivors of such abusive relationships to identify other possible options.