The Huffington Post
By Melissa Jeltsen
February 27, 2017
Afraid. Alone. Anxious.
That’s the current mood among many undocumented victims of domestic violence across the country who fear they’ll unwittingly become targets for deportation if they reach out for help, according to advocates interviewed by The Huffington Post.
Rachel Goldsmith, an administrator at Safe Horizon, said her organization has heard from many clients who are terrified of being deported and being separated from their children.
“I worry that people are not going to reach out who need our support,” she said. “There is very little certainty right now. People don’t know what to expect and what will come out tomorrow.”
Victims still have rights, Goldsmith said, despite the political climate. She noted that there are two legal immigration remedies available for undocumented victims.
Under the Violence Against Women Act, domestic violence victims who are abused by a citizen or a permanent resident can apply for a green card if they meet certain requirements. Undocumented victims can also apply for a U visa if they are a victim of a crime and are willing to work with law enforcement during an investigation.
She encouraged those in need to reach out to a shelter, domestic violence advocate or lawyer in their community to learn about their rights.
“We are here for you, and despite whatever the abusive partner might be saying, we can help you,” she said.