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For battered immigrant women, fear of deportation becomes abusers’ weapon

February 10, 2012 (1 min read)

"In the past decade, several new laws have allowed abused foreign-born women, including those who entered the United States illegally and those whose immigration status depends on their spouse, to obtain legal residency on their own.  Lawyers at two area nonprofit legal agencies, Ayuda in Takoma Park and the Tahirih Justice Center in Arlington County, said that in the past several years, they have helped hundreds of foreign-born women win the right to remain in the United States after they were able to prove to immigration authorities that they had been abused or assaulted by a boyfriend, husband, employer or acquaintance.  But, the lawyers said, a far larger number of abused immigrant women — especially those who entered illegally — never find out that they are entitled to such relief. Instead, they remain isolated and trapped in a terrible dilemma: afraid of men who subject them to emotional and physical harm, yet equally afraid of the consequences of turning them in." - Pamela Constable, Washington Post, Feb. 8, 2012.