Migrants from the LGTBI+ Community and the VAWA Program

Domestic violence has been considered exclusive to heterosexual couples, however, studies show that domestic violence occurs in equal or greater measure in homosexual couples.

Statistics indicate that 43.8% of lesbian women, 61.1% of bisexual women, 26% of gay men and 37.3% of bisexual men have experienced physical violence, rape, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.

Despite these statistics, The Violence Against Women Act, authorized in 1994, did not include the LGBTI+ community among its beneficiaries, which increased their vulnerability to acts of violence.

However, The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, a reauthorization of the federal VAWA law authorized in 1994, broadened its range of support to cover other populations vulnerable to domestic violence that previous acts had not taken into consideration.

VAWA 2013 explicitly prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived gender identity and sexual orientation. Likewise, it prohibits discrimination based on race, skin color, religion, national origin, sex or disability.

It is because of this change in the VAWA reauthorization that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims of domestic violence are guaranteed access to critical services that OVW supports.

Likewise, migrants married to a person of the same gender, who have been victims of violence or domestic abuse, can opt for VAWA immigration benefits.

Within the considerations of Abuse, VAWA recognizes six main types of abuse; psychological, verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. Within same-sex abuse, emotional blackmail or the abuser taking an authority figure over his victim due to her immigration status is common.

Migrant members of the LGBTI+ community suffer abuse due to their immigration status, but they are also re-victimized due to their sexual orientation. But VAWA has changed this situation for thousands of migrants who must not allow these abuses to continue.

LGBTI+ migrants must know that they are not alone, seeking legal support is essential to stop abuse, and they must know that their rights are guaranteed and must be respected.

The VAWA program allows people married to an American citizen, regardless of their gender, to be self-petitioners in their immigration process, if they prove that they have been victims of abuse by their partner.

Attorney Farrah Qazi, from Qazi Law Offices, has 18 years of experience in immigration processes, and has successfully worked with hundreds of cases in which the person, through the VAWA program, has improved their immigration status.

Do you want to know more about the work that lawyer Farrah Qazi does? Call our office, we might be able to help. Call us at 630 504 0648.