Developing a survivor’s story is a critical component of preparing for any case in which a client has a
history of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and/or stalking. When working with immigrant
survivors applying for immigration relief as a result of the abuse, it is necessary to collect a detailed story to
submit as part of the immigration application.
A survivor’s story is one of the key pieces of evidence submitted with VAWA, U, and T visa applications, which makes these victim based remedies different from many other immigration applications. This is an opportunity for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) adjudicators to hear directly from the survivor, in her or his own voice. When reading the survivor’s story, the reader—ultimately, the DHS adjudicator—should be able to know and feel what the survivor felt after being subjected to abuse or crime victimization.
Breaking Barriers is a comprehensive tool that provides information that will be useful to advocates, attorneys, justice, and social services professionals working with and assisting immigrant survivors of domestic and family violence. This Manual provides a detailed overview explanation of immigrant survivors’ legal rights under immigration, family, public benefits, and criminal laws and their rights to access a broad range of victim services without regard to immigration status of the immigrant crime victim or their children. Breaking Barriers provides social science research findings, information about laws, policies and best practices, legislative history, tools and checklists that will help professionals working with immigrant survivors navigate intersecting legal and social services options that are legally available to assist all immigrant victims including those who are undocumented.