[pdf] Affidavits of Support and Enforceability Bench Card (June 12, 2024) (+)

This bench card provides an overview of the two forms of Affidavits of Support that state family court judges may be asked to enforced as part of a divorce action involving an immigrant spouse who was sponsored for their “green card” by their U.S. citizen spouse. It discusses the history and enforceability of the Form I-864 Affidavit of Support and the evidence value of both the I-864 Affidavit of Support and the older Form I-134 Affidavit of Support. It also illustrates for judges and family law attorneys how to calculate the support due by the citizen spouse to the immigrant spouse under the I-864 Affidavit of Support. The Bench Card includes citations to and reports case law on Affidavits of Support.

[pdf] I-134-Form-Instructions (+)

These instruction are for the Forn-134 Affidavit of Support. After December 19, 1997 this form can no longer be used by U.S. Citizens or lawful permanent residents sponsoring family members for lawful permanent residency and form I-864 must be used for this purpose. The I-134 continues to be available for limited purposes which include use by an immigrant who needs a sponsor in order to avoid being found inadmissible to the United States on public charge grounds. It is also important to note that the form I-134 was used by citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor spouses and children prior to December 19, 1997 after which the Form I-864 was required instead of the I-134. Thus, judges and family lawyers who encounter affidavits of support in divorce cases will see I-134 Affidavits of support in cases involving marriages prior to December 1997. Comparing this instruction form with the instructions for form I-864 will provide useful information for Affidavit of Support enforcement purposes and evidentiary purposes in spousal and child support cases.

[pdf] Velasquez v. Miranda Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (February 1 2024) (+)

Velasquez v. Miranda Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (February 1 2024). NIWAP, represented by K & L Gates, filed an amicus brief on appeal from the judgement of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania dated June 20, 2023. The amicus brief argues that any confusion regarding the role of Pennsylvania courts in the process of obtaining SIJ […]

[pdf] Protection Orders Webinar Materials List (February 24, 2024) (+)

This list of training materials on civil protection orders has been developed to assist state court judges, attorneys, and victim advocates working with immigrant survivors. It covers protection orders for vicitms of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The list includes training tools, training manual chapters, bench cards, and links to webinars.

[pdf] Training Materials for Victim Advocates and Attorneys (11.28.23) (+)

Training materials for family lawyers, prosecutors, and state family, civil and criminal court judges assisting immigrant crime victims Topics include: U visas, T visas, Family Law cases, VAWA Self-Petitions, VAWA Confidentiality, Public Benefits, Best Practices, Language Access, Webinars, Podcasts and more.

[pdf] How Immigration Law and Policies Impact State Courts — When Children and Litigants are Victims of Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, or Sexual Assault (NCJFCJ, In-Session -Fall 2023) (+)

This In-Session article discusses immigration policy updates that have occurred in 2021 – 2023 and the impact that what these policies mean for state courts adjudicating a range of family court cases involving immigrant children, immigrant crime victims, and child victims living in mixed immigration status families.

[pdf] Senjab v. Alhulaibi (September 25 2020) Supreme Court of Nevada (+)

NIWAP filed an amicus brief confirming that for purposes of jurisdiction in divorce cases residence can be established without regard to the immigration status of the party seeking divorce. This is a case in which an abusive spouse argued successfully to the trial court below that a visa holder spouse (in this case a student visa holder) could not file for divorce (custody and child support) in Nevada because her visa is only temporary, and she could never obtain a divorce in NV despite the state being the victim and her abusive spouse’s state of residence. The victim otherwise met the residency requirements. This could have had broad implications for all visa holders in the U.S. if the trial court’s ruling was not overturned. Instead, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that residence in the state is all that is needed for divorce jurisdiction. This ruling ensures that courts retain the ability to grant divorces to all persons who meet the state residency requirements without regard to any party’s immigration status. K &L Gates represented NIWAP in the amicus brief.”]

[pdf] Idinyan (August 9 2005) Board of Immigration Appeals (+)

Nvart Idinyan (formerly Nvart Huckfeldt) (August 9 2005) Board of Immigration Appeals. The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women, represented by Crowell and Moring, filed this amicus in support of the immigration judge’s finding that plaintiff qualified for cancellation of removal under VAWA and refuting DHS assertion that once a victim reached a “safe house” she should no longer have access to VAWA provisions. (Crowell and Moring, Pro Bono)

[pdf] Rosario v. Holder (May 10 2010) US Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit (+)

Rosario v. Holder (May 10 2010) US Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit. National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women respectfully moves pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure for 29 for leave to file an amicus brief in support of Appellant Josefa Rosario. Client placed in removal proceedings, concedes removability and applies for VAWA Cancellation of Removal. IJ denies cancellation based on finding that there is not substantial evidence of battery to the extent envisioned by the statute and not substantial evidence of extreme hardship. BIA affirms IJ. The decision was wrong because the IJ ignored an analysis of extreme cruelty completely and even though Ms. Rosario and her witness were found to be credible – focused on the lack of police reports and medical records – thereby holding her to a standard higher than the any credible evidence standard. Battery and extreme cruelty are non-discretionary determinations that can be reviewed by that court. Ms. Rosario has now filed brief with 2nd Circuit.

[pdf] Arguijo v. USCIS (July 24 2020) US Court of Appeals 7th Circuit (+)

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) represents Jennifer Arguijo, who was 11 years old when her mother married her stepfather, who turned out to be abusive. Applying BIA case law from other contexts, VSC held that a stepchild-stepfather relationship ends after the biological parent divorces the stepparent, unless there is a “continuing relationship” between the stepchild and stepfather. NIJC sought reconsideration, and appealed to the AAO. The AAO affirmed the VSC’s decision to deny the VAWA self-petition unless the abused step-child had a continuing relationship with the abusive step-father. NIJC filed a challenge to the AAO denial under the Administrative Procedure Act in Federal District Court in 2013. Unfortunately, the case moved slowly but Jennifer eventually lost on Summary Judgment in 2020, and NIJC appealed to the Seventh Circuit. The National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project filed an Amicus brief in the 7th Circuit in support of NIJC’s appeal represented by K&L Gates LLP. The Seventh Circuit overturned the District Court and The Court handed down its decision on March 12, 2021 confirming that in the context of the Violence Against Women Act “stepchild” status survives divorce. Divorce between the natural parent and the abusive stepparent does not cut a stepchild victim off from VAWA immigration relief, including self-petitioning.

[pdf] United States v. Dixon (December 2 1992-June 28 1993) (+)

United States v. Dixon (December 2 1992-June 28 1993) U.S. Supreme Court. United States V. Michael Foster (United States v. Dixon, 598 A.2d 724, 725 (D.C. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S. Ct. 1759 (1992), aff’d in part and rev’d in part, 113 S. Ct. 2849 (1993). Amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court of the United States as the organization that serves as counsel for the domestic violence victim in the underlying protection order contempt proceeding that resulted in an over 600 day sentence for multiple counts of contempt of a civil protection order. The Brief argued that victims could constitutionally enforce their protection orders without undermining the ability of the state (in this case the United States) to bring criminal charges against the domestic violence perpetrator that included numerous assaults and assault with a deadly weapon. The Supreme Court upheld the right of a victim to enforce her protection order without barring criminal prosecution by double jeopardy as long as the contempt proceeding and the criminal prosecution each require proof of additional elements under the Blockburger “same elements” test.

[pdf] USCIS Citizenship for Adopted Children (April 21, 2023) (+)

Under U.S. laws, children may obtain U.S. citizenship other than through birth in the United States.1 In general, persons born outside of the United States, including adopted children, may obtain U.S. citizenship after birth, before the age of 18, through a U.S. citizen parent. Some children immigrating based on adoption automatically acquire U.S. citizenship upon their admission to the United States as lawful permanent residents. Others do not, and their adoptive parents need to take additional steps before an adopted child turns 18 years of age for the child to obtain U.S. citizenship through the adoptive parent(s). Adoptees who do not obtain citizenship through their adoptive parents before turning 18 may be eligible to apply for naturalization after the age of 18. USCIS issued new policies clarifying guidance on citizenship and naturalization policy for adopted foreign born children.

[pdf] Vigil v. Lynch (February 29 2016) US Court of Appeals 5th Circuit (+)

Maria Esterlina Perez Vigil v. U.S. (February 29 2016) 5 th Circuit Court of Appeals. NIWAP, and various Immmigration Law Professors from Texas, filed an
amicus curiae brief on behalf of Maria Esterlina Perez Vigil a victim of domestic violence, who had
denied her request for asylum because she was able to move out the residence that she shared with the
abuser. The brief discussed the dynamics of abusive relationships and explained that physical separation
from an abuser rarely means that an abused woman has successfully left the relationship or marriage and
stopped the cycle of violence. Indeed, the abuser’s control of the victim can often continue well after the
victim moves out, particularly where children are involved. This amicus was filed in the 5th Circuit
Federal Court of Appeals in a case in which Perez Vigil is seeking to overturn the Immigration Judge and
the Board of Immigration`s ruling that denied her request seeking asylum, withholding of removal, and
protection under the CAT.

[pdf] Geidy Mavely Soto Alvarado And Mauricio Antonio Garcia Soto v. Merrick Garland (June 13 2023) US District Court Rhode Island (+)

Geidy Mavely Soto Alvarado And Mauricio Antonio Garcia Soto v. Merrick Garland (June 13 2023) US District Court of Rhode Island. NIWAP, represented by Crowell and Moring, led an amicus brief that was joined by Harvard Law School professors and clinics, the ACLU, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and all of the major women shelters in Rhode Island. This brief argued that USCIS had misinterpreted VAWA 2000 amendments that were designed to allow VAWA self petitioners to divorce, file their self petitions, and after filing remarry with no impact that would lead to denial of the application. In this case an immigrant for self petitioner remarried year and ½ after filing but before her self-petition case was approved and USCIS revoked or approved self petition. Amici won a motion to reopen the District Court’s denial of the self petitioner’s case and the trial will proceed on the merits. Map is being represented in this case by Crowell and Moring.

[pdf] Guimares v. Brann (May 8 2019) Supreme Court of Texas (+)

Marcelle Guimaraes v. Christopher Scott Brann (Texas Supreme Court). NIWAP, represented by KL Gates, served
as lead amicus on a brief before the Texas Supreme Court. The amicus curiae brief is filed on behalf of a woman who is fighting for complete custody and the ability to keep her child in Brazil away from the child’s father, who had abused the mother. The mother won a contested Hague
Convention Case in which both parties participated and the mother was granted the right to keep the child
in Brazil and was awarded full custody. The Texas trial court ignored the Brazilian order and in a divorce proceeding awarded custody to the father.

[pdf] Souratgar v. Fair (February 18 2013) 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals (+)

Souratgar v. Fair (February 18 2013) 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. NIWAP and others, represented by Greenberg and Trauri, participated in an amicus in a Hague Convention international custody case with Sanctuary for Families in New York. The amicus address domestic violence and immigration related abuse and provided social science research and legislative history documenting the dynamics of domestic violence experienced by immigrant victims, particularly immigration related abuse as well as research and Congressional Resolutions on the effect that witnessing a domestic violence has on children.

[pdf] Jessica Ruth Gonzales v. United States of America Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (December 5 2007) (+)

Amicus brief submitted to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights after Castle Rock police department failed to enforce an order of protection against Ms. Gonzales’s husband. This brief argues that there is an international consensus recognizing states’ obligation to protect against domestic violence and provide effective remedies for its victims. Even if laws and orders are issued, they must be enforced. The police failure to enforce the protective order in this case, together with the United States’ failure to provide a judicial remedy for this lack of enforcement, violate established international human rights treaties and standards, under which states are required to respect, protect, and fulfil women and girls’ rights to be free from gender-based violence, including domestic violence.

[pdf] Nicholson v. Williams NY State Court of Appeals (May 2004) (+)

Amicus submitted to the New York State Court of Appeals in support of battered women and their children in Nicholson v. Scoppetta. The Nicholson case is a class action suit against the Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”) of New York City based on their policy and practice of presumptively removing children from battered mothers and charging them with neglect for “engaging in domestic violence.” Under the ACS policy, children are removed and women charged simply because the mothers are victims of domestic violence. The Nicholson case, comprised of over 20 class members, challenges the ACS policy on constitutional grounds. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has certified questions to the New York State Court of Appeals to assist in determining whether the policy is unconstitutional.

[pdf] United States v. Dixon U.S. Supreme Court (December 2 1992-June 28 1993) (+)

United States V. Michael Foster (United States v. Dixon, 598 A.2d 724, 725 (D.C. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S. Ct. 1759 (1992), aff’d in part and rev’d in part, 113 S. Ct. 2849 (1993) Filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States as the organization that serves as counsel for the domestic violence victim in the underlying protection order contempt proceeding that resulted in an over 600 day sentence for multiple counts of contempt of a civil protection order. The Brief argued that victims could constitutionally enforce their protection orders without undermining the ability of the state (in this case the United States) to bring criminal charges against the domestic violence perpetrator that included numerous assaults and assault with a deadly weapon. The Supreme Court upheld the right of a victim to enforce her protection order without barring criminal prosecution by double jeopardy as long as the contempt proceeding and the criminal prosecution each require proof of additional elements under the Blockburger “same elements” test.

[pdf] Blondin v. Dubois (2000) U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit (+)

Blondin v. Dubois, U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit (2000). NOW LDEF represented by Crowell & Moring filed an amicus brief in support of a mother’s child custody against a challenge under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction U.S.C. section 11601 by the father, a resident of France.

[pdf] Harrison v. Harrison, Kentucky, Fayette Circuit Court 3rd Division (February 11 2002) (+)

Harrison v. Harrison, Kentucky, Fayette Circuit Court 3rd Division (2002) Amicus Brief explaining misuse of protection orders to penalize victims and discourage them from seeking legal relief, “mutual” protection orders as contrary to public policy, and the safety of DV victims as directly related to batterer responsibility enforced in the legal system. (Wiley, Rein & Fielding, Pro Bono)

[pdf] Marriage of David M. Salcido and Irina N. Salcido Arizona State Court of Appeals (August 24 2004) (+)

In Re the Marriage of David M. Salcido and Irina N. Salcido, Case No. 20023590 before the Arizona Court of Appeals. (2004) Filed an amicus brief in support of overturning a grant of annulment in favor of an abusive spouse who sought an annulment after a five year marriage in order to deny the victim-wife VAWA immigration status. (Crowell and Moring, Pro Bono).

[pdf] Meredith v. Muriel Crowell and Moring Supreme Court of the State of Washington (July 17 2009) (+)

Meredith v. Muriel second brief (Crowell and Moring, Pro Bono) argued that Abusive speech is not protected by the First Amendment because it is essentially conduct not expression and that a restriction in the protection order ordering an abuser not to contact DHS or interfere with his wife’s immigration case is not overbroad when weighed against the significant State interest in protecting abuse victims and does not impermissibly infringe on the abuser’s right to petition the government

[pdf] Meredith v. Muriel K&L Gates Supreme Court of the State of Washington (July 17 2009) (+)

Meredith v. Muriel, Supreme Court of the State of Washington, (2009). Submitted two amicus briefs one on behalf of Legal Momentum and a second on behalf of the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women in a case in which an abuser appealed the issuance of a protection order containing a prohibition against the abuser communicating with the Department of Homeland Security regarding his wife. One brief (K & L Gates, Pro Bono) provided social science documentation of the harm to victims and the lethality of immigration related abuse and discussed the history and purpose of VAWA confidentiality protections.

[pdf] State v. Maria L. The Nebraska Supreme Court (April 8 2009) (+)

State v. Maria L., (2009) filed an amicus brief in a case before The Nebraska Supreme Court in a termination of parental rights case in which an undocumented immigrant mother was denied language access to child protective services, the courts and the hospital. In a unanimous decision that Nebraska Supreme Court returned two children to their Guatemalan mother who had been deported and her parental rights were terminated by the state ruling that undocumented, detained and deported immigrant parents have the constitutional right to care for, have custody of, and control over their children.

[pdf] Adoption C.M.B.R. Minor. S.M. and M.M. Respondents vs. E.M.B.R. Appellant Missouri Court of Appeals (July 21 2010) (+)

In Re Adoption of C.M.B.R. Minor. S.M. and M.M. Respondents vs. E.M.B.R. Appellant, Amicus brief was filed in the Missouri Court of Appeals (2010) and a second in the Missouri Supreme Court (2010) in support of reversing a court decision to terminate the parental rights of an immigrant mother Encarnacion Bail and finalize the adoption of her children as a result of Encarnacion’s immigration detention. Encarnacion Bail had been subject to an immigration raid at her workplace and was coerced into taking a plea to aggravated identity theft. While Encarnacion served her jail sentence, the State of Missouri terminated her parental rights and finalized the adoption of her children. After she finished serving her sentence the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that convictions like hers for use of false documents was unconstitutional. Won favorable decisions from in both cases confirming that limiting who may place a child for adoption and confirming that immigration status should “never” be a factor “when determining whether to terminate parental rights. (Crowell and Moring, Pro Bono)

[pdf] In Re Adoption of C.M.B.R. Minor. S.M. and M.M. Respondents vs. E.M.B.R. Appellant, Missouri Supreme Court (January 11 2010) (+)

In Re Adoption of C.M.B.R. Minor. S.M. and M.M. Respondents vs. E.M.B.R. Appellant, Amicus brief was filed in the Missouri Court of Appeals (2010) and a second in the Missouri Supreme Court (2010) in support of reversing a court decision to terminate the parental rights of an immigrant mother Encarnacion Bail and finalize the adoption of her children as a result of Encarnacion’s immigration detention. Encarnacion Bail had been subject to an immigration raid at her workplace and was coerced into taking a plea to aggravated identity theft. While Encarnacion served her jail sentence, the State of Missouri terminated her parental rights and finalized the adoption of her children. After she finished serving her sentence the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that convictions like hers for use of false documents was unconstitutional. Won favorable decisions from in both cases confirming that limiting who may place a child for adoption and confirming that immigration status should “never” be a factor “when determining whether to terminate parental rights. (Crowell and Moring, Pro Bono)

[pdf] Kumar v. Kumar California Court of Appeals (September 26 2016) (+)

Kumar v. Kumar (California Court of Appeals) NIWAP served as sole amicus in a case in which a California state family court judge imposed the duty to mitigate that applies in contract cases and alimony cases to an immigrant spouse, in this case a battered immigrant spouse, seeking to enforce the Affidavit of Support her husband signed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when he sponsored her to attain legal permanent residency status. The brief cited case law from other states and law review articles discussing current state family court practice allowing immigrant spouses to enforce affidavits of support in family court cases. The brief provided legislative history and social science data supporting the position imposing a duty to mitigate undermines the legislative purpose of the Affidavit of Support and in the case of battered immigrant spouses the Violence Against Women Act. (Crowell and Moring: September 26, 2016)

[pdf] S.E.R.L v. U.S. Federal Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit (September 25 2017) (+)

Amicus Brief in S.E.R.L v. U.S. NIWAP filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of a Honduran woman who had helped her daughter escape from a domestic violence perpetrator who had trafficked the daughter to Mexico. The brief discussed the extent to which those who intervene to protect their family from perpetrators of domestic violence are at risk of violent retaliation by the perpetrator, up to and including death. She fled Honduras seeking asylum in the U.S. out of fear of more retaliation. This amicus was filed in the 3rd Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in a case in which S.E.R.L is seeking gender based asylum as a Honduran woman who intervened in a domestic violence relationship who are left completely vulnerable to violent retaliation. Crowell and Moring (September 25, 2017)

[pdf] Rosa Marisol Avelar Oliva Board of Immigration Appeals (February 16 2018) (+)

Amicus Brief in Matter of Rosa Marisol Avelar Oliva, NIWAP filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of an El Salvadorian woman who suffered child abuse and was held in isolation for years. The Immigration Judge found that she was not credible. The brief discussed the psychological and developmental effects of trauma and how childhood rape and sexual abuse can significantly impact witness’s demeanor and ability to testify and report the abuse. The brief addressed how childhood trauma impairs brain development in key regions responsible for memory, reasoning, and planning. The amicus was filed in the Board of Immigration Appeals in a case in which Rosa Marisol is seeking gender-based asylum and withholding of removal. Crowell and Moring (February 16, 2018)

[pdf] N.Y.C.C. v. Whitaker Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals (November 26 2018) (+)

Amicus Brief in N.Y.C.C. v. Whitaker, NIWAP filed an Amicus Brief in N.Y.C.C. v. Whitaker in the Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. This brief explained that coercive control is one of the defining characteristics of domestic violence relationship as a result leaving a shared residence with an abuser does not bring an end to the abuse. Additionally, the brief discusses the particular dangers when the perpetrator engages in stalking his victim. Winston & Strawn LLP (November 26, 2018)

[pdf] In Re D.T. –O Maryland Court of Special Appeals (May 20 2021) (+)

“In Re D.T. –O” (Maryland Court of Special Appeals) NIWAP filed an amicus brief in a case before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals represented by K & L Gates LLP in a case in which Maryland State Child Protective Services used a parent’s immigration status and issues related to immigration status to terminate a parent’s parental rights. This amicus brief argues that federal preemption precludes Maryland from imposing penalties against undocumented immigrant parents fin custody and termination of parental rights cases. This together with failures to provide language access in this case violated the immigrant mother’s due process rights (May 20, 2021).

[pdf] Nguyen v. INS, 2000 (June 16 2000) U.S. App. LEXIS 6860 5th Circuit (+)

Nguyen v. INS, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 6860 (5th Cir. June 16 2000) Filed an brief in support of a
Petition of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court (2000) in an equal protection clause challenge to a federal immigration law that treats foreign born out-of-wedlock children of citizen mothers differently from similarly situated children of citizen fathers for purposes of obtaining citizenship. (Legal Momentum)

[pdf] O.M.G. et al v. Wolf et al. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (March 30 2020) (+)

O.M.G. v. Wolf (2020) U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. David Thronson, “Declaration filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in O.M.G. vs Wolf.” NIWAP coordinated a national team of law professors and recruited the law firm of Winston Strum to help draft and develop this declaration that discusses the dangers for children in DHS family detention centers, the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and provides an excellent overview with social science research data support of the impact of trauma for immigrant children in their neurobiological, cognitive, and psychological development and children’s health and well-being. Leslye E. Orloff assisted in drafting and editing the brief. (March 30, 2020)

[pdf] Friendly House Et Al., V. Michael B. Whiting Et Al., United States District Court Arizona (June 11 2010) (+)

Friendly House Et Al., V. Michael B. Whiting Et Al., United States District Court Arizona, (2010) Recruited by the ACLU, MALDEF, The National Immigration Law Center and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center to organize a women’s perspective amicus in support of plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction to stop implementation of key portions of Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation SB 1070. Legal Momentum also assisted in identifying immigrant victim plaintiff’s for this lawsuit. 83 women’s, violence against women’s and allied organizations joined the brief which demonstrated how SB 1070 interferes with federal protections for immigrant crime victims; cuts immigrant women and their children off from federally provided services necessary to protect life, health and safety, and harms children by depriving them of the care and nurturing of their mothers through detention leading to family separations. The Mexican Consulate translated this brief and is distributing it in Spanish. (Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips, Pro Bono)

[pdf] Pierre Salame Ajami v. Veronica Tescari Solano, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals (April 19 2022) (+)

“Pierre Salame Ajami v. Veronica Tescari Solano” (6 th Circuit Court of Appeals) NIWAP filed an Amicus Brief in
a 6 th Circuit Court of Appeals case in which a Venezuelan mother who had been granted asylum in the United
States as a victim of domestic violence was ordered by the District Court in a Hague Convention case to return her
children who had also been granted asylum in the U.S. to their father in Venezuela. This appeal highlighted the
error of law that the District Court made in failing to consider the fact that the mother and children had been
deemed credible by DHS and granted asylum. The brief provided social science data demonstrated how the District
Court had also failed to consider the impact of trauma on testimony of domestic violence victims. NIWAP was
represented by DLA Piper and Crowell and Moring represented the victim mother in this case. (April 19, 2022)

[pdf] Rivas et al., Amicus Supreme Court of California (March 21 2022) (+)

“Guardianship of S.H.R. v. Jesus Rivas” (Supreme Court of California). NIWAP filed an amicus brief in the
Supreme Court of California in a case in which the Court of Appeals wrongly denied an SIJS eligible child SIJS
predicate findings. The amicus brief developed by Manatt, Phelps and Phillips for NIWAP detailed the legislative
and regulatory history of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and discussed how the approach taken by the Court of
Appeals directly contradicts this legislative and regulatory history and the 2022 SIJS regulations issued by DHS.
The brief discussed how the courts below incorrectly applies laws of a foreign country when application of
California law is required by SIJS regulations, statutes and policies. The brief also discusses how it is
impermissible for court to fail to issue SIJS findings when there is uncontroverted credible evidence to support the
findings. The California Supreme Court in a unanimous decision with one concurrence adopted the approach
advocates by NIWAP’s amicus brief and the 2022 SIJS regulations relied up in the brief. (March 21, 2022; August
15, 2022)

[pdf] Aguilar-Jimenez Board of Immigration Appeals (2002) (+)

Aguilar-Jimenez, Board of Immigration Appeals (2002). Amicus brief discussing the “extreme cruelty” and “extreme hardship” standards in the context of requests for suspension of deportation under VAWA, specifically that extreme cruelty includes the psychological and emotional abuse imposed on a child who is forced to watch as a parent is battered by another parent. (Crowell and Moring Pro Bono)

[pdf] Cabezas (2010) US Citizenship and Immigration Service Administrative Appeals Office (+)

Esteban Cabezas is an appeal to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Administrative Appeals Office (2010) of a denial of a VAWA self-petition by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Vermont Service Center. This case raises important issues about the any credible evidence standard to be applied in VAWA self-petitioning cases and on immigration related abuse and the role this abuse plays as part of a pattern of extreme cruelty. (Andrew Taylor, Pro Bono)

[pdf] Leiva-Mendoza v. Holder (April 22 2011) United States Court Of Appeals For The 8th Circuit (+)

Leiva-Mendoza v. Holder, United States Court Of Appeals For The 8th Circuit (April 2 2011) discusses how a child’s witnessing of serious domestic violence perpetrated against their parent is a basis for granting VAWA cancellation of removal to children who witness domestic violence perpetrated against their parent even in cases in which the children have not themselves been abused. This amicus brief provided the court with the relevant research data on harm to children of witnessing abuse in the home and argued that requiring proof of “actual harm” to the child is not required to prove “extreme cruelty.”

[pdf] Access to Publicly Funded Legal Services for Immigrant Survivors (2014) (+)

In 2014, the Legal Service Corporation (LSC) issued regulations confirming that all immigrant crime victims are legally eligible for LSC funded legal services under anti-abuse regulations. This brochure discusses immigration status based eligibility as well as eligibility under anti-abuse laws. It provides advocates with a guide to immigrant crime victim access to LSC funded legal services, including an illustration on how VAWA, U-visa, and trafficking victims become eligible for LSC representation.

[pdf] USCIS and State Department: Intercountry Adoption Process Flow Chart of Key Steps (June 6, 2023) (+)

USCIS and the U.S. State Department developed this tool to assist judges and attorneys in the U.S. to better understand the intercountry adoption process for foreign born children from Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention countries. This tools helps ensure that the proper steps are followed so that the adopted child obtains a visa providing them legal immigration status and a path to naturalized citizenship.

[pdf] USCIS Fact Sheet: Adoption in U.S. Courts of Children from Hague Adoption Convention Countries (June 6, 2023) (+)

Foreign-born children in the United States who are adopted in a U.S. court may face immigration-related implications. Adoption alone does not give a child lawful immigration status. This fact sheet reviews the immigration implications for children from Hague Adoption Convention (“Convention” or “Hague”) countries who did not immigrate to the United States through the U.S. Convention process and are undergoing U.S. adoption proceedings.

[pdf] Advocate’s and Attorney’s Tool for Developing a Survivor’s Story: Trauma Informed Approach (April 27, 2023) (+)

A survivor’s story is one of the most important pieces of evidence submitted with the VAWA, U, and T visa applications, which makes them different from other immigration applications. This is an opportunity for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) adjudicators to hear directly from the survivor, in his or her 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. The 2023 update includes questions to assess stalking behaviors and risk factors.

[pdf] Affidavits Are Forever: Public Charge, Domestic Violence, and the Enforceability of Immigration Law’s Affidavit of Support (November 30, 2022) (+)

Law review article covering the history and court decisions regarding the enforceability of Affidavits of Support I-864. This article discusses how affidavits of support offer critical access to financial support for abused sponsored immigrants. I key focus of the article is the impact that affidavits of support have on U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident sponsoring spouses who are victims of spouse abuse perpetrated by the sponsor’s immigrant spouse whom the victim spouse can enforce the affidavit of support against their victim spouse and the victim spouse is under current law required to continuing supporting their abusive spouse or former spouse under the affidavit. The article proposes policy solutions that could end the requirement that an abused sponsor continue making affidavit of support payments to their abuser.

[pdf] Court’s Role in Promoting Access to Justice for Immigrant Survivors, Justice for Families, Technical Assistance Newsletter (January 25, 2023) (+)

This newsletter discusses immigration issues that arise for state court judges in custody, protection order and other family court proceedings and how courts benefit from being able to easily look up which public benefits and services the parties before the court and their children qualify for in the state. The article connects readers more detailed information and resources.

[vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet] Immigration Status: Work Authorization, Public Benefits, and Ability to Sponsor Children (December 30, 2021) (+)

This chart allows judges, lawyers and victim advocates to identify which immigrants are able to sponsor their children to attain legal immigration status in the U.S., if and when an immigrant has or will have access to work authorization, whether and when immigrants gain access to state and federal public benefits, the effect of divorce on immigration status and whether the immigrant controls their own immigration case or if they immigration case requires that the immigrant’s application for immigration relief requires a sponsor. This chart provides general answers to these questions, by the form of immigration status a noncitizen has or is pursuing and will help state courts, victim advocates and family lawyers quickly access legally correct information about how immigration laws may or may not impact parties in state family court cases. This chart also provides useful comparisons for immigration lawyers.

[pdf] Bench Card on Immigrant Crime Victim’s and Immigrant Children’s Access to Public Benefits and Services (December 31, 2021) (+)

This bench card provides an outline for judges of the publicly funded state and federal public benefits and services that are open to all immigrants without regard to immigration status. The bench card then describes at what points in an immigrant victim, child or other litigant’s immigration case process they gain again access to a broader range of state and federal public benefits including subsidized health care, food stamps, TANF, housing, post-secondary educational grants and loans and a wide range of other benefits. Having a list of which immigrant qualify for which benefits and services will help judges craft court orders in cases involving immigrnat children, crime victims and their families.

[pdf] Bench Card on Immigration Relief for Battered Spouses, Children, and Immigrant Crime Victims (December 31, 2021) (+)

This bench card provides an overview of immigraiton options for immigrant victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking and other crimes. It covers VAWA, battered spouse waiver, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U and T visas, continued presence and work authorization for abused spouses of visa holders. For each it provides an overview or eligibility and how each form of immigration relief helps victims.

[pdf] Bench Card: Impact of Divorce on Immigration Status (December 28, 2021) (+)

This bench card provides information for state court judges on whether and how divorce
may alter the ability of immigrant spouses, children and stepchildren to gain or maintain a legal
immigration status in the United States, including an immigration visa, lawful permanent
residency or naturalization. An immigration visa2 is specifically one that allows the immigrant
to live and work in the United States.

[pdf] DHS Enforcement Priorities, Courthouse Enforcement and Sensitive Location Policies and Memoranda Information for State Court Judges (December 27, 2021) (+)

The purpose of this bench card is to inform courts about DHS protections available to all immigrants who are litigants, crime victims, children or witness in court proceedings from immigration enforcement at courthouses. The bench card provides an overview of the forms of immigration relief created for immigrant survivors of crime and/or abuse, outlines DHS enforcement priorities, discusses how prosecutorial discretion will be exercised, describes which parents, children, family members, guardians, and other litigants will and will not likely be subject to immigration enforcement, discusses policies governing enforcement of civil immigration laws at courthouses, and presents information locations protected from immigration enforcement that will be useful to state court judges drafting visitation exchange, protection orders, criminal case bond orders and range other court orders.

[pdf] Family Court Bench Card on Issues that Arise in Custody Cases Involving Immigrant Parents, Children, and Crime Victims (October 13, 2013, Updated November 30, 2021) (+)

A quick reference for judges on issues that arise in custody cases involving immigrant parents, children, and crime victims. Discussing constitution protections for the parent child relationship applying to cases involving immigrant parents and their children without regard to immigration status, detention or deportation. Explaining which parents, children, litigants, witnesses are under current immigration laws likely to be removed from the U.S. and which although undocumented are not at risk of removal. Highlighting common myths about immigration law and providing legally correct information for courts to apply in making rulings when a party raises the immigration status of another party of child in state court custody proceedings.

[pdf] With No Place to Turn: Improving Legal Advocacy for Battered Immigrant Women (July 1, 1995) (+)

This article provides an overview of immigrant battered women’s legal rights and options in 1995. It discusses the VAWA self-petition, battered spouse waiver, VAWA’s new any credible evidence rules, as well as protection orders, language access, and preventing parental kidnapping.

[pdf] Child Custody Newsletter (October 27. 2021) (+)

This newsletter includes information on the legal rights of immigrant parents in state court custody proceedings and the common misconceptions surrounding immigration status and child custody. It includes a 2021 update that links to documents that track how state court judges need to be aware of legally correct information on which immigrants are are not likely to be removed based on immigration enforcement priority policies issued by the US Department of Homeland Security.

[pdf] When Family and Immigration Laws Intersect: Case Law and Department of Homeland Security Policy Update (September 30, 2021) (+)

This article looks at case law on custody and immigrant parents and the history and current U.S. Department of Homeland Security policies that confirm that in the vast majority of cases immigration status should not be a factor at all and in the limited cases when consideration may be appropriate not a determinative factor in child custody proceedings.. This article builds upon the articles published in 2013 and 2017 “Custody of Children in Mixed-Status Families: Preventing the Misunderstanding and Misuse of Immigration Status in State-Court Custody Proceedings” and “Winning Custody Cases for Immigrant Survivors: the Clash of Laws, Cultures, Custody and Parental Rights” (2017).

[pdf] When Immigration Issues Arise in Custody Cases Involving Immigrant Survivors: Strategies Roadmap for Family Lawyers Handout (January 24, 2013) (+)

Reference tool for family lawyers with information on best practices for responding when perpetrators of domestic violence and other parents raise the immigration status of a primary caretaker immigrant parent offensively to gain advantage in a state court custody proceeding.