The unfortunate reality is that some individuals in the United States suffer from physical abuse and battery at the hands of family members. The abusers and their victims may be either permanent residents or citizens. Abusers may try to use their victims' status to keep them quiet if the victim is not a permanent resident or a citizen yet. Abusers realize that the family connection is an important part of the immigration process.
The good news is that the U.S. government understands that this happens, and they have set up a system to protect those who need it most. Victims can file their own petitions to immigrate without the support of the abusive family member. Victims may be spouses, children or even parents. Every situation is different.
If you find yourself in this position, you may worry that the abuser will discover what you are doing and retaliate. While nothing can ensure that the abuser will never find out, you should know that this petition can be filed without telling the abuser anything. No input from them is needed. The government does not notify that person about your status changes or the filing of the petition.
This gives you the opportunity to file on your own and seek true independence. Many people who suffer from abuse stay in the abusive relationship because they feel dependent on their abusers, and trapped in the situation. This system removes some of that pressure and increases the safety of those being abused.
If you think that this is the right move for you, make sure you know exactly what legal steps you'll need to take to file your petition.