As a person falsely-accused of domestic violence by an immigrant, your first course of action is to minimize ongoing contacts with your spouse and eliminate the opportunity for your spouse to make additional accusations of abuse:

  • Do not allow your spouse to verbally or physically provoke you.
  • If possible, move out of the marital home. Do not let your spouse know where you are living. Do not return to the home so your spouse cannot twist this into an allegation of stalking.
  • If your spouse has already moved out of the marital home, change the locks. (But first check with your lawyer about the legality of this action).
  • Do not confront your spouse, or speak to mutual friends, about your suspicions. Do not mention the word “divorce.”
  • Do not talk to friends of your spouse without a witness present.
  • Do not post any information about your spouse on an Internet discussion group or blog.

Your second course of action is to protect your financial assets and legal documents:

  • Withdraw funds from any joint accounts as soon as possible. Find out if community property laws are in effect in your state.
  • Remove documents from your house that might be of use in an immigration or divorce case. Locate them in a safe deposit box or other safe location.
  • Keep written copies of the notes of your attorney’s recommendations with you at all times. These papers can be shown to the police if they come to your new residence on new false charges of abuse.
  • Do not sign any legal documents on behalf of your spouse.

Your third course of action is to withdraw sponsorship of your spouse for a work authorization (“Green Card”) and United States citizenship:

  • If you have applied for a change of immigration status for your spouse and the application is still being considered, withdraw the application immediately.
  • If your spouse’s change of status has already been approved, you can still withdraw your support, but this does not end your financial obligations should the person later become a “burden on the state.”
  • Send a notarized letter to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS). Write a detailed summary of your relationship with your spouse, beginning from the first time you communicated with that person until the present time. Be sure to send the letter “return receipt requested” for proof of delivery.
  • Write your Representative and Senators. Request them to send a letter on your behalf to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service to investigate the case of immigration fraud.

Americans accused of domestic violence by an immigrant spouse have fewer rights than if they are accused by an American citizen. Act quickly and aggressively to protect yourself in such a situation.

SAVE Special Report:

Domestic Violence-Related Immigration Fraud

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