Domestic Violence Victim in Lawful Permanent Residency Win

November 15, 2005

Immigration Judge Terry A. Bain granted Cleary Gottlieb pro bono client Ms. P., a victim of severe domestic violence at the hands of her former U.S. citizen boyfriend, a “cancellation of removal.” This is a waiver of deportation under the Violence Against Women Act that results in lawful permanent residency.

This type of relief, available only before an Immigration Judge, normally is sought by domestic violence victims who are married to their abusers. Ms. P. never married her abuser but because they shared a son, she was able to apply as the parent of a child subject to extreme cruelty at the hands of a U.S. citizen parent. Although Ms. P.’s son did not suffer physically in the way his mother did (the abuse culminated in Ms. P killing her abuser in self-defense, of which she was acquitted), Cleary successfully argued that the child’s witnessing of abuse inflicted on his mother constituted extreme cruelty. The Department of Homeland Security waived its right to appeal the decision.