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Joni Pobedinsky

Document Type


Publication Date



Paralegal Studies

Faculty Advisor

Margaret Phillips, JD


In the United States, some immigrant women, especially those who are unauthorized, suffer abuse and exploitation. These women often depend on a U.S. citizen or “Lawful Permanent Resident” spouse (LPR) to petition on their behalf, or their legal status may be tied to their spouse’s employment. Dependence on an abusive spouse for legal status creates a system where immigrant victims fear deportation if they report the abuse and exploitation they suffer. In these cases, the precarious legal status of immigrant women is used by a spouse as a tool of control, often silencing the victims through threats of reporting them to legal authorities. This project addresses the way in which the United States government has responded to gender-based violence and exploitation of immigrant victims, specifically by amending The Immigration and Nationality Act (NIA) with The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (42 U.S.C. §§ 13701-14040) (1994).