Immigration / Domestic Violence

Carly first met her husband in Lebanon. After 5 years of courtship, with Carly visiting him in California and him flying to Lebanon, they decided to get married. He was attentive, caring and shared the same family values as Carly. They were a young, happy couple. Carly was excited to start her new life with her new husband in California.

However, after they were married and Carly moved to the U.S., his attitude towards her began to change. He prohibited Carly from making friends or going out to socialize. He did not allow her to work, have a bank account or credit card, thus making her financially dependent on him. Carly was only given enough money to take care of necessities. Although the couple had two kids together, Carly’s husband treated her poorly and controlled where she could go with the kids. He became emotionally and verbally abusive, calling her names and talking down to her in front of family and friends.

When their second child was just one-month old, Carly’s husband left her alone at home for a 2-month period. She had no where to go as he had not allowed her to get a driver’s license. Carly felt helpless. When he returned, he continued with his cold manner. When she spoke up or tried to call the police, he would threaten to beat her. Carly felt helpless and alone.

After 6 years of marriage, her husband only became more and more abusive. Carly was put in social isolation and was cut from all ties to the outside world. She was even prohibited from attending her family’s reunion. Eventually, Carly bravely filed for divorce. She began living alone with some help from her sister who sent money from Lebanon. However, she had no means of supporting herself and her kids. Although they had been married for over 6 years, her
husband had told her he filed a petition for her citizenship, but in fact, he never had.

Carly was then referred to ALA. With ALA’s help, she was able to get immigration relief through the Violence Against Women Act, allowing spouses of U.S. citizens who were victims of domestic violence to self-petition for citizenship. ALA was able to obtain Carly a work permit and eventually adjusted her status to a permanent resident. Carly can now work and start a new life independent of her ex-husband.

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