Undocumented victims of domestic violence weigh seeking help against risk of deportation
by Leighton Akio Woodhouse
March 29 2017
Courtesy The Intercept
M. AND HER former partner met in 2004 at the frozen food factory where they both worked in Los Angeles. Like M., he was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. When they started going out, he was generous. M. had a son from a prior relationship, and her partner would bring food to her house, as if he cared for both of them. In retrospect, M. recalls, it seemed like an act.
The couple went on to have two sons of their own, but the knowledge that M.’s oldest son was the child of another man threw her partner into fits of enraged jealously. He would come home drunk and beat M. and her oldest son, occasionally hurting the younger children as well. M. (who asked that her name be withheld for her safety) called the police over and over again. Her partner was arrested several times.
One day in 2013, when M.’s partner was jailed after an abusive incident, the godmother of one of her sons referred her to a local domestic violence shelter. A staff member at the shelter suggested she petition for a U Visa.