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Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project


Angela was a university student when she met “John”, a U.S. citizen, over the internet through a mutual friend.  They quickly became interested in each other, and the relationship developed through e-mails and phone calls.  Soon John proposed that she drop out of school and marry him.  Angela was more traditional and would not agree to marry him until they had known each other for at least a year and had met in person.  John traveled to her Asian country to be with her, and she agreed to marry him. While her visa application was in process, they stayed in constant contact.  Angela was occasionally startled by the bursts of temper John sometimes exhibited, but thought they would improve when John and she could finally be together in the U.S.  Instead, she arrived at her new home in Maine to a warm welcome from her husband's family and community, but to even stranger behavior from him. Several times John hit her "accidentally" when they were working outdoors. He began yelling at her in public, swearing at her and demeaning her English. Soon he was telling her he wished she were dead. He threatened to drown her and once held a pillow over her face. She found a large rusty knife hidden in their bedroom.  When finally he tried deliberately to crash the car they were driving in, she realized John truly was capable of killing her. Soon afterwards, she fled to a local shelter for victims of domestic violence, which put her in touch with ILAP.  ILAP helped Angela file paperwork with Immigration that allowed her to work and live independently while she sought protections as an abuse victim. With ILAP’s help, Angela convinced Immigration officials that she had married John in good faith, and that the marriage had failed due to his abuse.  A year after fleeing to safety, Immigration granted Angela her permanent residency.

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