Anastasia

The reality, however, is that a victim of domestic abuse, who is also an undocumented immigrant, has access to special types of visas on the condition of compliance with police. U Visas, for example, are available to undocumented immigrants who have been victims of some sort of crime, including domestic assault, who are willing to assist police in the criminal investigation. What sets that visa apart from other conditional visas is that the victim does not need to be married to the abuser, nor does the abuser need to be an American citizen or a legal permanent resident. The lack of education and awareness about those types of options, however, in combination with fear of the police and taunting from abusers, is what keeps many undocumented immigrants from speaking up.

“Most believe the police won’t help you, some even have their abusers telling them there is nothing the police will do,” said Anastasia. “Terrifying them by telling them that if they go, they won’t be helped, they’ll just be deported. That’s what I was told time and time again. What people have to realize is that it does not matter who you are, if you are an immigrant and are living in a situation like that, you must speak up, communicate with and trust that the police will help you. You must always remember that.”

Anastasia said that now, a year later, she can finally give advice relating to her situation, one that according to her did not always seem too hopeful. Her story began in Hidalgo, Mexico, where she was born. There, she met a man and had her first daughter, Diana. When that marriage did not work out, she chose to move to the United States in search of better opportunities. According to Anastasia, the fact that she was a single mom made the possibility of reaching any success nearly impossible in Mexico.

“I came here in search of a different life,” Anastasia said. “It’s what we are all looking for—better opportunities, a better life. If you have a good job here, you can get ahead, but that’s not the case in Mexico.”