Please help! New in the US in abusive relationship

#1
Hello everyone, I have been reading the forums a lot lately and finally found the courage to post. I really hope that I find the help I need with you guys. My story is complicated. I will try to organize my points well. Please ask if you need clarification.

I am a female immigrant who came here on a Fiance Visa. Our marriage was somewhat arranged but we spoke and got to know each other for 2 years before finally committing to moving to USA to live with him. Unfortunately, I found out that phone/long distance relationships don't really help in getting to know the person because once I came here, I found a completely different person than the one I knew over the phone.

My husband has a previous failed marriage experience and seems to have been traumatized by it. He seems to have married someone from overseas to keep in the dark and only feed the information he wants/sees fit to share. A lot of what he told me is false and I am just starting to learn more about my rights and legal issues... Long story short, he did not want to marry me legally within 90 days. But, under pressure, he did 2 days before expiration date.

He owns a small grocery business. He lives with his parents. His father (my father in law) is verbally abusive and has physically assaulted other members of the family, just not me yet. They force me to work, unpaid, in the store (regardless of my legal work permission, they force me to work unpaid). Not only that but he doesn't care about developing a relationship with me. He leaves me and goes on vacations alone. He seems to have psych issues from his previous marriage and I really don't know why he even married me.

I left my home, job, and everything to immigrate here for him and I am completely thrown in the dark here. Everything he told me about my visa is apparently wrong. He refuses to adjust my status, he avoids me like the plague, and he allow his father to verbally abuse me while forcing me to work in their store. It's as if he brought a free worker to use as he pleases.

Here are some details followed by questions that I hope you guys can help me with:

1) I came to the US on a K1 visa in January 2019.
2) I got married within 90 days BUT my husband switched my first & last name on the certificate.
3) K1 expired in April 2019.
4) He refuses to adjust my status. He claims that he does not have the money to do so and that the application + lawyer will cost $6,000. A friend offered to lend me the cost but he still refuses to do it.

Questions:
1) My friend says that I am at risk of deportation. Is that true?
2) If so, how do they find me? What triggers me being found to be deported?
3) Can I travel by plane WITHIN the states? I have a cousin in TX that I'd like to go to if things get worse.
4) What are the forms that he needs to submit? I-485 and I-130? Anything else?
5) If he continues to refuse to apply, is there any way for me to adjust my own status?
6) If anyone knows about divorce, female rights, or immigrant rights, can they get in trouble for forcing me to work illegally and unpaid? What are my legal rights in this case?
7) Are these things ground to file for divorce without being deported? I really don't want to go back to my country and have to start everything over, on my own, from scratch.
8) Should I seek help from a lawyer? If so, should it be a divorce or an immigration lawyer? I don't have money for lawyers, how does that work?
9) HOW LONG does adjusting status take? I live near Springfield, VA. How long will it take to adjust my status?
10) Finally, if his father physically assaults me, can I call the cops? Will I be deported if I seek help from the local police? I am really scared that he may retaliate if I speak up.

I appreciate any input and help. I am new in the country and don't know what to do.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#2
Serious question: are you more interested in adjusting status or escaping an abusive relationship? It seems to me like your best bet, seeing as you just arrived really, is to divorce and go back home (or even just go back home and institute divorce proceedings from there, I presume that will be cheaper for you). I can't see how "starting everything over on your own from scratch" can be harder in your home country than in one you just arrived in half a year ago and where you don't really have anything at all judging from what you have said. (This is even aside from the fact that as a K1 entrant you have no other route afaik to adjust status.) I wish you the best of luck, but I honestly think the best route out of your situation is to leave it immediately and go back home. Use some of the money your friend is offering for a plane ticket and repay it once you are re-established at home.
 

1AurCitizen

Registered Users (C)
#3
Agree with SusieQQQ suggestion above.

OP ought to get away from the abusive marriage asap, and return to her home country where she should be able to get the support she needs from her family. Returning to the home country where you were living in a mere 6 months ago isn't starting from scratch. And initiate divorce proceedings in that country where she should be safe from any retribution from those who mistreat her like her current husband/inlaws.
 

newacct

Well-Known Member
#4
Hello everyone, I have been reading the forums a lot lately and finally found the courage to post. I really hope that I find the help I need with you guys. My story is complicated. I will try to organize my points well. Please ask if you need clarification.

I am a female immigrant who came here on a Fiance Visa. Our marriage was somewhat arranged but we spoke and got to know each other for 2 years before finally committing to moving to USA to live with him. Unfortunately, I found out that phone/long distance relationships don't really help in getting to know the person because once I came here, I found a completely different person than the one I knew over the phone.

My husband has a previous failed marriage experience and seems to have been traumatized by it. He seems to have married someone from overseas to keep in the dark and only feed the information he wants/sees fit to share. A lot of what he told me is false and I am just starting to learn more about my rights and legal issues... Long story short, he did not want to marry me legally within 90 days. But, under pressure, he did 2 days before expiration date.

He owns a small grocery business. He lives with his parents. His father (my father in law) is verbally abusive and has physically assaulted other members of the family, just not me yet. They force me to work, unpaid, in the store (regardless of my legal work permission, they force me to work unpaid). Not only that but he doesn't care about developing a relationship with me. He leaves me and goes on vacations alone. He seems to have psych issues from his previous marriage and I really don't know why he even married me.

I left my home, job, and everything to immigrate here for him and I am completely thrown in the dark here. Everything he told me about my visa is apparently wrong. He refuses to adjust my status, he avoids me like the plague, and he allow his father to verbally abuse me while forcing me to work in their store. It's as if he brought a free worker to use as he pleases.

Here are some details followed by questions that I hope you guys can help me with:

1) I came to the US on a K1 visa in January 2019.
2) I got married within 90 days BUT my husband switched my first & last name on the certificate.
3) K1 expired in April 2019.
4) He refuses to adjust my status. He claims that he does not have the money to do so and that the application + lawyer will cost $6,000. A friend offered to lend me the cost but he still refuses to do it.

Questions:
1) My friend says that I am at risk of deportation. Is that true?
2) If so, how do they find me? What triggers me being found to be deported?
3) Can I travel by plane WITHIN the states? I have a cousin in TX that I'd like to go to if things get worse.
4) What are the forms that he needs to submit? I-485 and I-130? Anything else?
5) If he continues to refuse to apply, is there any way for me to adjust my own status?
6) If anyone knows about divorce, female rights, or immigrant rights, can they get in trouble for forcing me to work illegally and unpaid? What are my legal rights in this case?
7) Are these things ground to file for divorce without being deported? I really don't want to go back to my country and have to start everything over, on my own, from scratch.
8) Should I seek help from a lawyer? If so, should it be a divorce or an immigration lawyer? I don't have money for lawyers, how does that work?
9) HOW LONG does adjusting status take? I live near Springfield, VA. How long will it take to adjust my status?
10) Finally, if his father physically assaults me, can I call the cops? Will I be deported if I seek help from the local police? I am really scared that he may retaliate if I speak up.

I appreciate any input and help. I am new in the country and don't know what to do.
He does not "adjust your status". You file I-485 for Adjustment of Status. I-130 is not needed because you are adjusting status based on marrying within 90 days of entry on K-1. (I am not sure whether the switched names on the marriage certificate is an issue, but it is probably something that can be corrected and does not make the marriage invalid.) However, he will need to sign an I-864 Affidavit of Support as part of your I-485, and if he refuses to do that, there is no way for you to adjust status. You will pay a fee of $1225 for I-485; he doesn't need to pay anything since he's not filing anything.

You are out of status and deportable but that doesn't matter as long as you file Adjustment of Status. It is a little risky to travel before you file I-485, especially if you will be going within 100 miles of the border. Adjustment of Status can take a year or so, but once you file, you are staying legally in the US for as long as it is pending. With your I-485, you can file I-765 for EAD and I-131 for Advance Parole, both for free, so you can work and/or travel internationally respectively.

If you divorce, it will be extremely hard for your Adjustment of Status to be approved. If you are not going to do Adjustment of Status, you should leave the US before October to avoid triggering a ban for leaving the US after accruing 180 days of unlawful presence.

I wouldn't worry about "getting them in trouble" for employing you. Just worry about your own situation. You will have to truthfully disclose the unauthorized work on your I-485, but it won't affect your Adjustment of Status in your category. You are an adult; just refuse to work if you don't want to do it; they can't "force" you to do anything.

If someone physically assaults you, you should probably report it to the police. The police probably won't care about immigration status, but it is possible for the assaulter to retaliate and report you to the ICE or something. If you have a pending I-485 at that point, you shouldn't be at risk of deportation, but if you don't, and they report you, and then your husband refuses to file I-864 for you so you have no way of filing Adjustment of Status, then you will probably have no choice but to leave. If it's your husband who assaults you, you might be able to adjust status based on VAWA, but if it's his father, I am not sure if there are any good options (maybe U status?).
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#5
Doesn't sound like OP's spouse will be keen to sign an i864, especially if OP plans to take off to Texas. I will note that judging by the order they are asked, the questions seem more focused on how she will be found/possibility of being deported than other issues. (On that note, yes there are ICE agents doing random checks at airports in Texas. Been reported a few times in the news.)

I do agree that if OP is physically assaulted the police should definitely be called. In most places I agree that they likely won't ask or care about immigration status.
 

1AurCitizen

Registered Users (C)
#6
OP's queries appear focused on seeking ways to remain in the US and avoiding any potential deportation.. and not as geared towards dealing with the verbal abuse she is claiming. She stated her FIL, and not her spouse has been verbally abusive. The way to end this would be to return to her home country and seek the support and counsel of her family. She hasn't stated which country.

I initially missed the part that she does not have authorization to work, and is working illegally.

An oddity.. OP wrote 'under pressure, he married 2 days before expiration date' of the K1 entry. What sort of pressure?
 
#8
Thank you all for your feedback. I'm happy to share and put your wonders at ease :)
- Arranged may not be the perfect word. His sister was a friend of mine and lives in my home country, she knew that he wanted to marry someone from overseas. Our families arranged for us to meet but we had a say in it all. We talked for 2 years before I moved here but a lot of what was said isn't true, as I know now.

- The pressure put within the first 3 months was me leaving. It mattered more to him back then because that was something that I was 100% confident of. I was told at the embassy and the airport that I needed to marry within 90 days.

Thank you for the advice. I know that starting with family is relatively easier. It's hard to go into all personal details regarding my lack of support back home. I would rather try here like someone said. My priorities are avoiding a legal issue and deportation, ending a failed marriage before drowning even more, and then figuring out my life. It will be difficult either way but I don't want to give up easily because I was tricked into a situation that I didn't sign up for. If that makes any sense..
 

1AurCitizen

Registered Users (C)
#9
Your focus continues to be trying everything in the US, come what may. Despite all the advice here.

You are currently deportable and out of status since your hubby is unlikely to help you file anything due to the failing (failed?) marriage. Working illegally is not helping your cause because you are breaking US laws.

If your marriage is a lost cause, then returning home would avoid a legal issue and deportation, something you've prioritized avoiding. The safety of your home country is likely the best option that provides you with an alternative to deal with divorce and your future with a refreshed mindset.

Even if you were in status, you cannot convert to any other status as a K1 admittee.
 

Jbuff

Active Member
#10
I've been following this thread. OP is well spoken.
Obviously Educated. She doesn't want nor care to go back to her home country.

OP you've gotten advice that you would normally have to pay for. FYI It's good advice!!

My question is, why ask advice on how to proceed moving forward. when clearly your mind is already made up? As in you're not going to go back home!! Despite that being your only logical route, based on the info you've given here.

Anyways Good Luck hope Everything works out well for you.
 
#11
I have an undergraduate degree from an American university overseas. I learned English since elementary school, hence my fluency.

My mind is foggy and isn't made up. I am trying to gather information to make an informed decision. I prefer to stay and work my way here but I wouldn't put myself in legal risks for that. That's why I decided to seek answers.

Thanks you for your help.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#12
From the thread on another forum, it subsequently appears that OP actually got married religiously in home country before entering the US, thereby invalidating the K1 she entered on and raising a whole host of other issues. There appears to be no path to staying in the US.
 

1AurCitizen

Registered Users (C)
#13
From the thread on another forum, it subsequently appears that OP actually got married religiously in home country before entering the US, thereby invalidating the K1 she entered on and raising a whole host of other issues. There appears to be no path to staying in the US.
Yeah I saw that too.

I came to know of one family in my social circle that married their US-born son in India, only to hide that marriage to go for a K1. Why, because they assumed it'll get the daughter in law into the US faster. But they've since regretted going that route once they realized the higher costs and length of time to get a green card in hand.

The educated OP knew the K1 required her to be not married, yet she religiously married just prior to US travel. If she couldn't leave her house without being married religiously, why did she go along with a K1. That is visa fraud, and she entered the US with illegal pretense.

She does mention eastern culture. I reckon South Asian, but OP has been cagey about nationality in both forums. She has threads in several India/Asia-centric forums.
 
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1AurCitizen

Registered Users (C)
#14
I've been following this thread. OP is well spoken.
Obviously Educated. She doesn't want nor care to go back to her home country.

OP you've gotten advice that you would normally have to pay for. FYI It's good advice!!

My question is, why ask advice on how to proceed moving forward. when clearly your mind is already made up? As in you're not going to go back home!! Despite that being your only logical route, based on the info you've given here.

Anyways Good Luck hope Everything works out well for you.
OP 'forgot' to mention her overseas marriage in the initial post and to the CBP at POE. That makes her K1 kinda invalid.
 
#15
If her marriage in her home country is religious but not legally bound under US law technically she has broken no rules under her K1 status. Her options are:

1. Try to rebuild her marriage with her sponsoring spouse. Honestly, with love and relationships sometimes things aren't completely lost.

2. Return to her home country. Although from the thread OP says that isn't an option.

3. Divorce, and potentially fall in love again. If USCIS can prove no fraud involved and she meets and falls in love again she can then adjust status although she will have a bit of a battle as to why her former spouse didn't fully file.

OP these are tough decisions to make which can affect your future in the US but as you stated you want to stay in legal status. If I were you if you have any money for a legal consultation I would advise you to go that route just so you know your clear cut options.

Best of luck!
 

newacct

Well-Known Member
#16
3. Divorce, and potentially fall in love again. If USCIS can prove no fraud involved and she meets and falls in love again she can then adjust status although she will have a bit of a battle as to why her former spouse didn't fully file.
Someone who entered on K1 cannot do Adjustment of Status except through the US citizen who petitioned them for K1.
 
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