Hastings Women’s Law Journal


Olga Grosh


Despite the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that allows immigrant victims of battery and extreme cruelty to self-petition for changes to their immigration status, the protection that VAWA offers is severely hindered by conflict with immigration law. The assumption underlying immigration law that foreign bride marriages are fraudulent stigmatizes the immigrant wives or fiancees as women less deserving of independent relationship decisions. This reduces their autonomy and increases their vulnerability to domestic violence. This Note proposes that Congress could prevent tragic deaths by removing from battered immigrant brides the burden of overcoming the negative presumption that they entered into marriage solely for the purpose of immigration benefits. The government must also enforce and bolster the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) to inform and protect foreign brides.