“It has given me life.” Latinas and the U-Visa: A Qualitative Study

Shireen S. Rajaram, Ana Barrios, Elisha Novak, Jossy Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Women, particularly undocumented women, are at an increased risk for gender-based violence including intimate partner violence (IPV). Women’s lack of legal immigration status is often used as a tool of dominance and control of undocumented women. The Victim of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act 2000 created the U-Visa that provides undocumented IPV victims with lawful immigration status if they are willing to assist authorities in investigating crimes. The objective of this study is to better understand the benefits of obtaining the U-Visa from the perspectives of Latina U-Visa recipients who are survivors of IPV. In this community-based qualitative research study involving IPV survivors, community leaders, service providers and academics, we collected qualitative data through interviews with 20 participants including 15 survivors of IPV who were U-Visa recipients. Interviews were digitally-recorded, transcribed and translated, and analyzed using a qualitative software to develop key themes. Women received a $20 gift card as a token of appreciation for their participation in this study. Findings highlight key benefits such as improved mental health, renewed confidence and self-esteem, self-confidence, less perceived exploitation, access to better jobs and housing, freedom to travel, and improved economic and social well-being for visa recipients and their families. Obtaining the U-Visa was a transformative and life-changing experience for Latina survivors of IPV. Social policies such as TVPA help support vulnerable women who are victims of IPV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-204
Number of pages18
JournalGender Issues
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Keywords

  • Immigration
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Latinas
  • Policy
  • Underserved
  • Undocumented

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies

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