The production of the "battered immigrant" in public policy and domestic violence advocacy

J Interpers Violence. 2008 Feb;23(2):153-70. doi: 10.1177/0886260507308317.


In the context of U.S. public policy, battered immigrant signifies a person who is eligible to adjust his or her status under immigration law if he or she can demonstrate they have suffered domestic violence in the United States perpetrated by a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Among community organizers, the term battered immigrant signifies a broader range of people for whom legal immigration status plays a role in their options for safety planning and/or leaving an abuser, the potential threat of deportation, and the eligibility for public benefits. Based on an ethnographic study of domestic violence advocacy with South Asian immigrants in Seattle and around the United States, this article examines how the difference in signification has direct social and political consequences with regard to who may access the benefits and protection offered to victims of domestic violence in the United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Crime Victims / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Emigration and Immigration / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Female
  • Government Regulation
  • Humans
  • Public Policy*
  • Spouse Abuse / ethnology
  • Spouse Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Spouse Abuse / prevention & control
  • United States
  • Vulnerable Populations / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Women's Health / legislation & jurisprudence*