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More than victims: Resiliency of undocumented Latinas near Chicago, United States, and the strategic use of psychological suffering in obtaining legal status

Stephanie Jean Kohl

Abstract

Caught between abusive partners and restrictive immigration law, many undocumented Latina women are vulnerable to domestic violence in the United States. This article analyzes the U-Visa application process experienced by undocumented immigrant victims of domestic violence and their legal advisors in a suburb of Chicago, United States. Drawing on theoretical concepts of structural violence and biological citizenship, the article highlights the strategic use of psychological suffering related to domestic violence by applicants for such visas. It also investigates the complex intersection between immigration law and a humanitarian clause that creates a path towards legal status and eventual citizenship.

Keywords

domestic violence; mental health; U-Visa; Latina; children

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