El Rescate provides legal representation to immigrant women, men and children who have been physically abused or subjected to extreme mental cruelty by a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent. VAWA allows the abused immigrant victim to self-petition the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to apply for legal status without the knowledge or cooperation of the abusive spouse or parent. This is significant because normally it is the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent who controls the immigration process. VAWA also permits an abused spouse of a child of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident to receive employment authorization and access to health benefits.