Immigration Protection And Steps For Victims Of Crime Or Violence
Noncitizens who are in the U.S. are vulnerable to being victims of crime, in part because they fear that reporting a crime committed against them could result in their own deportation. U.S. lawmakers have created protections for immigrants who have been victims of certain crimes, whether they are in the U.S. legally or not. These include:
- Domestic violence
- Human trafficking/slave trade
- False imprisonment
- Sexual assault and sexual exploitation
- Female genital mutilation
- Obstruction of justice
- Manslaughter and murder
At the law office of Steven C. Thal, P.A., we help immigrants who are crime victims stop the crimes that are being committed against them and pursue legal means to remain in the U.S.
U Nonimmigrant Status
The U visa program was created by passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. U visas are issued to crime victims who have suffered mental or physical abuse and who assist law enforcement officers or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. The program is designed to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of sexual assault and other violent crimes while providing a safety net for noncitizens who are victims of these crimes.
T Nonimmigrant Status
The T visa provides noncitizens protection from human trafficking, a crime that commonly targets immigrants because of their vulnerability. Undocumented residents are often lured to the U.S. by a promise of steady employment and then forced to work in inhumane conditions. You do not have to be in the U.S. legally to apply for T nonimmigrant status. In order to be eligible, a person must show that he or she is or was a victim of trafficking, and that you would suffer from extreme hardship if you were removed from the U.S. A victim also must agree to assist law enforcement authorities with the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (unless you are under 18 or unable to cooperate due to psychological or physical trauma).
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Women immigrants who are in an abusive relationship with a legal resident of the U.S. should not have to remain victims of violence merely because their immigration status is tied to their abuser. Passed by Congress in 1994, VAWA establishes protection under U.S. immigration law for women who are not legal citizens of the U.S. or who do not have a visa. It allows female victims of abuse to obtain lawful status without needing to rely on an abuser who may have originally petitioned for them. We can help you file Form I-360 to petition for legal status without the abuser’s knowledge.
If you are a spouse, parent or child of a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident (LPR) and you are in an abusive relationship, we can help you pursue legal resident status and take steps to protect you from further abuse.