Immigrants Victims Of Crimes
Many immigrants‘ victims of crimes are fearful to report the crime because they are afraid to get deported. U.S. law provides protection and help for victims of crimes. There are several ways to obtain an independent status for victims of crimes, such as:
U nonimmigrant status or U visa
Victim is not required to be in legal status, but he/she must be:
- A victim that has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse from following criminal activities:
- Domestic violence;
- Sexual assault;
- Abusive sexual contact;
- Sexual exploitation;
- Female genital mutilation;
- Being held hostage;
- Involuntary servitude;
- Slave trade;
- Unlawful criminal restraint;
- False imprisonment;
- Felonious assault;
- Witness tampering;
- Obstruction of justice;
- Possess credible and reliable information regarding the criminal activity;
- Assist government officials in the investigation or prosecution of such criminal activity;
- The criminal activity violated U.S. law or occurred in the United States (including Indian country and military installations) or the territories and possession of the United States. abuser does not need to be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and a victim does not have to have been married to the abuser to be eligible for a U visa. Moreover, a victim is not required to be physically present in the U.S. to qualify for a U visa. She/ He can apply from abroad as long as the criminal activity violated U.S. law or occurred in U.S. territories.
To obtain U status, the victim must obtain a certification from law enforcement, however only USCIS has an authority to adjudicate this benefit.
USCIS can only grant 10,000 U visas in each fiscal year.
T nonimmigrant Status
“Human trafficking” is modern day slavery. Victims forced to work in brutal and inhuman conditions. The T status/visa provides immigration protection to victims of severe forms of trafficking if they assist law enforcement in investigation and prosecution of criminals.
Violence Against Woman Act or VAWA
Victims of domestic violence who have or had qualifying relationship with U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser spouse, parent or child may be able to apply for green card by submitting self petition without needing the abuser to file on their behalf.