Many immigrants without lawful status in the United States fail to make a police report when they have been the victim of a crime, usually because they are afraid of being arrested and deported. However, many of these victims are in fact eligible to obtain lawful status based on their victimization. U non-immigrant status (better known as the “U Visa”) is one of the benefits the United States government affords to immigrant victims of crime.
The U.S. government has a keen interest in prosecuting crimes and protecting crime victims. To further those ends, the government has created a number of immigration options for immigrants who have been the victims of criminal activity.
- U Non-immigrant Status/U Visa: Congress created U non-immigrant status (popularly known as the U visa) to encourage immigrant crime victims to cooperate with police and prosecutors in criminal cases. Immigrants who have been the victims of assault, domestic violence, robbery, sexual abuse or exploitation, or any number of other crimes may qualify for a U visa if they are willing to cooperate with law enforcement.
- T Non-immigrant Status/T Visa: Congress created T non-immigrant status (popularly known as the T visa) to assist those immigrants who have been the victims of severe forms of human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Candidates for the T visa must comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of a human trafficking offense, and demonstrate they would suffer extreme hardship involving severe and unusual harm if they were removed from the United States.
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): The Violence Against Women Act created several options for immigrant victims abused at the hands U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens, and certain spouses and children of permanent residents, can file a petition for themselves for permanent resident status. Despite the name, VAWA benefits are available to both men and women.
VERDIN attorneys are highly experienced in obtaining deferred action and crime victim benefits for qualifying clients.