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The United States has a culture of humanitarianism that permeates our history. The desire Americans have to help others is sewn into our immigration laws. As such, there are a variety of non-immigrant protection methods for children, individuals that have been victims of crime, the abused, persecuted, and displaced. And while these are initially non-immigrant options, many ultimately lead to Lawful Permanent Residence—a green card.
To encourage cooperation with law enforcement and help prosecute criminals, victims of qualifying crimes committed in the U.S. or human trafficking can remain legally in the U.S. by obtaining a U-visa for victims of crime or a T-visa for victims of human trafficking. Victims must cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution.
|Abusive Sexual Contact||Involuntary Servitude||Sexual Exploitation
|False Imprisonment||Obstruction of Justice||Trafficking|
|Female Genital Mutilation||Peonage||Witness Tampering
|Felonious Assault||Perjury||Unlawful Criminal Restraint
|Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting||Prostitution||Other Related Crimes*†
Minors that arrive in the U.S. without their parents, who cannot be reunited with their parents due to neglect, abuse, or abandonment, and who are found dependent by a juvenile court, can apply for Special Juvenile Immigrant (SIJ) status. If the application is granted, the minor will become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and receive a green card. However, the juvenile can never petition for his/her parents to come to the U.S.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a program put into place by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under it’s administrative authority that defers removal of individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children under the age of 16; who have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007; who had no lawful status, were physically present in the country, and were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; are currently in school, have graduated, have a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces; and have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.
For those who meet the DACA criteria and are successful with their petition, they will receive a deferred status , an Employment Authorization Document (Work Permit) and a Social Security Number, which in most states allows one to legally obtain a driver’s license.
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and subsequent acts and reauthorizations establish a process for abused spouses and children of U.S. Citizens (USC) and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and parents of USCs, to file a self-petition independently from the abusive USC or LPR. The petitioner must demonstrate good moral character, a good faith marriage where applicable, and meet other requirements. If you are in an abusive relationship, or have recently separated or divorced from the abuser, contact our immigration attorneys. You do not need the abuser’s cooperation.
Those who have a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion” and are unable or unwilling to return to their country of nationality and unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country, may be eligible for refugee or asylum status. A refugee is outside of the U.S. and an asylee is physically present in the U.S. or at a land border or port of entry of the U.S.
Certain actions trigger a mandatory denial of asylum, including:
If the 1 year time limit passed and extraordinary circumstances caused the delay in filing, or there has been a change in circumstances that materially affect the eligibility for asylum, a second petition may be filed.
Also, If circumstances that materially affect eligibility change after the denial of a first petition, a new petition may be filed.
Even if statutorily eligible, an Immigration Judge has the discretion to deny an asylum petition.
If you have a fear of persecution in your country, you need the guidance of a U.S. Immigration Attorney. Contact our office at the number below to schedule an appointment with one of our immigration attorneys.