If immigration is stressful for the average person going through the process, then it can be downright traumatic for the person facing a humanitarian immigration crisis. I want to help alleviate the burdens on your difficult life, so you can focus on the health and well-being of yourself, your family, and your friends.
- I-918 Application for U Visa (Crime Victim Visa)
- I-360 Special Immigrant Petitions under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
- I-360 Petitions for Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ)
- Deferred Action and Visitor Visa Extensions for Individuals facing sudden medical complications
- Humanitarian Parole
- Temporary Protected Status for international crises
While it may seem like today’s administration is completely against all immigrants, there still remains a small part of their heart for those people at their lowest or worst. Special programs exist to help individuals facing tragic situations, and until the administration completely cracks down on these options, they should still be considered for those who are clearly eligible.
U Visas – Visa for victims of crimes and their immediate family members who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. U Nonimmigrants must establish:
- The applicant must have been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity.
- The applicant must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of these criminal activities.
- The applicant must have information concerning that criminal activity.
- The applicant must have been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
- The criminal activity occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
- The applicant is admissible to the United States under current U.S. immigration laws and regulations.
Qualifying U Visa crimes include domestic violence, false imprisonment, felonious assault, kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, and unlawful criminal restraint among others. The visa can be issued for four years and can result in lawful permanent residency. The visa category authorizes your derivative family members to obtain benefits. Unfortunately there is an annual numerical cap on the visa category and a substantial backlog before issuance of the U. Once a U visa application is placed on the wait list, the applicant is eligible for work authorization, but processing times are so behind that it may be years before this occurs. Still, this is the only option a family may have.
I-360 Special Immigrant under the Violence Against Women Act – Allows the spouses, parents, or minor children, male or female, of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to self-petition for permanent residency if subject to abuse or extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent, or child. If a marital relationship, the couple must establish that the marriage was in good faith. All applicants must establish that they have good moral character. Once approved, the applicant can obtain benefits and work authorization. Once a visa is available, the immigrant can also apply for permanent residency, and the eligibility requirements are more lenient than for other applicants for residency.
I-360 Special Immigrant Juvenile – Unmarried minors present in the U.S. and subject to a valid juvenile court order issued by a state court which finds that: you are dependent on the court, or in the custody of a state agency or department or an individual or entity appointed by the court; you cannot be reunified with one or both of your parents because of abuse, abandonment, neglect, or similar basis under state law AND it is not in your best interests to return to the country of nationality or last habitual residence of you or your parents. You must also establish that you sought the court order to obtain relief from abuse, abandonment, etc. and not for immigration benefits. Once the petition is approved, the applicant is eligible to apply for adjustment of status.
Deferred Action – Individuals present in the U.S. can request prosecutorial discretion on a limited basis for one year increments and subsequently obtain employment authorization. It is determined on a case by case basis and does not provide any legal immigration status. It is best suited for someone temporarily present in the U.S. who faces a sudden medical emergency, such as a minor child who is severely injured in an accident or a child born with disabilities. It is not ideal for people present long-term in the U.S. because the benefit is only temporary and may result in removal proceedings once it ends. But if that person is ultimately eligible for non-LPR cancellation of removal in deportation proceedings, it may be worth the risk. Similarly, individuals present in the U.S. on a temporary visitor visa can extend their stay for similar reasons but would not be otherwise eligible for work authorization.
Temporary Protected Status – The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely or where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately such as a natural disaster, armed conflict, or other extraordinary or temporary conditions such as the Ebola virus outbreak a few years ago. Eligible nationals of these countries present in the U.S. at the time of the designation are able to apply for TPS and remain in the U.S. with work authorization until the Secretary removes the designation. The countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua had been designated for TPS for over 15 years. However, President Trump sought rescission of these designations. These countries have been allowed one more period of registration to obtain benefits for another year or so, but afterwards thousands of people will lose this benefit and be forced to return home or find other means to remain in the U.S. But other countries still have TPS designation such as Syria and Yemen.