USCIS protects the victims of crimes by providing immigration relief. US law renders protections for lawful and undocumented immigrants who are victims of criminal offenses. Most victims do not know about such protections. Specific protections are offered for victims of domestic aggression and victims of certain other crimes such as human trafficking. The non-immigrant visa permits the victims to continue their stay in the US to help in the investigation and prosecution of human traffickers.
USCIS offers two kinds of visas for the victims of crimes, U and the T visas. These visas help the victims to live and work in the US, lawfully.
The U-Visa was created under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It was created to provide relief to the immigrants who are victims of certain crimes. The U non-immigrant visa provides immigration security to crime victims who have endured substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime. This visa is generally valid for 4 years. The applicant cannot directly become a permanent resident on getting the U visa.
Benefits of getting a U Visa
By getting a U-visa, the crime victim will be allowed to stay and work in the US lawfully,for a period of 4 years. After getting the U visa, the victim is eligible to apply for a Green card or adjust status after three years.
To qualify for a U visa, the victim must
- Have suffered serious mental or physical abuse is eligible for a U visa.
- Provide sufficient information about the crime.
- Show that the criminal activity has violated the US laws.
- Be co-operative in the investigation process.
Form I-918 must be filed with the USCIS, to apply for a U visa. This form must be certified by a local law enforcement authority or by a state or federal authority. This form will be certified only if the the victim of the crime is willing to cooperate with the officials to solve the crime. While applying for the U visa, a cover letter describing the physical or mental abuse suffered by the applicant. Personal identification documents such as copies of passport, birth certificates must accompany the form.
T non-immigrant visas are allotted for the victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking is sort of modern slavery. Through that the individuals are lured with false promises related to employment. There are two types of trafficking, labor and sex trafficking. The poor and the unemployed are found to be the victims of human trafficking. These visas assist the victims of crime by granting temporary work authorization and legal status. Victims with a T visa can live and work in the US for four years. Through that they are given a chance recover from the injury of the crime. Once a T non-immigrant visa is given, the victim can apply for a Green Card after three years.
To get a T visa, the victim must
- Show that he/she is a victim of a severe form of trafficking.
- Be present physically in the US due to trafficking.
- Show that he/she will suffer hardship if removed from the US.
Form I-914, Application for T non-immigration status must be filed with the USCIS to apply for a T visa. Evidence showing the eligibility requirements for applying and a cover letter stating the the nature of trafficking must be submitted with the application. If the U or T visa applicant is below 21 years of age, the applicant’s immediate relatives can apply for a U/T visa derivative status (Immediate relatives include parents, husband or wife, children, unmarried brother or sisters below the age of 18). If the applicant is over the age of 21, the applicant’s husband or wife and children are eligible to apply for U/T visa derivative status.
These following principles are incarnated in federal law on legal permanent residence, the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) in the year 1952.
- The reunification of families
- The admission of immigrants with needed skills
- The protection of refugees
- The diversity of admissions by the country of origin
Noncitizens are described as “any person not a citizen or national of the United States” another word is ‘Alien’. In this category even the people who violated the rule of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), who are here legally.
There are two basic types legal of aliens are immigrants and non-immigrants. Immigrants are aliens who look for obtaining Green Card and later which will lead to obtain US Citizenship. Non-immigrants – such as tourists, foreign students, diplomats, skilled and unskilled workers, exchange visitors are admitted for specific purpose and short or temporary period time.
Entering US either in immigrant or non-immigrant visa is subjected to numerical limits and preference category, on basis of family relationship, geographic diversity and skilled workers. Allocated number for family based immigration is 226,000, for employment based is 140,000 and for diversity (Lottery Program) is 55,000 and few numbers for refugees and aslyees which come around 650,000 worldwide cap (which changes yearly).
Most of immigrants enter US because of the relationship with the US Citizen or even Lawful Permanent Residence. 64% legal immigrants entered US on the basis of family ties (FY 2001) below list provide the break-up for each of Immigrant category.
1. Immediate relatives of citizens – 443,964
2. Family preference – 232,143
3. Employment preference – 179,195
4. Refugee and asylee adjustments – 108,506
5. Diversity – 42,506
6. Other – 58,495
Refugees and Asylees
Obtaining a Refugees status or admission is a persecution of situations of “special humanitarian concern” to the United States. The allocation of the number for Refugee preference, among refugee groups are decided at the start of the each fiscal year by the President after consulting with the Congress. Asylum status is granted on a case by case basis to alien physical presence in US.
Removal from US
CBP (Customs and Border Protection) are the consular officer upon entry to the US of an Alien they decide whether you are eligible, if ineligible under so called “grounds of inadmissibility” of INA. Categories are:
- health-related grounds;
- criminal history;
- national security and terrorist concerns;
- public charge (e.g., indigence);
- seeking to work without proper labor certification;
- illegal entrants and immigration law violations;
- lacking proper documents;
- ineligible for citizenship; and,
- aliens previously removed.