I’m a Victim of Violence. Can I get help?

Question: I was a victim of a brutal sexual assault crime. However, I am illegal here in the U.S. and have no status. Is there anything that can be done to help me?

Answer: Yes. There is what is known as the U Visa. It is meant for victims of certain qualifying criminal activity. Congress created the U nonimmigrant status in the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA) of 2000. The goal of the legislation was to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate, and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of persons, and other criminal activity of which aliens are victims, while at the same time offering protection to victims of such offenses.

On August 30, 2001, USCIS implemented procedures to provide interim benefits to applicants establishing prima facie eligibility for U nonimmigrant status. Mechanisms used to confer this interim relief include deferred action, parole, and stays of removal. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently developing regulatory guidance for implementation of the U nonimmigrant provisions of the VTVPA. Until USCIS issues guidance for accepting and adjudicating applications for U nonimmigrant status, the procedures for interim relief will remain in effect. Please note, however, when USCIS begins adjudicating applications for U nonimmigrant status applicants who were granted interim relief and whose applications for U nonimmigrant status subsequently are approved will have their U nonimmigrant status recorded as of the date the request for U interim relief was approved.

Applicants who were granted U interim relief and whose application for U nonimmigrant status is approved will have their U nonimmigrant status recorded as of the date the request for interim relief was approved.

Question: If I am granted the U Visa, what about my child?

Answer: Individuals who are granted U-2, U-3, or U-4 nonimmigrant status are not subject to an annual numerical limit. Applications for U-2, U-3, or U-4 nonimmigrant status will not be granted until a U-1 status has been issued to the related principal alien. Applicants who were granted U interim relief and whose application for U nonimmigrant status is approved will have their U nonimmigrant status recorded as of the date the request for interim relief was approved.

Therefore, there is help for you and you do not need to have both a sexual assault crime committed on you and be out of status and possibly deported. It is time for you to take up the help that is offered by the U Visa.