The unfortunate reality of immigration in the United States is that many immigrants do not report crimes out of fear of deportation. This allows criminals to continue their activities unchecked, putting others at risk. Even worse, these types of offenses often involve human trafficking, domestic violence, or both.
If you have been victimized, it is extremely important to contact an immigration attorney as soon as possible. This is for your own safety and the safety of other potential victims. As long as the victimizer’s behavior goes unchecked, there could be more people at risk.
A qualified immigration attorney will also be able to help you with any legal repercussions pertaining to immigration relief and related issues. To help you understand the tools that are available to you, this post will delve into why you need an immigration attorney if you have been a victim of a crime.
Victim of Crime
Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants are among the most vulnerable members of any community in the United States. If they are subjected to domestic violence, human trafficking, or workplace malpractice, they often avoid reporting it due to fear of deportation.
In many cases, the people committing the crimes understand this and use it to their advantage.
Upon your initial consultation, an immigration attorney will listen to the details of your case and assess all pertinent information. They will have a working knowledge of the statutes and options you have at your disposal.
This can come in handy when providing information to the police, especially if the person reporting the crime does not speak fluent English.
Many immigrants feel that reporting a crime will subject them to removal proceedings that will result in their deportation. However, what they likely don’t know is that the United States has laws in place to protect undocumented immigrants who report crimes.
Have you ever heard of a U visa or a T visa? These documents are specifically for undocumented immigrants who want to stay and work in the United States. Once you obtain this document, you can focus on obtaining permanent residency and maybe even citizenship.
Additionally, if you are an undocumented immigrant who has been the victim of a crime, you might be able to apply for certain benefits prior to moving toward a path to citizenship. Talk with your attorney to see what options are available.
A U visa is a nonimmigrant visa that includes employment authorization and is valid for up to four years. An undocumented immigrant who reports Qualifying Criminal Activity (QCA) to law enforcement may be able to obtain eligibility for one. U visas can be extended to immediate family members as well, including children under 21 and spouses.
A T visa is for undocumented immigrants who have been victims of human trafficking. It gives immigration protection, especially in cases where the victim has provided substantial assistance to law enforcement.
In order to be eligible for a U visa, you must prove that you were victimized by a Qualifying Criminal Activity or a similar crime that law enforcement authorities were able to investigate due to your assistance. Additionally, you must also prove that being sent back to your country of origin will cause you to face undue hardship.
Need an immigration attorney?
If you have been the victim of a crime and need to consult with a qualified immigration attorney, contact Shannon Rosales Law, P.A. Our firm has been providing immigration services to families throughout South Florida for years. Get in touch with us today and tell us more about your situation.