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Visas Free Immigrants from Abuse

by Sabrin

In the past, OAA has received several questions regarding immigration and how to leave an abusive partner while acquiring the proper visas and documentation. The following post outlines two important visas that can help immigrant women acquire work permits and eventually their green cards.

Immigrants who are victims of domestic violence can leave their husbands and obtain the right to stay in the United States through “T” and “U” visas. These relatively unknown visas are available to victims of crime and trafficking who cooperate with police and prosecutors, despite fear of deportation.

According to The Oregonian, “Only recently has the government started approving the “T” and “U” visas, although the law meant to protect undocumented immigrants who are victims of crime has been in place for nine years. Thousands of such visa petitions have been filed across the country”

About the Visas:

Congress created two new nonimmigrant visa categories with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.

T Visa:

The T visa provides legal status for victims of trafficking, including those who are recruited for labor or services through force, fraud or coercion. T visa holders are also eligible for a year of public assistance.

U Visa:

The U visa is designated for victims of crimes such as murder, assault, rape and sexual exploitation. The criminal activity must violate U.S. laws and/or occur in the United States.

Both visas allow applicants to secure legal status and a work permit for four years, as well as petition for certain family members. After three years, visa holders may apply for a green card.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials recently announced they intend to use the 10,000 visas available this fiscal year. This year, more than 1,600 U visas have been granted, many of them in recent months.

“The sudden flurry of approvals — several dozen were granted in Portland just last month — illustrates the Obama administration’s move toward protecting illegal immigrants exposed to abuses at home and in the workplace instead of prosecuting and deporting them.” Gosia Wozniacka, Oregonlive.com

Source: The Oregonian

Read more about an immigrant women’s journey and how she was able to obtain a protective visa.

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