As the victim of violent crime, who also happens to be an undocumented immigrant in Texas, you may qualify for temporary status protection that helps you avoid deportation. Depending on your circumstances, you may have already endured a long, arduous recovery period following the incident that caused your injury. Hopefully, you are surrounded by a strong support network, including family, friends and others who can help you achieve as full a recovery as possible.
Regarding your legal status, if you meet certain eligibility requirements, you may be able to apply for a U visa, which prevents you from facing removal proceedings and allows you to live and work in the United States. You must agree to certain stipulations and must fill out all necessary documentation to process your application. There are immigrant advocates available who can provide guidance and support.
First get the facts, then take action
Although facing possible deportation is understandably a stressful, fearful experience, you may be able to take steps to halt the process. The following information explains more about U visas — what they are and how to obtain them:
- This type of visa is a temporary status available to those who have suffered mental or physical abuse in the United States.
- The U visa program aids law enforcement agents and prosecutors in their quests to apprehend and convict perpetrators of violent crimes, including domestic violence, human trafficking and assault.
- The government has issued a list of crimes that qualify victims for U visa applications. The type of incident that caused your injury must be on the list.
- If you were victim to crime overseas, the actions taken against you must be in violation of U.S. laws.
- You must be admissible to the United States, regardless whether the crime occurred on U.S. soil or abroad.
- If you are not admissible, you may be able to apply for a waiver.
- You must be willing to aid police and prosecutors in their criminal investigation regarding the crime about which you possess knowledge.
If you aid law enforcement agents and prosecutors, your identity is never revealed to an alleged criminal. If the government grants your request for a U visa, your protected status will likely last four years. In certain circumstances, you may qualify for an extension when your visa expires.
Advocate support available
It can help to speak with other immigrants who have already navigated the U visa process to alleviate your fears and provide useful information to help you make informed decisions.
Many Texas immigrants also ask experienced immigration and naturalization law attorneys to assist them as they take steps to try to avoid deportation.