Illegal aliens in the United States today no longer have to fear of being deported as long as they abide by the new laws that protect them. In California alone, several immigrant-friendly laws were passed in 2015 benefiting people living in the U.S. illegally. Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that helps undocumented immigrants who are crime victims.
Victims of crimes are also now eligible for a special visa while living in the U.S. They just need to apply for such visa by having the law enforcement officials who handled their case sign certain documents. The paperwork should document the crime committed to the victim and how he or she assisted in the investigation of the case to catch the criminals.
This deportation protection to illegal immigrants in California is stated in the Immigrant Victims of Crime Equity Act (SB 674) which was authored by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon. Specifically, it covers immigrants who have helped in the investigations of crimes.
These crime victims can apply for special visas they called the Victim of Criminal Activity visas (U-Visas) which will allow them to stay in the country.
How to Obtain a U-Visa
Immigrants who are crime victims should get a certification from law enforcement to obtain the U non-immigrant status. The U-Visa allows them to live and work in the U.S. for four years. However, it should be noted that only the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can grant or deny this particular benefit and not the law enforcement officials.
“In the state of California, law enforcement authorities are required to verify a victim’s cooperation within a period of 90 days,” said lawyer Kerry Yianilos, a San Diego green card attorney. However, this grace period is reduced to 14 days if the victim is already being deported.
Victims qualified to avail of this benefit are those who have suffered physical and mental abuse resulting from a crime. They should also ave credible knowledge of the criminal act, have helped in the investigation or prosecution of the case and be a victim of a crime that violated a U.S. law.
Crimes covered include domestic violence, abduction, extortion, perjury, hostage taken, incest, abusive sexual contact, rape, manslaughter, murder, prostitution, sexual assault, slave trade, torture, trafficking and sexual exploitation among others.
For victims of human trafficking, the T non-immigrant status can be obtained. This type of visa offers protection for victims of severe forms of trafficking of persons. They should be physically present in the U.S., cooperate in the investigation or prosecution and should confirm extreme difficulty involving severe harm if deported.
For many years now, victims of crime illegally residing in the U.S. including those who suffered from domestic violence are often hesitant to report their problems to authorities for fear they might be deported. With the new laws in place, though, illegal immigrants can enjoy protection and live safely in the U.S.