By Kieran C. O’Sullivan, Immigration Counselor
This week one of my callers, a victim of some severe domestic abuse, threats, and assault, called me in an effort to determine if there was any immigration relief available because of her situation.
“U” non-immigrant visa
The new U non-immigrant visa with a possible adjustment after three years is for non citizens who suffer “substantial physical or mental abuse” as a result of a list of criminal violations including domestic violence, peonage and involuntary servitude.
An applicant must have information on the crime, must be helpful to federal, state, or local law enforcement officials, prosecutors, judges, enforcement authorities or the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in investigating or prosecuting the crime.
The crime must violate US laws or occur in the US or its territories including military bases. Consult an immigration attorney before considering an application.
Derivatives of the applicants may also qualify for the U if they can show extreme hardship which would be present to them if the status is not granted.
Certification is needed from federal, state or local enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges or other authority or USCIS officers investigating the criminal activity.
No more than 10,000 U visas a year are available. This number does not include derivatives.
Visa holders are authorized to work in the US.
Adjustment of status may be available (unless applicant is a terrorist or refused to provide assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution) after three years of continuous presence and humanitarian grounds, family unity, or public interest justify continued presence.
Derivatives without their own visas may adjust to avoid extreme hardship.
July legal clinic: Date changed to July 10th
Dan Harrington and Chris Lavery are two leading immigration attorneys in Boston. Immigrants can have free one to one consultations with them at our legal clinics. Because of the July 4th holiday, our next legal clinic at the Banshee, 934 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, will be on July 10th instead of the first Tuesday of the month. It begins at 6:30 pm.
Breaking News on Immigration Proposal
At the time of going to press, the President has just announced a decision to grant employment cards and protection from deportation to DREAM Act youth. According to press reports, the new policy will apply to undocumented immigrants who are under 30, who arrived in the United States before they turned 16, and who have lived in the country for at least the last five years. There will be criminal record checks, and they must have either obtained a high school diploma or GED, or be serving in the military or honorably discharged. If they meet these and other conditions, they can apply for a “deferred action” that for two years eliminates the threat of deportation, without granting citizenship. We remind readers who think they might be eligible NOT to approach US Immigration without first consulting one of our immigration attorneys. We will publish more information on this subject next week.
Email me your immigration query or a topic you would like us to cover today: Kieran@ipcboston.org
Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in it is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.