Reach Out To An Immigration Lawyer If You Were Victim Of A Crime
Non-Immigrants Can Seek Protection for Certain Crimes and Domestic Violence In the United States, victims of certain criminal activities have a few options available to obtain protective status. As a boutique immigration law firm, we understand that you might fear that admitting what you have endured will get you deported for reporting the crime.
We can assure you that this is not the case when you entrust our Los Angeles victims of crimes attorney for guidance.
Under U.S. law, there are many protection programs available for legal and undocumented immigrants. Especially those who got forced into criminal activity or experienced abuse. You might not be aware of your visa options or the application process, but we can help. This article discusses why you must act immediately and provides an overview of the specific protections for victims of:
Victims of Crimes Need a Lawyer
In 2020, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) made 103,603 administrative arrests. 90% of them were non-citizens with criminal convictions or pending criminal charges. Unfortunately, victims of crimes always get deprived of their right to due justice. It is even worse for immigrants who do not have a broad understanding of the law. However, you do have the right to an attorney. For example, if you have got charged for a crime (big or small), you should hire a professional who can defend you and help you establish a case where you can prove that it was outside of your control.
Under normal circumstances, legal citizens might pursue legal counsel to defend their rights to a fair trial in court. An immigration lawyer will work hard to make sure non-immigrant victims get the support needed and protect their rights. The crime may have already occurred, but the victim might not have been aware of that. The police or prosecutors might have also failed to file charges against you and offer domestic violence support, for example.
What is a crime? Crimes are illegal actions or activities that constitute an offense. It can be prosecuted and is punishable by law. A Los Angeles immigration attorney has the right resources and information to victims through their trauma and ordeal.
What is a victim? The term “victim” means any person that suffers from:
Misfortune because of the commission of a crime
The crime could be physical, sexual, or mental.
What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a crime that involves the exploitation of an individual through force, fraud, or coercion. Victims range from:
Women and men
Adults and children
Citizens and non-citizens
Overview Of Criminal Process in America
The first thing people do when accused of or experiencing a crime is to go to the station to give their statement. In this statement, you will be able to provide details about the corruption that has occurred. As soon as you finish providing an overview of what happened, reach out to an immigration lawyer in LA before telling the investigating officer everything you know. If you fail to do so, the officer might make you give inconsistent statements, which can complicate your case and impact your visa status. Allow your legal counsel to prepare a strong defense. It is vital to seek help if you have a language barrier as well.
You might have to share your name and details with the person who will be handling your case. Without an immigration criminal defense lawyer, you will be under surveillance. That means that your lawyer will have to work hard to protect your right to privacy.
The process of going through the criminal justice system could become extremely complicated and overwhelming for you. There are procedures to follow, documents to be produced, and hearings and trials to attend. You do not want to lose your chance of saving your reputation and standing in your community and society.
VAWA, T, and U Visas
The law prohibits agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS from revealing that you applied for a VAWA, T, or U visa. Read on to learn about each one.
What Is a Non-Immigrant U Visa?
In the early 2000s, the Act for Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection introduced two visas: U visas and T visas. It offers immigration protection for victims and acts as a tool for law enforcement. To qualify, you need to prove that you were the victim of a crime. You will be required to obtain certification from law enforcement – however, it does not automatically grant you benefits. Only the USCIS can make decisions regarding your status.
You are not required to be a legal immigrant to apply. But you must prove the following for you to be eligible:
Be the victim of a crime in America, or participate in unlawful activities that violate U.S. laws.
Suffered severe physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime committed
Have credible and reliable information about the qualifying criminal activity
Assist law enforcement agencies in finding the criminal
Qualifying Crimes (To Be Eligible for Non-Immigrant U Visa)
Abusive sexual contact/rape
Manslaughter / murder
Female genital mutilation
Obstruction of justice/witness tampering
T Non-Immigrant Visa for Human Trafficking Victims
Human trafficking – the trafficking of persons – is considered a form of modern-day slavery. People from all walks of life have been a victim of it. However, traffickers are more likely to target poor, unemployed, underemployed, and vulnerable individuals. America is the land of opportunity that many non-citizens turn for a fresh start. Unfortunately, traffickers lure them for the same promises only to work under inhumane conditions.
T visas protect adults and children who were victims of severe forms of trafficking. Like U visas, cooperation with law enforcement is necessary to prosecute similar cases. You are not required to have legal immigration status, but must:
Be a victim of a severe form of human trafficking.
Have a physical presence in the U.S. because of trafficking
Cooperate with law enforcement to assist in investigations or prosecution
Show that you will suffer extreme hardship and harm if removed from the U.S.
To apply, an immigration attorney in LA can refer you to file Form I-914, the Application for T Nonimmigrant Status. Qualifying family members can apply for benefits as well.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
VAWA is a visa for abused immigrant spouses and children who qualify for protection. It allows them to petition for legal status in the U.S. and help you get back on your feet.
Family and domestic violence affect nearly 10 million people every year. That means one in four women and one in nine men experience some form of abuse, according to StatPearls. Although it is a common occurrence, so much of it gets unreported because immigrants may fear what might happen if they go to the police. Such fear causes abused victims to remain in the same relationship.
Children, parents, current/former spouses of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who endured any form of abuse may be eligible to apply for a green card without permission from their abuser. A form of sponsorship is usually required to file for immigration benefits on behalf of an undocumented family member. The VAWA waives that right. Like U and T visas, the USCIS will review your case to evaluate:
That you have or had a relationship with the abuser
Are the parent or child of the abuser
Live/lived with the abuser
Have good moral character despite living under cruel conditions
To apply, you can fill out Form I-360, Petition for Widow(er)s, Amerasians, and Special Immigrants.
VAWA Protection for Abused Men
Men could apply to VAWA too if they suffered severe abuse from a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. If you do not have a visa, you can self-petition and apply to Form I-360. Additionally, there are several benefits you can choose from when the USCIS grants you a VAWA green card, including a clear path to permanent residency. Not only will your job be protected, but you will no longer require assistance, verification, or involvement from an abusive spouse.
The Connection Between Committing Crimes and Being a Victim of Crimes
Law enforcement seldom sees that you might be the victim of a crime if you do not come forward with what happened. At the moment, feelings of anxiety and fear are common. It is important to remember that you can face severe consequences if you go against the officers’ orders.
That is why it is crucial to have our immigration law firm on your side to make sure that your rights get protected at all costs. Because we have helped numerous clients globally, we can assure you we have a firm understanding of the hardships you could face upon removal from the U.S. We are also committed to:
Devoting ourselves to helping innocent immigrants/non-immigrants get justice
Presenting the truth in a criminal case because we care about our client’s plight
Crimes committed can jeopardize your chances of citizenship regardless of how small it was. Victims might have gotten coerced to engage in money laundering or fraud. Similar incidents that would require an immigration lawyer for criminal convictions are:
Not only will your lawyer be able to fight for you in immigration court, but also advocate for you to stay in the U.S. with protection under a U, T, or VAWA visa. Qualifying for any immigration visa is not easy, and you should not attempt to do it alone.
Pursuing legal counsel as a victim of certain crimes and domestic violence is the same as finding a lawyer to fight your case. You should make sure that the law firm is qualified and has enough experience with cases like yours. Many immigrants end up not being able to afford good legal representation, so it may be necessary to “scapegoat” and hire a lawyer who will work for a significantly lower fee. The main goal is to ensure that you have adequate compensation and that your lawyer can handle the legal battle.
Victims of crimes may not understand the long-term effects that it can have. That is especially true if they have been physically or psychologically injured. Attorneys can help you repair your life. After applying for a protective visa, you have a chance to work with law enforcement to testify against the person who caused harm and prevent such trauma from happening to someone else.
If you are a victim of crime, schedule a consultation with Los Angeles immigration attorneys. They will be a great help in navigating through complex issues and helping you reach a safe space.
Our Immigration Attorney Can Help Protect You If You Fall Victim to Crimes or Abuse
At The Law Offices of Todd Becraft, our immigration attorneys recognize how overwhelming the visa, immigration, and naturalization processes can be. Each client deserves an individualized approach that pertains to their unique situation. When you choose us – you can expect a thorough analysis of your case, extensive preparation, combined with our years of experience and expertise. Our commitment to excellence, and thoughtful approach to a diverse range of immigration matters, set us apart from other law firms. Contact us if you are inquiring about:
Deportation & Removal
Victims of Crimes
Todd Becraft relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 1995 and began practicing immigration law in 2000. Just nine short years later, he purchased the law practice of Timothy Everett, an immigration judge. Today he is still advocating for immigrants and non-immigrants on their path to citizenship in the U.S. Alongside him are paralegals Sandy Gomez and Dennis Escobar, who are both native Angelinos. En Español.
If you have a legal concern in one of our immigration practice areas, call 213-388-1821 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation!