HUMANITARIAN RELIEF FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME, ASYLUM SEEKERS AND OTHERS
U.S. immigration law provides a number of ways for those who have been harmed or fear harm to legalize their status in the U.S. in certain circumstances.
The U visa provides status to individuals who have been victims of certain crimes in the U.S. and who were helpful in the investigation of the crime. One reason for this form of relief is that Congress recognizes that immigrants are particularly vulnerable to crime and often fear reporting victimization to police. This is an important mechanism to ensure that crimes against immigrants are investigated and prosecuted.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) recognizes that some U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are abusive toward their immigrant family members. They may refuse to seek immigration status for their family members as a means of control and threaten to report an undocumented spouse or child to immigration authorities if that spouse or child leaves the abusive relationship. Under VAWA foreign nationals who have been abused by certain U.S. citizen and permanent resident relatives can seek immigration status for themselves.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is awarded to some individuals when their home countries are unstable, preventing them from safely returning there. Usually TPS is designated based on ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the country of designation.
Individuals who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted if returned to their home country may be able to seek political asylum in the U.S.