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[Category]
T, U visa


[Title]
U and T Visas:
Start →



INTRODUCTION

This advisory will focus on
        a) hot topics on U policy,
        b) choosing between
                i) the T and
                ii) U visa options,
        c) screening
                i) for trafficking survivors and
        d) using the T & U
                i) for labor crimes,
                        A) including labor trafficking.

A list of resources
        a) on the other topics
                i) covered
                        A) by the 2015 panel and
                        B) in recent prior AILA presentations

1) appears at the end.

U UPDATES (HOT TOPICS)

As of this writing,

there remain significant questions
        a) about U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’s
                i) (USCIS)
                ii) interpretation
                        A) of various aspects
                                I) of the U visa laws.

Since USCIS practice
        a) in these areas

    changes
        a) in response to advocacy
                i) from the field,

1) we suggest readers
        a) check for the latest updates
                i) from the AILA VAWA committee or
                ii) from ASISTA Immigration assistance.1

U Conditional Grant Issues: EADs, Parole & Accruing Presence for Adjustment

The 10,000 U visas
        a) allocated per year2
                i) for principals

1) continue to be used
        a) at a rapid pace.3

Most successful U applicants, therefore, now
        a) initially
        b) receive work authorization
                i) based on Deferred Action
                ii) as conditional grantees.4


eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
1 Contact AILA for the name of the current AILA VAWA committee chair, or ASISTA at questions@asistahelp.org, which works closely with the AILA VAWA committee.
2 INA §214(p)(2)(A).
3 See, e.g., USCIS. Press Release, “USCIS Approves 10,000 U visas for 6th Straight Fiscal Year,” available at www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-approves-10000-u-visas-6th-straight-fiscal-year.
4 8 CFR §214.14(d)(2) (authorizing special conditional grant program with discretion to grant work authorization);
for advisory on best practices in acquiring EADs for U conditional grantees, see ASISTA Immigration Assistance,



USCIS has not yet, however, implemented a system
        a) for paroling in derivative family members
                i) who qualify for U visas
                ii) (who are not subject to the 10,000 cap5),

1) nor has it agreed that
        a) time
                i) in conditional grant status

           should count towards U adjustment.

        a) ASISTA,
        b) AILA, and
        c) other organizations

1) are advocating that
        a) USCIS grant parole
                i) on a blanket basis
                ii) to U derivatives
                iii) based on the “significant public interest” prong
                        A) of the standard
                                I) for humanitarian parole6 and
        b) that it exempt such applicants
                i) from the current affidavit of support requirement,
                ii) since Congress has exempted all U applicants
                        A) from the public charge ground of inadmissibility.7

We encourage readers
        a) to employ these novel arguments.

        a) A helpful practice advisory,
        b) a request template and
        c) a form
                i) for reporting results

1) can be found on the ASISTA website.8

Please continue to watch for similar advocacy efforts
        a) on accruing time
                i) in conditional status
                ii) towards adjustment.

U Visa Workplace-Based Cases9

Due to advocacy
        a) coordinated by
                i) the National Employment Law Center and
                ii) ASISTA,10

1) USCIS’ approach
        a) to U cases
        b) based on
                i) witness tampering,
                ii) obstruction of justice, and
                iii) perjury

    appears to be improving.11

These are the typical crimes
        a) that flow from workplace violations.

Readers
        a) encountering such cases

1) may wish to join a special list serve
        a) run by the National Immigration Project
                i) of the National Lawyers Guild
        b) focusing on workplace-based U visa cases.12

Many immigrant women workers also experience sexual violence
        a) in the workplace and

1) ASISTA is developing special training materials
        a) on this issue.13

New Crime Categories for the U Visa

On March 7, 2013,

President Obama signed into law
        a) the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
                i) of 2013.14

This law made multiple changes
        a) including clarifying “age out” protections
                i) to U visa derivatives,
        b) expanding eligibility
                i) to certain extended family members
                        A) of T visa holders,
        c) ending the public charge ground of inadmissibility
                i) to        
                        A) VAWA self-petitioners and
                        B) U visa applicants, and
        d) adding two new qualifying criminal activities.

The two new criminal grounds
        a) that may serve as the basis for a U visa application

1) are:
        a. stalking; and
        b. fraud
                i) in foreign labor contracting
                        A) as defined in 18 USC §1351.





eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee “Practice Advisory for U Visa Conditional Approvals, February 2015” (Practice Advisory), available atwww.asistahelp.org/documents/filelibrary/documents/Conditional_Approval_Advisory_FINAL_CEE115482BE21
.pdf).
5 INA §214(p)(2)(B).
6 8 CFR §212(d)(5).
7 INA §212(a)(4)(E)(ii).
8 See Practice Advisory, supra note 4.
9 For more on these issues, see 2014 Comacho, Pendleton & Phillips article and webinar in the RESOURCES
section of this article, infra.
10 Cho & Pendleton, “Letter to USCIS re ‘Substantial Abuse Determinations for U-Visa Victims of Workplace
Crimes’” (Mar. 28, 2013), (available at www.asistahelp.org/documents/resources/Workplace_ U_visasubstantial_abuse_a_DAACF071FEA01.pdf).
11 Three unpublished AAO decisions on witness tampering illustrate the improvement: Matter of – , Jan. 5, 2015,
available at www.asistahelp.org/documents/filelibrary/AAO_approval_1_38A2CFF1B455F.pdf; Matter of -- , Dec
19, 2014, available at www.asistahelp.org/documents/filelibrary/AAO_approval_2_0101BDCEC1C68.pdf; and
Matter of --, Dec. 19, 2014, available at www.asistahelp.org/documents/filelibrary/AAO4_ECA5364DFFEF2.pdf.
12 Contact Ellen Kemp at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, ellen@nipnlg.org.
13 See recorded webinars and special section on Sexual Violence Against Immigrant Women, at www.asistahelp.org/en/access_the_clearinghouse/training_materials.
14 INA §101(a)(15)(U)(iii); See Pub. Law 113-4, 127 Stat. 54 (Mar. 7, 2013).




The newly designated crime
        a) of stalking

1) did not contain any reference to a specific statute,
2) so practitioners should look to both
        a) state and
        b) federal
                i) law
                ii) for definitions.

Common stalking definitions often include
        a) repeated and
        b) targeted
                i) actions of harassment,
                        A) made in
                                I) an aggressive or
                                II) threatening
                                        (a) manner.

The federal statute covers those
        a) who engage in
                i) interstate or
                ii) foreign
                        A) travel
                        B) with the intent
                                I) to kill,
                                II) injure,
                                III) harass.15

The other newly designated crime,
        a) fraud
                i) in foreign labor contracting,

1) specifically refers to 18 USC §1351.

This statute makes it a crime
        a) to
                i) knowing and
                ii) intentionally
                iii) hire workers
                        A) (for work either
                                I) inside or
                                II) outside the United States)
                        B) under
                                I) fraudulent pretenses or
                                II) misrepresentations.16

Practice Pointer:

Remember that
        a) all of the named crimes
                i) for U visa eligibility

           also include
                i) attempts,
                ii) conspiracies, and
                iii) solicitations
                        A) to commit said crimes.

(For suggestions
        a) on framing unenumerated crimes
                i) as falling in a “category”
                ii) as opposed to “similar” to existing categories,

1) see Comacho, Pendleton & Phillips
        a) in the Resources section below.)

A diligent practitioner will
        a) be creative
                i) in his or her suggestions
                        A) to certifiers and
        b) include all possible criminal grounds
                i) for a requested certification.

Stalking crimes
        a) under many state statutes

1) are misdemeanor violations.

This new category may cover victims
        a) who are not in relationships
                i) that meet the definition
                        A) of domestic violence
                        B) under state law.

U & T ELIGIBILITY: PROS AND CONS

Just as there is a large overlap
        a) between
                i) U visas and
                ii) VAWA self-petitions,

1) there are many immigrant crime survivors
        a) who qualify for both
                i) U and
                ii) T visas.

This section will highlight some of the important differences
        a) to assist the client
                i) in electing the best option
                        A) for
                                I) him- or herself and
                                II) family members.

Certification Facility

One of the most important differences
        a) between
                i) the U visa process and
                ii) the T visa process,

1) is that
        a) the T visa can be
                i) filed and
                ii) approved
                        A) without ever having a completed certification
                                I) from a Law Enforcement Agency.17

Although many agencies have elected
        a) to complete certifications
                i) on behalf of
                        A) trafficking victims,

1) many others are unwilling
        a) to complete the required certification.

For a U visa,

this unavailability is a fatal flaw
        
1) as a case cannot be approved
        a) without a certification.18


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15 18 USC §2261A.
16 18 USC §1351.
17 INA §214(o)(6), 8 CFR §214.11(h)(2).e
18 INA §214(p). For suggestions on working with law enforcement, see prior AILA articles listed in the
RESOURCES section, infra.




The T visa, however, does not necessarily require a certification
        a) from a Law Enforcement Agency.

Although a certification can certainly be useful
        a) in proving the merits
                i) of the case,

1) other evidence may also be used
        a) to provide evidence of assistance.

Some evidence
        a) that one might include

1) would be
        a) subpoenas,
        b) copies of victim impact statements,
        c) correspondence
                i) sent to the victim
                ii) from the prosecutor’s office,
        d) notifications
                i) about incarceration
                        A) of the defendants, etc.19


A victim impact statement
is a written or oral statement made as part of the judicial legal process, which allows crime victims the opportunity to speak during the sentencing of their attacker or at subsequent parole hearings.



Waiting Times

The difference
        a) in waiting times
                i) for
                        A) T visas versus
                        B) U visas

1) presents itself twice.

First,

the actual processing times differ.

At the time
        a) of writing this article,

1) there is approximately four months
        a) of delay
        b) between
                i) the filing and
                ii) adjudication
                        A) of the I-914 application
                                I) form for a T visa.

This contrasts with the eleven-month processing time
        a) for the I-918 petition
                i) form for a U visa.

Therefore,

if your client is in dire need
        a) of an employment authorization document
        b) as soon as possible,

1) he or she may elect to apply for the T visa.

The second delay
        a) in processing

1) involves visa eligibility.

As explained above,

the U visa numbers are currently backlogged.

Even when a U visa beneficiary has been given the “deferred action” letter,

1) the crime survivor knows that
        a) he or she will likely be on a waiting list
                i) for the next one or two years.

This backlog affects
        a) the applicant’s ability
                i) to enter into the United States
                        A) (if processing abroad) and
        b) also his or her eligibility
                i) to apply for adjustment of status
                        A) in the future,
                        B) which many times is the first time
                                I) the client is allowed to travel abroad.

Advocacy
        a) to resolve some of these problems
                i) for conditional grantees

1) is discussed above.

Family Members

Both
        a) the T visa and
        b) the U visa

1) allow the principal beneficiary
        a) to include certain family members
                i) as derivatives.20


The T visa, however, may provide additional protections
        a) for a couple of reasons.

First,

T visa applicants may have their qualifying relatives
        a) paroled into the United States

1) while the principal’s application
        a) for T visa

    is pending.21

Second,

the T visa now has expanded derivative status
        a) for certain relatives

1) if they face retaliation
        a) due to the primary’s cooperation
                i) on the criminal case.

These relatives include
        a) parents and
        b) minor siblings
                i) of over 21-year-old principals and
        c) derivatives
                i) of the sons and daughters
                        A) of the derivative children.22

Access to Public Benefits

Many clients are in need of
        a) not only immigration protections,
        b) but also financial services.

For many clients,

the T visa will be preferable
        a) due to the federally funded benefits
                i) that it provides.

T visa holders are eligible for the same benefits
        a) as refugees, 23
        b) which is not true
                i) for U visa holders.

To adequately evaluate the importance
        a) of this factor,

1) a practitioner should investigate both
        a) state law benefits and
        b) private assistance availability
                i) in the client’s jurisdiction.



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19 8 CFR §214.11(h)(2).
20 INA §§101(a)(15)(U)(ii) & (T)(ii).
21 INA §212A(b)(6).
22 INA §101(a)(15)(T)(ii)(III).
23 67 FR 4784-4785.




Adjustment of Status (Timing)

Although both
        a) the U visa and
        b) the T visa

    allow for the filing
        a) of adjustment of status
        b) after three years
                i) within their status,

1) some T visa holders are allowed
        a) to apply
                i) without having to wait for the three years to run.

If the T visa holder’s criminal case has been completed,
        a) as declared by the Attorney General,

1) then he or she may apply for adjustment of status
        a) immediately.24

In other words,

if
        a) the investigation and
        b) prosecution

   are
        a) completed or
        b) close to completion,

1) then the wise practitioner may decide
        a) that a T visa is a better alternative.

SCREENING FOR TRAFFICKING VICTIMS

One of the most difficult tasks is identifying those
        a) who have been victims
                i) of human trafficking

1) if they are not coming to you
        a) as a result of an arrest
                i) for something
                        A) related to human trafficking or
        b) as a result of an investigation
                i) into human trafficking.

Many victims
        a) of human trafficking

1) do not even realize
        a) they have been trafficked.

Often times

the incident occurred
        a) years before
                i) you are speaking with them.

This,
        a) coupled with the trauma
                i) they may have suffered
                        A) as a result of
                                I) the trafficking and
                                II) the fear
                                        (a) they may have of their traffickers,

1) can make obtaining the information difficult.

        a) Asking the right questions and
        b) knowing
                i) what red flags to be
                        A) on the lookout for
                ii) in a consultation

1) is critical
        a) to identifying someone
                i) who has been a victim of trafficking.

This can be especially difficult
        a) in the context of labor trafficking
                i) where the facts
                        A) of the trafficking

                   are
                        A) more subtle and
                        B) nuanced
                                I) than in some sex trafficking cases.

However,

many victims
        a) of trafficking -
                i) both
                        A) labor and
                        B) sex trafficking -

1) experience
        a) post-traumatic stress,
        b) shame, and
        c) fear, and
2) thus are hesitant
        a) to reveal the facts
                i) that would demonstrate trafficking.

They may also minimize what occurred.

The key is
        a) identifying the potential issues
                i) in a consultation and
        b) working with the client
                i) to build a relationship
                        A) such that the client feels comfortable
                                I) remembering and
                                II) revealing
                                        (a) the information
                                                (i) necessary to evaluate
                                                        (A) whether she or he qualifies for a T visa.

Here are some
        a) questions and
        b) red flags
                i) to look for
                ii) in assessing
                        A) if someone has been the victim of trafficking:

General Red Flags

ƒ        a. Frequent moves
ƒ        b. Large number of occupants
                i) living in one space
ƒ        c. Live
                i) at or
                ii) near
                        A) work site
ƒ        d. Restricted
                i) movement and/or
                ii) communication
ƒ        e. Lack of privacy
ƒ        f. Lack of personal records
ƒ        g. Limited knowledge of
                i) how to get around the community
ƒ        h. Placement
                i) through a domestic employment agency



eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
24 INA §245(l)(1)(A).



Practice Pointer:

Be familiar with
        a) countries where
                i) sex trafficking and
                ii) forced labor

            are common and
        b) the different forms
                i) they take
                        A) within that society.25

Physical Red Flags

ƒ        a. Injuries
ƒ        b. Signs of
                i) abuse or
                ii) torture
ƒ        c. Branding
                i) (tattoos on
                        A) wrist or
                        B) neck)
ƒ        d. Malnourishment
ƒ        e. Medical issues
                i) (multiple
                        A) abortions or
                        B) miscarriages,
                ii) untreated
                        A) disease or
                        B) illness)
ƒ        f. Reports
                i) rape or
                ii) sexual abuse
ƒ        g. Drug or alcohol addiction

Legal Red Flags

ƒ        a. Does not have control
                i) of legal/travel documents
ƒ        b. Debt/working
                i) to pay off debt
ƒ        c. Third party
                i) who insists on translating/being present
                        A) for all meetings
ƒ        d. Invalid work contract
ƒ        e. Multiple arrests        
                i) (prostitution,
                ii) drugs)

Force/Fraud Coercion Questions

ƒ        a. Have you ever worked
                i) to pay off a debt?
ƒ        b . Have you ever
                i) worked and
                ii) not been paid?
ƒ        c. Have you ever been forced
                i) to work
                ii) against your will?
ƒ        d. Have you ever been forced
                i) to work
                        A) to avoid harm to
                                I) yourself or
                                II) your family?
ƒ        e. If you are paid,

                1) is your money being held for you?
ƒ        f. Were you allowed
                i) to come and
                ii) go
                        A) freely?
ƒ        g. How did you get your job?
ƒ        h. How did you get to this country?
ƒ        i. Who brought you to this country?
ƒ        j. Was there a signed contract?
ƒ        k. Who organized your travel?
ƒ        l. Who paid for you visa application/travel?
ƒ        m. Do you owe your employer money?
ƒ        n. Are you in possession
                i) of your own legal documents?

                If not,

                1) who is?
ƒ        o. Were you provided false documents?
ƒ        p. Where do you live?
ƒ        q. Do you have adequate food/shelter?
ƒ        r. Do other people live/work with you?

                If so,

                1) are they free to leave?




eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
25         See         U.S.         Department         of         State         Trafficking         in         Persons         Report         2014         at         www.state.gov/
j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/index.htm.



Physical Abuse Questions

ƒ        a. Have you ever been threatened

                1) if you try to leave?
ƒ        b. Have you ever witnessed
                i) threats or
                ii) harm
                        A) against someone else
                                I) who tried to leave?
ƒ        c. Has your family been threatened?
ƒ        d. Has another person’s family been threatened?
ƒ        e. Have you witnessed physical abuse?
ƒ        f. Has abuse been reported?
ƒ        g. Have you had food withheld?
ƒ        h. Have you been forced
                i) to use drugs or alcohol?

Sex Trafficking Questions

ƒ        a. Has anyone
                i) take pictures of you
                        A) in a compromising position and
                ii) threatened
                        A) to make them public or
                        B) put them on the internet?
ƒ        b. Have you been
                i) raped/forced
                        A) to have sex with someone or
                ii) forced to perform sexual acts?
ƒ        c. Has someone ever
                i) encouraged you or
                ii) forced
                        A) to have sex with someone
                                I) as favor to them?

Lack of Freedom Questions

ƒ        a. Is your freedom restricted/

                1) can you come and go
                        A) as you please?
ƒ        b. Can you leave your job
        
                1) if you want?
ƒ        c. Do you
                i) live and
                ii) work
                        A) in the same place?
ƒ        d. Are you physically restrained
                i) at work or home
                ii) (locks, video cameras, guards)?
ƒ        e. Do you have access
                i) to media
                ii) (phone, TV, radio)?
ƒ        f. Can you go shopping alone?
ƒ        g. Can you attend private appointments
                i) alone (doctor)?
ƒ        h. Does someone monitor or track your behavior?


com·pro·mis·ing
ˈkämprəˌmīziNG/제출
adjective
(of information or a situation) revealing an embarrassing or incriminating secret about someone.
"to cover up compromising evidence of malpractice“

com·pro·mise  (kŏm′prə-mīz′)
n.
1.
a. A settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions.
b. The result of such a settlement.
2. Something that combines qualities or elements of different things: The incongruous design is a compromise between high tech and early American.
3. A weakening or reduction of one's principles or standards: a compromise of morality.
4. Impairment, as by disease or injury: physiological compromise.
v. com·pro·mised, com·pro·mis·ing, com·pro·mis·es
v.intr.
1. To arrive at a settlement by making concessions.
2. To reduce the quality, value, or degree of something, such as one's ideals.
v.tr.
1.
a. To expose or make liable to danger, suspicion, or disrepute: a secret mission that was compromised and had to be abandoned.
b. To reduce in quality, value, or degree; weaken or lower: Don't compromise your standards.
2. To impair, as by disease or injury: an immune system that was compromised by a virus.
3. To settle by mutual concessions: a dispute that was compromised.
[Middle English compromis, from Old French, from Latin comprōmissum, mutual promise, from neuter past participle of comprōmittere, to promise mutually : com-, com- + prōmittere, to promise; see promise.]



TIPS FOR REPRESENTING VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING

Like victims of
        a) domestic violence,
        
1) trafficking victims endure varying
        a) types and
        b) degrees of harm.

As a result

1) they often suffer from
        a) post-traumatic stress disorder
                i) (PTSD),
        b) depression,
        c) anxiety,
        d) panic attacks,
        e) memory loss,
        f) personality and dissociative disorder.

Many trafficking victims also display signs of
        a) traumatic bonding or
        b) Stockholm syndrome
                i) in which they
                        A) bond with their exploiters and
                        B) sometimes view them
                                I) as their protector.

bond  (bŏnd)
n.
1. Something, such as a fetter, cord, or band, that binds, ties, or fastens things together.
2. often bonds Confinement in prison; captivity.
3. A uniting force or tie; a link: the familial bond.
4. A binding agreement; a covenant.
5. A duty, promise, or other obligation by which one is bound.
6.
a. A substance or agent that causes two or more objects or parts to cohere.
b. The union or cohesion brought about by such a substance or agent.
7. A chemical bond.
8. A systematically overlapping or alternating arrangement of bricks or stones in a wall, designed to increase strength and stability.
9. A written obligation requiring the payment of a sum at a certain time.
10. A debt security obligating a government or corporation to pay a specified amount on a future date, especially a marketable security that makes semiannual interest payments.
11.
a. A guarantee issued by a surety agency on behalf of a client, requiring the surety to pay a sum of money to a third party in the event the client fails to fulfill certain obligations; a surety bond.
b. A sum pledged as a guarantee.
12. A sum paid as a guarantee of a person's appearance at court for trial; bail: set bond at $100,000; released the prisoner on a $10,000 bond.
13. The condition of being held under the guarantee of a customs bond: imported merchandise stored in bond.
14. An insurance contract that indemnifies an employer for loss resulting from a fraudulent or dishonest act by an employee; a fidelity bond.
15. Bond paper.
v. bond·ed, bond·ing, bonds
v.tr.
1. To join securely, as with glue or cement.
2. To join (two or more individuals) in a relationship, as by shared belief or experience: An interest in banking reform bonded the two political opponents.
3.
a. To finance by issuing bonds: Two projects have already been bonded.
b. To raise by issuing bonds: The city bonded $900,000 for the new park.
4. To gain the release of (someone who has been arrested) by providing a bail bond: bonded his cousin out of jail.
5. To issue a surety bond or a fidelity bond for.
6. To lay (bricks or stones) in an overlapping or alternating pattern.
v.intr.
1. To cohere with a bond.
2. To form a close personal relationship.
3. To secure release from prison by providing a bail bond: The accused bonded out of jail.
[Middle English, variant of band, from Old Norse; see bhendh- in Indo-European roots.]
bond′a·bil′i·ty n.
bond′a·ble adj.
bond′er n.
bond (bɒnd)
n
1. something that binds, fastens,
← End



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