Victims of certain crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse while in the United States, and who are willing to assist law enforcement or other government officials in prosecuting the crime, are eligible to apply for "U Status." U Status permits victims to remain in the United States, and they are eligible to apply later for permanent residency and ultimately U.S. Citizenship. However, recent policy updates from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") will make it harder for victims to come forward.
Under former administrations, individuals who had applied for U Status would not be at risk for deportation if their application was ultimately denied, as this would produce a chilling effect on victims of crimes willing to come forward. Immigration law and policy is rapidly changing, and the current policy in 2019 allows for victims who have had their application denied to be subject to detention and for the initiation of immigration removal (deportation) proceedings.
This policy puts those at risk who have filed an application on their own and did not provide sufficient documentation or corroboration of their claim. It is therefore absolutely necessary to hire an attorney to represent you when filing for U Status. If you or someone you know is a victim of crime, or has questions about U Status, give the attorneys at Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC a call at (615) 366-1211.