Immigration Attorney for Humanitarian Benefits
When wars, persecution, and other crises occur throughout the world, many seek shelter in the United States of America.
At Pelton + Balducci, we have successfully handled many asylum cases.
Temporary Protected Status
There is another avenue for people seeking protection in the United States: Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
As the name suggests, this method is a temporary way to stay in the U.S., and is only a short-term solution available to applications from certain countries designated by the U.S. to have unstable conditions. These conditions may include political unrest or armed conflict, natural disasters (such as earthquakes or hurricanes), or other conditions making it impractical or unsafe to return.
The current countries from which citizens could be eligible for TPS are as follows:
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
People who receive TPS status are not required to leave the U.S. as long as their country’s TPS designation continues and are granted work authorization for temporary periods. Eligible individuals can apply for TPS with USCIS.
Some of the eligibility requirements include:
- Being continuously physically present in the U.S. since the most recent designation date of their home country;
- Being a continuous resident in the United States since the date specified for their country;
- Not being convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States; and
- Not being subject to one of the bars to asylum.
However, it’s important to note that TPS does not lead to permanent resident status.
Because the deadlines, requirements, and other specific information about applicants from these countries may vary and change rapidly, we recommend getting in touch with our team at Pelton + Balducci as soon as possible. Our immigration attorneys are happy to discuss TPS with anyone who believes they are eligible, as well as determining any possible paths to permanent residency once their TPS expires.
Benefits for Survivors of Crimes and Domestic Violence
Undocumented immigrants are among the most vulnerable members of our communities. Recognizing that abusers and criminals often take advantage the vulnerability created by a lack of immigration status, Congress created important benefits for survivors of domestic violence and crime in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Unfortunately, the family-based immigration process gives abusive spouses significant leverage over their victims. They can threaten their undocumented spouses and their children with deportation if they seek to escape the abusive relationship or to protect themselves. They may also refuse to file petitions for their family members unless they comply with the abuser’s demands.
The VAWA self-petition allows abused spouses of US citizens or lawful permanent residents to petition for themselves. This empowers abused spouses (and their children) to escape the control of their abusers in order to obtain lawful immigration status. It is important to note that parents who are abused by adult US citizen children may also file VAWA self petitions, and these self-petitions are available to abused individuals irrespective of gender.
T and U Nonimmigrant Status
VAWA also created important protections for trafficking victims (T nonimmigrant status) and victims of certain enumerated serious crimes (U nonimmigrant status). Congress created these benefits to encourage undocumented victims of crime to report the criminal activity that they had suffered and to strengthen the ability of law enforcement to arrest criminals in the United States.
Petitioners for T nonimmigrant status must prove that they are victims of a “severe form of trafficking” and are in the United States on account of the trafficking activity. They must also demonstrate that they have complied with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking and that they would suffer extreme hardship if they were to be removed in the United States.
Petitioners for U nonimmigrant status must prove that they were victims of certain crimes specified by statute, that they have suffered significant abuse as a result of the criminal activity, and that they have cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the activity. Petitions for U nonimmigrant status also require a law enforcement certification completed on Form I-918 Supplement B in which a law enforcement agency or judge involved in the case confirms the petitioner’s victimization.
Both T and U petitioners may petition for their spouses and for their children under 21-years-old. Successful T and U petitions confer protection from removal, authorization to work, and provide a path to lawful permanent residency (and ultimately citizenship).
Schedule a Consultation to get started with a New Orleans immigration attorney
At Pelton + Balducci, we can help our clients navigate through the challenges of the asylum, VAWA self-petitions, and petitions for U and T nonimmigrant status by utilizing our combined 50 years of field experience to passionately and meticulously advocate on their behalf. Our team is fluent in both English and Spanish, and we can work with translators as needed. Call (504) 708-5400 today to schedule your consultation so we can get started on your case.