In our last blog, we looked at recently passed Illinois legislation that provides new protections for immigrants, including by making it more difficult for ICE to detain immigrants in Illinois jails. Since then, the Biden administration has issued new guidance to ICE with the intention of reducing the detention of immigrants throughout the U.S. Specifically, the new directive aims to protect immigrants who have been victims of crimes.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers several options for immigrant crime victims to apply for protection and lawful status. These include:
U Visas - The U nonimmigrant status is available to victims of crimes related to mental and physical abuse who are willing to help law enforcement with the prosecution of the crimes.
T Visas - The T nonimmigrant status is similar to a U visa, but it is specifically meant to protect victims of human trafficking.
VAWA Adjustment of Status - The Violence Against Women Act allows immigrants to apply for a Green Card when they have been victims of domestic abuse at the hands of a spouse, parent, or child who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Unfortunately, it has sometimes been the practice of ICE to detain crime victims who have not been able to secure lawful immigration status. When this happens, a crime victim could be at risk of deportation if they are ineligible for one of the above statuses, if they have not yet applied, or even if they have an application pending. This practice can discourage crime victims from seeking the protection they need, and it can also make them distrustful of cooperating with law enforcement to apprehend the offenders. The Biden administration’s policy seeks to end this practice and foster more positive relationships between immigrants and law enforcement.
Even with the new guidance for ICE, agents still have the discretion to detain crime victims under extraordinary circumstances. If you find that you are detained after reporting a crime or in the course of an investigation, it is important to work with an attorney who can help protect your rights and prepare for any scheduled hearings. A lawyer can help you understand all of the available options for avoiding deportation, which may include demonstrating that you are eligible for relief in the form of a U or T visa or an adjustment of status.
Whether you have been the victim of a crime and you need legal advice regarding how to proceed, or you have been detained by ICE and are facing possible deportation, the experienced Illinois immigration lawyers at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices can help. For a free consultation, contact us today at 630-932-9100.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.
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