What are other legal options?
1. Asylum - Asylum is a form of protection that allows individuals who are in the United States to remain here and eventually to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident, provided that they meet the definition of a refugee and are not barred from either applying for or being granted asylum. For definition of a refugee please go to http://www.uscis.gov
2. Special immigrant juvenile LPR status (SIJS) for undocumented children found to be dependent on a juvenile court.
3. T nonimmigrant visas for victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons. The T-visa is for victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons who assist in the investigation or prosecution of trafficking and who would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if they were deported. Trafficking victims who receive the T-Visa are given temporary resident status in the United States for up to 4 years (with the option to extend for year-by-year if law enforcement finds it necessary to assist in a criminal investigation or prosecution), and are eligible for employment authorization. After 3 years, they may also be eligible to receive permanent resident status. In some cases, CIS can reduce the year wait if it receives certification that law enforcement officials do not object.
To qualify for the T-Visa, you must:
Be a victim of a “severe form of trafficking in persons,” which is defined under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 as:
(A) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
(B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. 1
Be willing to assist in any reasonable requests in the investigation or prosecution of trafficking acts. You may seek a waiver of this requirement to cooperate with law enforcement if you can show that your physical or psychological trauma prevents you from cooperating.
If you are a minor under the age of 18, you do not have to assist in the investigation in order to apply for a T-Visa.2
4. Battered Spouse and Child Waiver - For abused conditional permanent residents [based upon I-130 filed by spouse], INS § 216 waiver of requirement of joint petition to remove the condition. If you are married with an abusive US citizen or to an abusive lawful permanent resident, the condition on your 2 year conditional permanent legal status can be removed.
The options listed above are complicated, but they might be helpful for your situation. Also, there are other forms of immigration relief that you could possibly be eligible for. If you are interested in learning about your options, please talk to an immigration lawyer. You’ll see a list of organizations you can contact at the bottom of this page. You can also find help in your area on our Immigration page. You can also find help in your area on the Advocates and Shelters page for your state. You may also email us and we’ll try to help find someone to help you. Please, write to our Email Hotline.
1 22 U.S.C.A. § 7102
2 Trafficking in Persons: A Guide for Non-governmental Organizations (Brochure). Available: https://www.nsvrc.org/publications/guides/trafficking-persons-guide-non-governmental-organizations