Dec 9, 2017
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based
Violence is an international campaign to challenge
violence against women and girls. The campaign runs very year from
November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of
Violence against Women, to December 10, Human
Rights Day. You can learn more at
UNWomen.org or checkout Twitter or Instagram hashtags
#16daysofactivism, or #OrangeTheWorld
There is no Citizenship interview or quiz today. Instead we are going to talk about the USCIS U Visa: Relief for Victims of Criminal Activity. Listen and learn--there maybe something on this short podcast that you can use to help a friend, a family member, or even a total stranger.
This podcast is a follow-up to our December 4 podcast about the T Visa: Relief for Victims of Human Trafficking. Also see our Nov 25 blog post, Resources for immigrants Against Gender-Based Violence http://bit.ly/16DaysforImmigrants/. Look for our Dec 10 post: Resources for Human Rights Day; and Dec 15, Bill of Rights Day
Let's get started.
The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is relief for the victims of violent crimes.
In 2000, Congress passed a law called the Victims of Trafficking
Violence Protection Act which included the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act. This law strengthened the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute violent crimes committed in the United States such as:
Female Genital Mutilation
When these crimes occur, many victims choose to remain silent because of their immigration status, inability to speak English, or mistrust of the "strangers" such as police or doctors. A victim may avoid getting medical attention for her injuries because questions that might be asked that are too painful to answer. She doesn't want to answer the question, "Who hurt you?" Although it may seem that she is protecting her abuser, she simply wants the pain to stop. And sometimes a victim to too ashamed to tell her own friends and family.
To fight against these violent crimes in the immigrant community, the USCIS issues a U visa, which allows documented and undocumented victims to stay and work temporarily in the United States. In return, the victims help the police by identifying criminals and testifying about crimes. The U Visa can lead to legal permanent status and naturalization for the survivor and their immediate family.
Because of the many laws involved with violent crimes, a victim is strongly advised to work with lawyers accredited through the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
The lawyers can help the crime victim fill out USCIS Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status.
It is also helpful to include Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification in which a law enforcement official provides more information about the criminal case.
Finally, the victim must write a personal letter (statement) which describes the crime and how it changed the victim's life. The victim may also need to provide police, court, or medical records related to the crime.
More forms are needed to apply for visas for a survivor's family members. But the time and effort is worth it. The victim is not only fighting for justice on their own behalf, they are helping to restore the peace and security in their own family and community at large.
If you are a victim of a violent crime, call 911.
To learn more about the U Visa, go to USCIS.gov
Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant
Víctimas de actos criminales: estatus U de no
I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status
ILRC: U Visa/T Visa/VAWA
ILRC: A Guide to Obtaining U Visa
ILRC: Cómo obtener una visa U: Ayuda inmigratoria para
victimas de crimen
ILRC: Immigration Relief for Immigrant Survivors of
Abuse: Comparative Quick Reference Chart
Thanks to the students and staff of Milpitas Adult School.
Please visit us on the web at uscitizenpod.com where you can find
more resources for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based
Violence. While you are there, click the link for
USALearns Citizenship--a free online Citizenship
from the Sacramento County Office of Education. You can also click the link to visit the uscitizenpod channel on YouTube, download our free apps, or buy our book, US Citizenship Bootcamp which is now available Amazon. Thanks for listening; I know that you Will be a great American citizen. Thank you so much, bye-bye.
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