A coalition of Latino nonprofits is working to help victims of the Orlando shooting and their family members, including those who are undocumented immigrants. According to the latest updates, there were three victims in the shooting who were undocumented. Two were injured and are now recovering in the hospital, while the other person died in the attack.
The Hispanic Federation is heading up the coalition, called Somos Orlando (We Are Orlando), with the express purpose of helping the Latino victims of the shooting, as a great majority of those killed in the attack as well as the injured survivors are Hispanic.
The struggle wasn’t over…
Unfortunately the struggle wasn’t over after the shooting for the undocumented victims of the attack. Their families fear that they may also face deportation, especially in light of the anti-immigration rhetoric that’s been prevalent in the country as of late. While it’s understandable that these people don’t feel safe, they do in fact have rights under U.S. law that protect them as victims of a crime.
One of the options for the undocumented victims is to apply for a U visa. This nonimmigrant visa was created specifically to help undocumented victims of serious crimes, as well as their family members. Somos Orlando has set up a service center to connect the victims and their families with immigration assistance such as visa applications and other support.
How does one obtain a U Visa?
Victims of specific crimes who can be of help to law enforcement in a criminal investigation can qualify for a U visa. There are other conditions that may qualify someone – the best way to find out if you or a family member is eligible is to contact a knowledgeable immigration attorney.
Along with completing the I-918 form, U visa applicants must make a statement about the crime and the information they have that could help in the case. People who need to escape violent situations abroad (or their family members) can also pursue U visas that will allow them to enter the U.S. There is no cost to apply, and the visa is good for four years. After three years, recipients can apply for permanent residence.