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Changes in U visa program leave many at risk

You may feel as if you will always be in danger. If you came to Colorado to find safety and security, you may have felt your dreams shatter when you became the victim of a crime. Whether you were an object of human trafficking or the victim of domestic abuse, the violence may have left you wondering if you would ever trust anyone again. The fact that you are in the U.S. without documentation makes it even more difficult for you.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offer several options, including the U visa program for those who are in the country unlawfully but who are also victims of crimes. The government approves a limited number of U visas each year, and if you applied for the program, you may now worry that you have once again placed yourself in danger.

How to apply

Because so few of these special visas are issued each year, typically 10,000, some applicants may wait many years before obtaining a visa. This means living in the U.S. without a lawful status to protect you from deportation. However, acceptance into the U visa program allows you to remain in the U.S. legally by granting you a visa based on your status as a victim of crime. To apply, you must submit the following:

  • An application for a visa
  • Evidence that you were a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or human trafficking
  • Documentation that you suffered significant trauma, physically or mentally, from the abuse
  • Certification from law enforcement that you assisted them in bringing to justice the person who abused you

This evidence is often difficult to obtain, and failing to provide it may result in a denial of your application. In fact, the government denies about 2,800 U visa applications each year. When this happens, you do not have the protection of the immigration agency.

More frightening news

Recent changes in immigration policies are making the rejection of a U visa application a dangerous situation to face. It seems that the government is more frequently taking steps to deport those who are in the country without lawful status, including those whose U visa applications are not approved or who have been waiting for years for approval.

If you have already applied for a U visa, intend to apply, are waiting for a decision or have received a rejection, your future may be at risk. Seeking the advice of an attorney with experience in immigration law may be a prudent move.

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