Victims of Human Trafficking Could Receive a T Visa
To protect victims of human trafficking and help end the horrific practice, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act allows victims to remain in the U.S. with a special T visa. While this visa is not a permanent immigrant visa, those who obtain a T visa are able to work in the U.S. and may become eligible to adjust their status and obtain a green card.
The law office of Luis F. Hess PLLC is committed to helping victims and their families succeed in life and in their immigration goals. We understand how to obtain a T visa and will guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf with immigration authorities to achieve success.
Human Trafficking Includes Both Labor Trafficking and Sex Trafficking
Although most people associate human trafficking with sex crimes such as forced prostitution, the U.S. government is also committed to stopping labor trafficking. This includes situations where someone uses fraud or coercion to force a worker into laboring to pay off a debt or serve in bondage. It is considered “modern day slavery,” according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
For purposes of obtaining a T visa, trafficking in persons is defined to include recruiting or transporting:
- A minor for performance of commercial sex acts
- An adult who is forced to perform commercial sex acts
- An adult who is fraudulently included into performing commercial sex acts
- Anyone who is induced or forced to provide labor involuntarily
- Anyone who is forced to provide labor to pay off a debt
Many forced labor situations involve subtle forms of coercion that can be difficult to prove. An experienced immigration attorney understands the challenge and can help present evidence persuasively to show why a U visa applicant is a qualifying victim of a severe form of human trafficking.
Eligibility Requirements for a T Visa
In addition to showing that an applicant was the victim of trafficking, it is necessary to demonstrate that the applicant was present in the U.S. or U.S. territory because of trafficking and that the applicant complied with reasonable requests for assistance from law enforcement officials. If the victim was unable to cooperate due to age or disability, that requirement may be waived.
A T visa applicant must also show that they would suffer “extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm” if they were to be removed from the U.S. Finally, the applicant must either show that they meet the standards for admissibility or that sufficient reasons exist to grant a waiver of admissibility requirements.
Family Members of Victims May Also Qualify
If certain family members may face retaliation because of a victim’s escape from trafficking or cooperation with criminal investigations, then these family members may also be able to receive a derivative T visa. Qualifying family members include parents, unmarried minor siblings, and their children.
Additionally, other family members may receive a derivative visa even if they are not in danger of retaliation. These include spouses, unmarried children under age 21, and sometimes parents and siblings.
A Dedicated Immigration Lawyer Helps Trafficking Victims and Their Families Remain in the U.S. with T Visas
If you or a loved one suffered from a trafficking arrangement, an experienced immigration attorney could help you demonstrate that you deserve to receive a T visa. At Luis F. Hess, PLLC, our team is dedicated to helping victims obtain relief with immigration issues, including all applicable visa opportunities. Contact our office today to learn how we could assist in your situation.