..."Immigration relief for victims of human trafficking"

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By Alberto Gonzales

Immigration Attorney

(708) 916-3077

Title 22 of U.S. Code Section 7102 defines “severe trafficking” as utilizing “force, fraud, or coercion” to victimize someone for use in sex trafficking. “Severe trafficking” also includes “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.”

Victims who are under 18 need not prove “force, fraud, or coercion”. If applicable, Maria is encouraged to obtain a certification from the investigating or prosecuting law enforcement agency that confirms her victimization and her cooperation with such agency.

Good moral character

The T Visa is available to victims who are in removal/deportation proceedings. Moreover, qualifying victims are “forgiven” their previous immigration violations (i.e. entry with false papers or without inspection, overstaying their visas, etc.) if their presence is in the national interest and if their immigration violation was “caused by, or [was] incident to, the victimization ….”

If the victim is under 21, the victim’s spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under 18 may also be given derivative T Visas. If the victim is at least age 21, the victim’s spouse and children may also be given derivative T Visas.
Finally, T Visas are normally granted for a maximum period of four years, and T Visa holders may receive work authorization. Principal T Visa holders may apply for U.S. permanent residence in the U.S.: (1) after having been in the U.S. on T Visas for at least three years; or (2) after having been present in the U.S. when a trafficking case, now completed, was being investigated or prosecuted.

Moreover, they must also show good moral character, amongst meeting other requirements, to qualify for permanent residence. Derivative T Visa holders may apply at the same time for U.S. permanent residence as their principal T Visa family member.

Source consulted: Kurzban, Ira J., Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook 1145 et seq. (15th ed. 2016).




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