An individual may apply for asylum in the United States if that individual has suffered persecution or have a well founded fear that they will suffer persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion if returned to their home county.
You can apply for asylum two ways. The first way to apply is “defensively,” if you are placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge with the Executive Office of Immigration Review. You can apply for asylum with the immigration judge. The second way you can apply for asylum is if you are inside the United States and are not currently in removal proceedings. You may apply “affirmatively” for asylum by filing with USCIS. Generally, you have to apply within one year of your most recent arrival into the United States for asylum with some exceptions.
Applying for Asylum is a very complex process. If you are interested in applying for asylum, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.
Temporary Protective Status
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) provides temporary status for qualified individuals from designated countries who are in the United States to stay here for a limited time period. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS based on certain country conditions that temporarily prevent a foreign national from returning to their home country oten due to safety reasons. A country may be designated for TPS due to on-going armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the country.
To check if your country is a designated country please see the list of countries here: http://www.justice.gov/eoir/vll/fedreg/tpsnet.html
Immigration laws can change frequently. It is important that you contact an immigration lawyer to determine if you qualify for Temporary Protective Status.
Victims of Human Trafficking and Other Crimes
There are visas available for victims of human trafficking and other crimes. Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. Human trafficking is where traffickers control a person through force, fraud, or coercion and exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or sometimes both. Also, individuals and families may fall victim to many other types of crime in the United States such as domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, murder, and many others.
T Nonimmigrant Status (T Visa)
T nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection to victims of trafficking. The T Visa allows victims to remain in the United States so long as they assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the human trafficking case.
U Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa)
U nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection victims of crime who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime and have, or willing to assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of that crime.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is available for children under the age of 21 years old on the filing date who have been abused neglected or abandoned, reunification with one or both parents is not possible, and it is not in the child’s best interest to be returned to their home county. This visa allows children to get a green card. In order to apply for SIJS, you must obtain a state court order that declares the child a dependent of the court or to legally place you with a state agency, private agency, or a private person. Once you obtain a state court order, you may apply for SIJS by filing a form I-360 with USCIS. SIJS does not allow you to petition for your mother, father, or siblings.
Since SIJS requires a state court order and an application with USCIS, it is important to consult with a lawyer experienced in both family and immigration law. Nguyen Lee Law Group is experienced in both matters and can fully assist you with your application.
Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals
“Deferred Action,” essentially means that the government will not take any deportation action against a qualifying individual to remove them from the United States for a certain period of time. You may also apply for work authorization if you are granted deferred action.
In order to qualify for DACA, you needed to meet the following requirements:
- As of June 15, 2012, you were under the age of 31
- Came to the United before reaching your 16th birthday
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present;
- Been living in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you intend to file for deferred action
- You did not have lawful status on June 15, 2012
- You are currently in school, have graduated, or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed forced in the United States;
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors and you do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
DACA was expanded on November 20, 2014 through President Obama’s Executive Action allowing renewal of DACA applications and acceptance of new applicants. DACA was also expanded by changing the required continuous residence in the United States to that of January 1, 2010 rather than the prior requirement of June 15, 2007, and extending the deferred action and employment authorization period to three years from the previous two years.
Deferred Action for Parents of United States Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)
On November 14, 2014, President Obama announced Deferred Action for Parents of United States Citizens and Lawful permanent residents (DAPA). To qualify for DAPA, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Be a parent of a US Citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- Have continuously lived in the US since January 1, 2010
- Have been present in the US on November 20, 2014.
- Not have a lawful status at the time you apply for DAPA
- Have not been convicted of certain criminal offenses, including any felonies and some misdemeanors.
DAPA will also apply to parents who have adopted children or stepchildren. However, the parents must have been married before the stepchild was 18; or if the child was adopted before the age of 16 and has lived with the parent for two years.
Battered Spouse Waivers
If you are a battered spouse, child, or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This allows battered spouses and children to apply for their green card without the abusers knowledge. For Battered spouses to qualify, you must have been married to a US Citizen or permanent resident abuser, your marriage to the abuser, or your marriage to the abuser was terminated by death or a divorce within 2 years of filing your petition, you have suffered battery/extreme cruelty by your US citizen spouse or permanent resident spouse, you have been abused or your children have been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by your US Citizen spouse or permanent resident, you entered into the marriage in good faith, you have resided with your US Citizen spouse, and you are a person of good moral character.