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Legal Projects

New Beginnings Project

If you are in crisis, please call 9-1-1, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224. The hotline has information about shelters, mental health care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about filing for immigration status. For more information, visit the National Domestic Violence website.

The New Beginnings Project assists battered immigrants and their children to obtain legal status through cooperation with law enforcement, thereby gaining the independence needed to escape a cycle of violence. Victims receive priority intake at ILCM, and are immediately provided with safety planning services and referrals. ILCM then assists many of these vulnerable immigrants and their families in applying for legal status. Legal status, when awarded, lifts these victims and their families out of crisis and empowers them to obtain self-sufficiency and stability without fear of having their status exposed so that they can begin to rebuild their lives.

The New Beginnings Project is one of ILCM’s largest projects, comprising approximately 17 percent of our annual caseload. All cases served through this project benefit immigrant victims of violent crime, for which there are several unique and critical forms of legal status available. In the interest of expanding protection to the nation’s most vulnerable immigrants, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA, more commonly known by the “U” and “T” visas it provides) legislation were enacted specifically to encourage a victim’s cooperation with law enforcement, and to provide immigration protection to the victim and their children.

There are three main avenues for legal status for immigrant victims of violence. 1) VAWA provides an avenue for legal immigration status to victims of domestic abuse who suffer at the hands of a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen spouse, child, or parent. Through VAWA, a victim can file Form I-360 if they have not yet received a Green Card through their spouse, child, or parent. 2) The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) provide visas to persons (including children) who are victims of serious crimes such as rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, prostitution, female genital mutilation, kidnapping, and others. Through this provision, an immigrant can file for a U-visa or T-visa, which grants U- or T-nonimmigrant status, and the authorization to work, drive, and enroll in benefits programs without fear. After three years with a U-visa, victims are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence. 3) The I-751 application is a venue for immigrants with a conditional Green Card, dependent on their spouse, to remove these conditions on residency and secure the Green Card without their abuser’s sponsorship through marriage.

Immigration Relief for Immigrant Victims (English and español): 

Below is basic information about attaining a U visa. If you are interested in applying for a U visa with ILCM, please refer to our Immigration Help page and our eligibility and intake requirements.

U visa resources for victims of violent crime who are seeking, have applied for, or currently have U visa status:

What is the U-visa?

The U visa is a special visa for the victims of certain crimes, including crimes of domestic violence and sexual assault, among others. The person must be the victim, or “indirect victim” of the crime, cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation of the crime and show that they have suffered on account of the crime. Some of the victim’s family members can be included in a U-visa application. Your attorney or representative will talk with you more about which family members can be included.

If your case is approved, immigration will grant you U nonimmigrant status for four years with the ability to work for those four years and the ability to apply for legal permanent residence after three years in U nonimmigrant status.

What is a waiver? Why do I need it? What does it require?

Immigration law defines many categories of people who are not eligible to receive visas. These include people who commit crimes, people who have been deported, or entered the country illegally, or who have stayed in the U.S. illegally for certain periods of time. It also includes have certain health related conditions, including mental health issues and drug or alcohol problems, and people who have committed immigration fraud (lied to immigration), or who have said they are U.S. citizens when they are not. These are just some examples.

Your attorney will review your case very carefully to see if any of these apply to your case. If any of these apply, you will need to file a waiver (form I-192), and prove that it is in the public interest for you to stay in the U.S. Your attorney or representative will give you more information on the waiver and will help you prepare it. It is very important to tell your attorney or representative the truth at all times. His/her role is to help you win your case. Remember all the information you tell your attorney or representative is confidential, until the case is filed with immigration. The information you tell him/her is used to figure out how to protect you and prepare the best possible case.

¿Qué es una Visa U?

La visa U es una visa especial para las víctimas de ciertos delitos que incluyen violencia doméstica y abuso sexual, entre otros. La persona deberá ser la víctima, o la “víctima indirecta” del delito, deberá cooperar con la policía en la investigación del delito y demostrar que ha sufrido debido a ello. Algunos de los miembros familiares de la víctima pueden ser incluidos en la aplicación de la visa U. Su abogado o representante le explicará más detalladamente cuales miembros de su familia pueden ser incluidos.

Si su caso es aprobado, la oficina de inmigración le concederá estatus de visa U por cuatro años con permiso de trabajo y usted tendrá el derecho de aplicar para la Residencia Permanente tres años después de la aprobación.

¿Qué es un waiver?¿Porqué lo necesito?¿Cuáles son los requisitos?

La ley Inmigratoria determina muchas categorías de personas que no califican para recibir visas. Estas categorías incluyen personas que hayan cometido un delito, personas que han sido deportadas o hayan ingresado al país ilegalmente o han permanecido en los Estados Unidos de manera ilegal por ciertos períodos de tiempo. También incluye a personas con ciertos problemas de salud, como problemas de salud mental, drogas y alcohol o personas que han cometido un fraude inmigratorio (que hayan mentido a la inmigración) o que hayan dicho ser ciudadanos Estadounidenses cuando no lo eran. Estos son sólo ejemplos.

Su abogado estudiará su caso muy cuidadosamente para ver si cualquiera de ellos se aplica a su caso. En el caso de que si se aplicaran a su caso, usted deberá enviar un “waiver” (o perdón) (formulario I-192) y comprobar que su estadía en los Estados Unidos es un beneficio para la sociedad. Su abogado o representante le proveerá de más información sobre el waiver y le ayudará a prepararlo. Es muy importante decirle a su abogado o representante la verdad en todo momento. Su trabajo es ayudarlo/a a ganar su caso. Recuerde que toda la información que usted le provea a su abogado o representante es confidencial hasta que el caso es enviado a la oficina de inmigración. La información que usted  provea será usada para protegerlo/a y preparar el mejor caso posible.