When an immigrant in the United States is the victim of domestic violence or another violent crime, it is not uncommon for him or her to be reluctant to report the offense to law enforcement because of fears about the impact doing so might have on his or her immigration status. Many foreign nationals who are the victims of abuse committed by United States citizens fear that reporting crimes to authorities will result in deportation.
In truth, federal law provides many safeguards for immigrants who are the victims of criminal offenses in the United States. Aliens who are the victims of abuse may be able to file petitions to be granted legal status, usually provided that the victims assist law enforcement in the prosecution of the criminal offenses.
Attorneys for Victims of Abuse in Houston, TX
Are you the victim of a violent crime who is concerned about protecting your immigration status in Southeast Texas? You will want to contact The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC as soon as possible.
Our Houston immigration lawyers represent clients in Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown and many others. Call (832) 530-4070 today to have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
Overview of Victims of Abuse in Harris County
Types of Victims of Abuse in Texas
The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC has experience assisting victims of abuse in filing various visa applications. Some of the different visas that may be available to victims of abuse include:
- Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) — Immigrants may be able to get a green card or become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) if they are the victims of battery or extreme cruelty committed by a U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse; a U.S. citizen parent; a U.S. citizen son or daughter; a lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse; or an LPR parent.
- Asylum — Immigrants may qualify for asylum if they have been the victims of domestic violence and the government in the home country is unwilling or unable to protect them.
- T-Visa — Victims of severe forms of human trafficking (and certain qualifying family members) can remain in the United States for up to four years if they assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking.
- U-Visa — Victims of certain crimes may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if they have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity; have information about the criminal activity; were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; the crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws; and they are admissible to the United States.
Immigration Challenges for Victims of Abuse in Texas
While law enforcement agencies and lawmakers have made many efforts to improve the rights of immigrants who are the victims of violent crimes, the simple truth remains that many aliens who are victims in these cases remain silent out of simple fears. In many cases, victims are totally unaware of their rights.
In some cases, victims base their fears on misinformation they were provided about dealing with police officers. In other cases, simple language barriers can be obstacles that make immigrants uncomfortable reporting crimes to authorities.
Another common challenge for victims of abuse is fears about what might happen to the loved ones who committed acts of violence or domestic violence. Families often depend on abusers for financial support, and prison sentences for abusers create additional fears about child custody.
The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC understands the many reasons that victims of domestic violence or other violent crimes can be afraid to come forward. We assist people all over the greater Harris County and help them understand all of their immigration rights.
Victims of Abuse Resources in Harris County
Information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States and Facts about Immigrating on a Marriage-Based Visa Fact Sheet — Visit this section of the USCIS website to view a fact sheet that explains domestic violence and informs immigrants of their legal rights in the United States. Find answers to several frequently asked questions about these issues. One section also lists services available to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States.
Abuse & Immigrants | The National Domestic Violence Hotline — The National Domestic Violence Hotline is supported by a grant from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the website is funded in part through a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Visit this section of the National Domestic Violence Hotline website to find abuse information for immigrants in the United States. Learn more about tactics that abusive partners use on victims as well as legal rights available to immigrant victims of domestic violence in the U.S.
Lawyers for Victims of Abuse in Houston, TX
If you were the victim of abuse in Harris County who is concerned about how reporting the crime could impact your immigration status, it will be in your best interest to retain legal counsel. The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC assists individuals in communities all over Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown and many others.
Our immigration attorneys in Houston will guide you through the application process and help you obtain legal status. You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (832) 530-4070 or submit an online contact form to set up a free, confidential consultation.