The United States provides certain immigration benefits for humanitarian reasons to specific categories of individuals. These categories include asylum seekers, victims of violence and those who were brought to the United States as a child and who currently do not have status.
The government also provides benefits to those who are in the United States who cannot return to their home countries due to persecution on the basis of their race, national origin, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Victims of Violence
Being a victim of violence can be a hard thing to cope with especially when there may be immigration consequences. However, the United States provides special protection for certain victims of violence under the Violence Against Women Act and under the U-Visa.
Violence Against Women Act (V.A.W.A.)
V.A.W.A. allows battered immigrants to self-petition for legal status in the United States without relying on their abusive U.S.citizen (or legal permanent resident) spouses, parents or children. Many abusers use legal status as a way to control their victims.
A U visa is a non-immigrant visa available to victims of specified crimes who cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of the perpetrators. This visa provides an individual with a work permit and is a path to legal permanent residency status.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (D.A.C.A)
D.A.C.A. is a program for individuals who were brought to the United States as a child and have not had legal status in the United States since June 15, 2012. This program allows these individuals to obtain a work permit, but it is not a path to legal permanent residency status. To qualify the individual must have arrived prior to the 16th birthday, resided here continuously since June 15, 2007 and not have a serious criminal background.
DACA work permits are approved for increments of two years. They must be renewed 4-5 months prior to the work permit expiring to ensure that there will not be a gap in coverage.