Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides a path to legal status for a spouse, parent, or child of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident who has been subjected to battery and/or extreme cruelty by that U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse, parent, or child.
U Visas provide a path to legal status for individuals who have suffered severely as a result of being a victim of certain crimes in the United States who have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
Criminal activity includes the following crimes: abduction, abusive sexual contact, blackmail, domestic violence, extortion, false imprisonment, female genital mutilation, felonious assault, hostage, incest, involuntary servitude, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, obstruction of justice, peonage, perjury, prostitution, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, slave trader, torture, trafficking, witness tampering, unlawful criminal restraint, other related crimes, or attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the above crimes.
T Visas provide a path to legal status for individuals who have been victims of severe forms of human sex and/or labor trafficking, have been reasonably helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) provides a path to legal status for certain unaccompanied minors in the United States who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, etc., by one or both parents. To be eligible, the child must be placed in the custody of an individual or organization by a state court based on a finding that it is in the child's best interest to remain in the United States due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc., by one or both parents before turning 18-years-old. The child must then apply for SIJS prior to turning 21-years-old. An individual who receives a Green Card through SIJS can never petition for his/her parents.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a form of relief for certain individuals from certain countries where it the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined that due to certain country conditions (such as armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances) it is unsafe for the country’s nationals to return. An individual may be eligible based on the country that s/he is from, when s/he came to the United States, when s/he lived in the United States, and whether s/he met the necessary filing deadlines. Current countries that have TPS designations include: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria.
TPS is temporary permission to remain in the United States and obtain work authorization. TPS can be renewed or taken away by the U.S. Government at any time. TPS does not create a path to a Lawful Permanent Resident Status (“Green Card”) or to citizenship.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
***** ALERT ****
On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced the end of DACA.
Current DACA HOLDERS: If your DACA expires by March 5, 2018, your renewal application must be ACCEPTED by the government prior to October 5, 2017.
If your DACA expires AFTER March 5, 2018 you will not be able to renew your DACA.
No new applications will be considered.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a temporary program for certain individuals who came to the United States at a young age. DACA gives certain young people permission to be in the United States and an opportunity to obtain work
authorization. Unless DACA is terminated, a person who has received DACA will not be detained or removed from the United States.
Eligible immigrants include individuals who came to the United States before turning 16-years-old; continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007; were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time of applying for DACA; entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012 or were not in lawful status as of June 15, 2012; are in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion of high school, have obtained a GED, or were honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces; have not been convicted of certain crimes and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
DACA is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion to not remove a person from the United States; it is not the DREAM Act and does not create a path to a Lawful Permanent Resident Status (“Green Card”) or U.S. Citizenship. A grant of DACA is good for two years, after two years a person who has received DACA can apply to renew it. DACA is a temporary program that could be terminated by the U.S. government at any time.
On November 20, 2014, President Obama's Executive Action expanded DACA to remove the age cap (meaning those who were over 31 as of June 15, 2012 could now be eligible), extend renewal authorization for three instead of two years, and adjusted the date of entry requirement to include those who have been in the United States since January 1, 2010. The government is supposed to begin accepting applications under the updated requirements beginning February 20, 2015.
Asylum is a form of relief that an individual inside the United States may be able to apply for if s/he has been persecuted in the past and/or fears future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion and the government is unwilling or unable to protect him/her.
Asylum may be applied for affirmatively (typically within one year of entry into the United States) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or defensively, as a defense to removal while in immigration court.
One of the primary difference between a person seeking asylum and a refugee is that a refugee is a person outside the United States seeking to come to the United States for fear of persecution.