The immigration laws and regulations, as well as Department of Homeland Security policy, provide numerous programs and forms of relief for individuals facing persecution or mistreatment, individuals seeking shelter or aid from disasters or conflicts, victims of crimes, people facing medical or family emergencies, and other urgent considerations. The firm of Zeidan & Associates, LLC, has extensive experience assisting individuals seeking humanitarian relief, including battered spouses and children, individuals seeking asylum and withholding of removal, individuals seeking temporary protected status (TPS), and individuals seeking deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). A brief discussion of some of the various forms of humanitarian relief can be found below:
Refugee or asylum status may be granted to individuals who have been, or fear they will be, subject to persecution in their home country on account of race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. An individual who is granted asylee or refugee status (and their existing immediate family members) may file to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) after residing in the United States for one year or more as an asylee or refugee. Withholding of Removal may be granted to individuals, in removal proceedings, whose life or freedom will be threatened in their home country on account of race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. Individuals who receive Withholding of Removal, however, are not eligible to later adjust status based on this status. Withholding or Deferral of Removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) may be granted to individuals, in removal proceedings, who will face torture upon return to their home country. Like Withholding of Removal, relief under CAT does not allow an individual to later adjust status on that basis.
Temporary Protected Status allows individuals from certain countries to remain in the United States for a limited period of time and allows these individuals to obtain an employment authorization card (work permit). TPS is currently available to certain individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria. In order to qualify for TPS, and individual from one of those countries must have been residing in the United States at the time the country was designated or re-designated for TPS, must have filed during the initial registration period or re-registration period (if excused from initial filing),must have remained physically present in the U.S., and must not have committed certain crimes.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is available to individuals who: 1) were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012,; 2) came to the U.S. before the age of 16; 3) have continually resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007; 4) were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012; 5) were not in lawful immigration status as of June 15, 2012; 6) are currently in school, or have obtained a high school diploma or GED; and 7) have not committed a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors. Individuals who received DACA are permitted to remain in the U.S. for a two year period (and will likely be able to renew the status) and obtain an employment authorization document (work permit).
Under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”), certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. Citizens, and spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents may file for immigration benefits on their own, and without the knowledge of the abusive individual, if they have been abused or subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by the U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.
Victims of human trafficking and certain crimes can apply for visas (T visas for trafficking victions, U visas for crime victims) to provide them with immigration protection, and to encourage these individuals to report these kinds of criminal activities to law enforcement authorities. T and U visas allow these victims to remain in the U.S. to assist law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting these criminals, and can ultimately result in eligibility for lawful permanent residence (a green card).
Humanitarian parole can be used to bring or permit someone to come to the U.S. who is otherwise unable to do so based on compelling emergency or humanitarian circumstances. Humanitarian parole is temporary, but can be extended upon approval by USCIS.
Please contact the experienced humanitarian attorneys at Zeidan & Associates, LLC, at 614-459-2830 to set up a consultation about humanitarian relief.