Deferred Action, Crime Victims,
and Other Humanitarian Relief
Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer the removal (deportation) of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. It does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an individual who receives deferred action will not be considered as accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not waive any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence. Under existing regulations, an individual whose case has been deferred is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” DHS can terminate or renew deferred action at any time at the agency’s discretion.
The government can place people in deferred action status through any number of means. The most prominent example is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). On June 15, 2012, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a memorandum stating that certain individuals who arrived in the United States as children may qualify for deferred action, provided they meet certain eligibility requirements.
The U.S. government has a keen interest in prosecuting crimes and protecting crime victims. To further those ends, the government has created a number of immigration options for immigrants who have been the victims of criminal activity.
- U Nonimmigrant Status/U Visa: Congress created U nonimmigrant status (popularly known as the U visa) to encourage immigrant crime victims to cooperate with police and prosecutors in criminal cases. Immigrants who have been the victims of assault, domestic violence, robbery, sexual abuse or exploitation, or any number of other crimes may qualify for a U visa if they are willing to cooperate with law enforcement.
- T Non-immigrant Status/T Visa: Congress created T nonimmigrant status (popularly known as the T visa) to assist those immigrants who have been the victims of severe forms of human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Candidates for the T visa must comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of a human trafficking offense, and demonstrate they would suffer extreme hardship involving severe and unusual harm if they were removed from the United States.
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): The Violence Against Women Act created several options for immigrant victims abused at the hands U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens, and certain spouses and children of permanent residents, can file a petition for themselves for permanent resident status. Despite the name, VAWA benefits are available to both men and women.
VERDIN attorneys are highly experienced in obtaining deferred action and crime victim benefits for qualifying clients.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
The U.S. government occasionally designates certain countries affected by major humanitarian crises for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Recent examples of designated countries include Nepal (following the April 2015 earthquake) and Syria (due to the ongoing Syrian Civil War). Nationals of designated countries who have resided in and been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the date set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security may be eligible to apply for TPS. A grant of TPS prevents the government from seeking the grantee’s deportation from the U.S., and allows the grantee to apply for a work permit. TPS holders are subject to periodic re-registration, but can hold TPS indefinitely so long as their country remains designated for TPS by the U.S. government.