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Possible U-Visa availability for migrants deceived to travel to Martha’s Vineyard

By December 14, 2022Immigration
Martha’s Vineyard

Texas Sheriff for Bexar County, Javier Salazar signed a U-Visa certification form based on claims by noncitizens transported from Bexar County under false pretenses. The sheriff indicated that his office is investigating the case as a possible unlawful restraint case.

Many of the transported immigrants stated that they were approached by a woman who falsely promised jobs, housing and education which induced immigrants to accept transportation. They were informed of several destinations they would be sent to, but they did not anticipate being sent to Martha’s Vineyard.

U-Visas are a form of humanitarian relief provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, “USCIS” providing work authorization as well as a prevention from deportation for a period of four years. This humanitarian benefit requires the signing of a certification form by law enforcement confirming the investigation of certain crimes and that the victim cooperated or was not required to cooperate in the investigation of the crime. We discuss the U-Visa benefits, qualifying crimes and application process here.

Victims deceived into being transported away from the states of Texas and Florida may have a viable case for a U-Visa, but it is important to note that due to the very political nature of these cases, there are likely to be law enforcement agencies unwilling to perform such an investigation.

However, it may be worth exploring with law enforcement officials from areas that immigrants were deceived to see if they are willing to open an investigation and sign a certification. Even if there is no actual criminal case filed in a court, the mere investigation and signing of the certification will qualify the noncitizen for the U-Visa. Keep in mind that the noncitizen must meet other eligibility requirements as well including proving a significant harm which is not always easy to accomplish.

Although another avenue to obtain legal status in the United States, such an application should be carefully evaluated to determine the viability of the case and the best way to attempt to obtain the certification from a law enforcement official and then to present the case to USCIS to convince USCIS of the substantial harm suffered and that the elements of the investigated crime match one of the qualifying crimes under the law.

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