Illegal Immigrants Face Challenges As Victims of Crimes
Although many people are well aware of the common issues that face illegal immigrants, there is one underlying issue that is not broadly publicized: What should an illegal immigrant do if they find themselves the victim of a crime?
For American citizens, there is no real question as to what you should do - you contact the authorities and seek medical attention for your injuries. For anyone who is illegally in the country, they may be hesitant to call the police due to their immigration status. Their primary objective is to stay off the radar so they can continue to live and work in the states. If that means they have to suffer in silence, many admit they would much rather do that than face the possibility of being deported.
U Visas Offer Victims Protected Immigration Status
Law enforcement is less concerned with one's immigration status and in fact are more concerned with an individual being the victim of a crime, or a witness to a crime. The "U Visa" allows the victim of certain crimes to remain in the country, for a period of up to four years, providing they fully cooperate with authorities to prosecute those responsible for committing the crime.
To be eligible for the U Visa:
- You must be a victim of a qualifying crime
- You suffered significant mental or physical abuse due to a crime
- You can provide information to the authorities about a criminal activity
- You are cooperative in the investigation of a criminal activity
- You are admissible to the U.S.
Examples of crimes that can be issued under the U visa include domestic violence, murder, rape, assault, etc. Some family member may also qualify for this visa depending on their relationship to you. Learn more about your eligibility by calling our immigration attorneys here at Brown Immigration Law.
Story of Fernando Garnica
Unfortunately for one victim, 37-year-old Fernando Garnica, his fear of deportation not only prevented him from reporting a January 20th robbery and subsequent beating to local authorities, but it kept him from seeking much needed medical attention. Despite pleas from his roommates, and others, Garnica refused to seek help.
After five days of being bedridden and not eating, Garnica finally collapsed on the floor of his apartment. As a result, his roommate who had been attempting to care for him, contacted the building's manager, who then contacted emergency personnel. Even though Garnica was rushed to a local hospital, he succumbed to his injuries later that day.
Learn More About Applying for a U Visa Today
As the victim of a crime, you owe it to yourself to alert the authorities and seek medical attention for your injuries. Do not let your immigration status jeopardize your health or your rights. Contact an experienced Orlando immigration lawyer atBrown Immigration Law right away if you have questions about your immigration status, or you need legal representation in any sort of immigration-related matter.