Committed To Providing Humanitarian Relief To Immigrants
Humanitarian relief is one of the cornerstones of our firm. For decades John Lawit has been involved in organizations such as the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union. Our firm has helped families and individuals from around the globe escape persecution for more than 30 years. We are dedicated to helping people suffering persecution find safe harbor in the United States.
Protection For Victims Of Crime, Human Trafficking And Violence
In 1994, the U.S. passed the Violence Against Women Act. This was the first step toward making provisions to allow victims of domestic violence to acquire a visa and liberate themselves from abusive parents or spouses. Six years later, the Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000 (VAWA 2000) was passed. VAWA brought about two new types of visas; “U” visas for victims of violent crimes and “T” visas for victims of trafficking or sexual assault. Protection for victims of elder abuse was added in 2005 with the passage of the Violence Against Women Act.
Qualifying For A U Visa
A U visa protects noncitizen crime victims who provide information to help investigators prosecute criminals. It allows the applicant to live and work in the U.S. and may lead to the dismissal of charges against the applicant in immigration court. To qualify for a U visa, an applicant must:
- Demonstrate “substantial physical or mental abuse” as a result of certain criminal activity that violates U.S. law or happened in the U.S. or one of its territories
- Possess information about criminal activity
- Demonstrate that information is helpful to the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity
- Obtain a certification from the court or agency conducting the investigation
- Qualify for admission or a waiver of inadmissibility under immigration law
Qualifying For A T Visa
The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act established the T visa as a way for victims of “severe” forms of trafficking to enter the United States. T visa holders and qualifying members of their families can stay in the U.S. for up to 4 years. They are authorized to work, apply for a green card, and may qualify for government benefits and services.
“Severe” forms of trafficking as defined by federal law include:
- Sex trafficking: When a person is forced, coerced or deceived into committing a commercial sex act or the person pushed into performing the act is under the age of 18
- Labor trafficking: When a person is forced, coerced or deceived into providing labor or services involuntarily or as a form of debt bondage
At John W. Lawit, we help immigrants through the application process, ensuring that application forms are completed accurately and filed on time to give our clients the best chance at asylum.