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Humanitarian Immigration Relief

An award-winning immigration legal firm, known for our client satisfaction, trial work, and commitment to public service.

What is Humanitarian-Based Immigration Relief?

There are many types of immigration relief based on humanitarian principles. Humanitarian-based relief provides protection to those in need of aid from natural disasters, those who suffer persecution at the hands of a foreign government, individuals displaced by civil war & many other circumstances. While there are refugee programs established to help individuals who currently reside abroad, the information provided here is focused on humanitarian immigration relief that is available to immigrants who are present in the United States.

Asylum and Withholding of Removal

To be eligible for asylum, you must meet the definition of refugee according the the immigration laws of the United States. Refugee is defined as "any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." There are two ways to petition for asylum. First, you can petition for affirmative asylum within one year of your arrival in the United States or the expiration of your legal status. Second, you can file for defensive asylum in a deportation case. In an affirmative asylum case, you can first prosecute your case before the asylum office, whereas in a defensive case, your case will be heard by an immigration court.

Convention Against Torture

The United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) is an international human rights treaty that precludes signatories from perpetrating torture or sending an individual to a country where they are likely to be tortured. The legal standard for obtaining CAT is higher than for asylum. You must prove that it is more likely than not that you will be tortured if sent to your home country, although you do not need to prove that the torture would be on account of a protected characteristic. There are advantages to a CAT petition. If you meet the legal standards, relief is mandatory, and bars that could prevent you from obtaining asylum will not bar a CAT claim. You can file for CAT at the same time that you apply for asylum, either with USCIS in an affirmative petition or in immigration court. While a successful CAT claim will allow you to stay in the United States, it will not lead to permanent resident status.

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What Is Humanitarian-Based Immigration?

Humanitarian-based immigration protects those escaping civil wars, natural disasters, or persecution. Humanitarian relief is available to people who reside in the United States and can be divided into two main categories:


Asylum and Withholding of Removal

Asylum gives immigrants the opportunity to petition for their residency. Applying for asylum during a deportation case is often used to maintain residency during deportation cases. Doing so will result in the case being presented in immigration court.

You can also apply for asylum within one year of your initial arrival to the United States. Applications for asylum or withholding of removal benefit from experienced legal guidance, as the process consists of several steps and paperwork.


Who Qualifies for a Humanitarian Visa?

Anyone is eligible to apply for humanitarian immigration relief. Those seeking to escape specific tribulations from their home country are likely to qualify for a humanitarian visa. Individuals applying for a humanitarian visa can apply themselves.

Those who suffer physical or psychological harm from an extreme event in their home country qualify for humanitarian visas. Immigration relief programs are set up to provide relief for those in need. The process can often be daunting, but working alongside a humanitarian immigration relief attorney can smooth out the process.


How Long Does a Humanitarian Visa Take?

The Department of Homeland Security states that any non-United States citizen may apply for humanitarian relief. Humanitarian visas typically require 24 to 30 months to process following an application; however, each situation will produce different timeframes.

It is critical to understand that humanitarian visas are not for permanent immigration. They will typically last up to a year, but the length of time given will depend on your specific situation.


What Are Humanitarian Problems?

Humanitarian problems are those that cause physical or psychological harm due to extreme circumstances. Humanitarian immigration aims to provide refuge for those looking to escape these problems by providing temporary permission to live and work in the United States.

The following situations are considered humanitarian problems:

  1. Natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes
  2. Civil wars that cause displacement of a country's residents
  3. Persecution of local government


Violence Against Women Act

Human trafficking is an ongoing humanitarian problem that affects millions of women around the world. The Violence Against Women Act provides women in danger with three options for protection.

  1. "U" visas provide protection for women who have fallen victim to criminal activity and suffer severe physical and mental harm.
  2. "T" visas are for those who fall victim to human trafficking. This visa gives victims the opportunity to live and work in the United States.
  3. Self-petition allows victims of domestic violence situations to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status. An applicant does not have to be a U.S. citizen to be granted a self-petition and can do so independently.


Can Humanitarian Parole Adjust Status?

It is a common practice for people to apply for humanitarian parole following deportation. In this instance, adjusting status is not possible.


Filing for an Adjustment of Status requires qualifying for a green card. There are three ways to do this.

  1. Family: You must be a spouse, parent, or child of a U.S. citizen or green card holder to qualify for a family-based green card
  2. Employment: Applying for a green card for work requires your employer's sponsorship.
  3. Other: Occasionally, you can receive an Adjustment of Status through humanitarian means. This will depend on various factors of your current situation.

Determining your options for Adjustment of Status or humanitarian relief can be difficult. The attorneys at Pachuta & Kammerman understand the frustrations that come with navigating immigration laws and want to help provide you with relief.

Working with a humanitarian immigration relief attorney will help you understand your rights and options when it comes to immigration relief. Our lawyers are ready to review your case and help you find relief. Contact us today at 703-822-4701 to discuss your case.

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U Visa & VAWA

A U Visa is a non-immigrant visa that is granted to persons who have been the victim of crime in the United States, have suffered substantial mental or physical harm as a result, and have provided assistance to law enforcement in prosecuting or investigating the crime. The U Visa petitioner can also apply for a spouse or child. A U Visa petition is filed with USCIS, which sets aside 10,000 visas for this purpose per year. Due to the volume of U Visa applications, there is currently a long wait for U Visas to become available. VAWA, or the Violence Against Women Act, protects immigrants who have been the victim of abuse at the hands of a spouse in the United States. The petitioner must be the spouse of a citizen or permanent resident and have suffered battery or extreme cruelty to qualify for a VAWA petition.

Temporary Protected Status

Temporary protected status, or TPS, is granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service for nationals of countries that cannot return to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. During the period of TPS, you can remain in the United States and obtain a work permit. While it does grant temporary benefits, TPS does not lead down the path to a green card or citizenship. In order to qualify for TPS, you must apply within the initial period during which your home country was designated by USCIS. Relatively minor criminal convictions, such as two convictions for reckless driving, will result in revocation or ineligibility for temporary protected status.
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