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Austin, Texas Immigrants May Apply for Permanent Residency After Receiving a U Visa

Family sitting in front of houseThis is the next post in my series on how Austin immigrants may be able to stay in the country with a U visa. My last post looked at how a U visa can be used to help family and loved ones. It is important to understand that helping the victim of a crime can sometimes require also helping their family. In this article I will be touching on an important topic – how Austin, Texas residents obtaining a U visa may obtain permanent residency.

As I have discussed, the U visa serves two goals. The first is that it protects the victims of crime by giving the temporary legal status in the United States. The second is that it assists law enforcement in bringing wrongdoers to justice. There comes a time, however, when the criminal process against the wrongdoer is completed. When that time comes then the immigrant will likely to wish to stay in the United States on a more permanent basis. Fortunately the law allows a mechanism for this. U visa recipients, who wish to receive a green card, must meet the following requirements:

  • One must have been in the United States for three years on a U visa
  • You must not have unreasonably refused to assist law enforcement
  • One must not be otherwise ineligible for a green card
  • One must establish that their presence in the US is necessary on humanitarian grounds or to ensure family unity

Those coming to the U.S. on a U visa, who wish to remain on a more permanent basis, need to especially consider the fact that they must cooperate with law enforcement when asked.

It is understandable why the victim of a crime may want to escape abuse but, simultaneously, is afraid to take action against the wrongdoer. One may be afraid of reprisals against themselves, family members, or other victims. Someone in this situation may have every intention of testifying against a criminal but, once legal status has been obtained, feel less pressure and then become afraid to offer such testimony. It is important for these people to remember, as explained above, that the U visa serves two purposes. If the goal of assisting law enforcement is not served then it defeats the purpose of the program. This is why one who unreasonably refuses to assist law enforcement will not gain permanent status. When applying for a U visa, it is important that you understand the need to follow through on your promise to assist law enforcement.

It is not to say that law enforcement and immigration officials will be non-empathetic to one’s fears over testifying. It is completely understandable that a U immigrant is facing a stressful situation. Government officials will likely be somewhat patient with one who is struggling with their situation. There comes a point, however, where this patience will become exhausted; when the government’s case against a wrongdoer becomes endangered then a U immigrant’s refusal to cooperate will become “unreasonable.” This can both endanger the possibility of permanent status and may even lead to cancellation of one’s U status.

If you are a Texas U immigrant and are struggling with the extent you should testify against a wrongdoer then contact our lawyers today. Our immigration attorneys service Austin residents and others in Travis County.

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