On today’s broadcast we will be talking with our attorney Kate about the U-Visa, we also have our special guests Krystal and Cori who are part of our immigration gatekeepers with these visa changes.
Our attorney Kate tells us that she is a member of the Immigration Affairs Commission, which is basically an organization related to the immigrant community for the City of Action, and that commission advises the City Council on programs to help the immigrant community.
So it touches on a lot of issues of how to Housing of transportation of financial aid, of legal services, and all of those things. Our attorney Kate is a member of that commission, but also the head of the commission is our attorney Kristal Gomez.
She is also one of the attorneys in our office.
The U Visa is the visa for victims of crime. And a necessary requirement for these types of visas is that you have to ask for a certification from the police saying that (if they apply) you were a victim of any domestic violence crime, as that is helpful in our investigation, that you have made a report, or talked to the detective, or testified in court.
That certification that we have to ask for from the police is the first requirement in such a visa case.
The U Visa has many benefits, such as permission to work, permission to travel, eligibility for the whole family to settle, waivers for tickets, for crimes, many things. It’s a very good program, but here in the city of Austin, the police have had a policy for several years saying that they don’t certify old cases.
What does it mean? That let’s say I suffered domestic violence five years ago, cooperated with the police, filed a report, talked to the detective, maybe got an order of protection, but I didn’t know there was an u-visa program, but then five years later I scheduled an appointment with the attorney’s office checking my eligibility options.
It’s my chances of settling and I say in my consultation that I had suffered domestic violence or we’re going to say in my attorney’s office that we can ask for certification, but the police agency has been denying these cases because they say this case was five years ago, which is not fair, because in that example I made a report immediately, I cooperated with the police in the time necessary for them to do their job.
It’s not my fault that I didn’t know about the existence of that program, so with that commission that our attorneys, Cristal as the head of this commission, invited members of the police including the Chief, the chief of police, and our other attorney Cori Hash came to give testimony telling the stories of our clients who had been denied to people who had suffered assault or rape, underage assault, horrible things, but could not be certified because the incidents happened many many years ago.
Good News With The U Visa
The good news we have, is the fairest we can hope for regarding the U visa issue.
After the testimony at this commission, the police chief changed his policy the next day saying, ”no more, we are not going to deny old cases just because of the age of the case, and we are going to certify old cases even if we can’t bring charges against the abuses, because the important thing is if the victim helped with the police in a timely manner.
That’s very good for all immigrants who have been victims of crime, but also what we are doing in our office is that we review all the cases that we have received denied by our own clients to reapply for the policy change.
So that’s a message that we at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law hope the entire immigrant community is happy about.
And if you know someone who was denied a U-visa because their case happened many years ago, they can reapply now because the policy has changed.
This news is excellent, because many people with us have family or friends with whom they can share this news, they also know that here in Lincoln they will have a free consultation in less than 10 minutes, so they can find out if you have options here with this situation that is going on.
It shows that many people are still uninformed, that many people are missing the opportunity because they don’t have the necessary information at the right time, and it’s good that thanks to all these discussions and proposals that our lawyer Kristal and our lawyer Cori are involved in, that a step forward is being taken.
However, people have been missing the opportunity by being uninformed and now that there is this new opportunity, make a difference by sharing on your social networks and tag any of the people you know who work undocumented, so they can take advantage of the opportunity that is within their reach and not be suffering from being undocumented, having to be hiding from the police, not being able to have benefits for not working legally, not visiting their loved ones….
That’s why this show is called Show Sin Fronteras, with the intention that everyone can meet with their loved ones, share and give this love to the people who are our family.
What changed then? Already after the U Visa, the benefits for people would be that at any time regardless of the date, would be that they can try to fight for the U Visa, correct?
Austin Police Give Certifications To Immigrants
Our attorney Kate tells us, ”Right, but we’re talking about the Austin area because this is a police change in the Austin Police Department.
For me, each agency has its own policy, for example, Waco Police Department. It’s always better to act fast when you know about this U-visa program and you know you’ve suffered something and you’ve made a contribution to the police immediately.
It’s time to ask for certification, because every agency is going to say we certified more than two years ago, more than five years ago, whatever, but now the policy in order has changed to include victims from many years ago and that’s a very good change that will affect thousands of people’s lives.
Why Should I Report A Crime To The Police?
As our attorney Kate makes mention of this, we want to share with you that many times in phone calls, people suffer, they have been the victim of some situation that of course, you do it in order to warn, but in many occasions, people tend to say that want to let time pass because the police will say that this happened or that the person did this or provoked this, or that this is a consequence to look for papers.
So the big question we have for our attorney is, Should people wait to ask the police for their report?
Kate: ”No no no no you shouldn’t wait if you’ve suffered something. You should make a report so that this abuse doesn’t happen to someone else obviously.
But also so that they can do their investigation and it’s correct, that if an accident happened six months ago and they’re trying to make their first report, there’s no evidence now.
They can’t start an investigation with something that happened a while ago, the difference and the benefit is that everyone should report as soon as possible, and if it’s been a week, two weeks, it’s worth calling but the difference is that if someone made a report many years ago but didn’t apply for a visa, with the certification now they can apply again in Austin.
As always our dear audience sends us very interesting questions and our lawyer Kate guides us with her doubts and concerns.
If someone was a victim many years ago and helped the police, but the person is outside the United States, can he or she qualify for a U Visa?
Lawyer Kate says: ”The answer is yes. One nice thing about the U-visa is that applicants (including derivative applicants such as family members of applicants) can stay outside the U.S. while waiting for their case to be decided.
We have many clients who suffered some situation, they are still in the United States, but they want to include their children who stayed in Mexico, in Honduras, in El Salvador, and it is possible to do it with the U-visa.
You can include your family members outside the United States, and if you have to leave the country today, you can still move forward with your case.
We spoke this week with a person who has a case pending, and a very, very close, very important family member got sick and is very ill, and she is able to leave the United States to be with her relative knowing that there is a way at the end of the day to be able to come back.
Most applications, such as asylum for example, do not allow a departure for applicants who are outside the United States.
So there are a lot of good things about this U Visa program, including that.”
Steps To Take With The U Visa
Having a little more knowledge of the benefits of the U Visa, there is no other question but to know what happens after applying for this visa.
Our attorney Kate says, “That’s a multi-step process, but the first step for us is to ask for a copy of the police report so we know exactly what the police put in place at the time they put the detective in.
For example, if they say they tried to make a lot of calls to the victim, but she never answered, well, before we ask for certification, we want to talk to our client and ask her what happened.
You lost is so, plus I didn’t have to change my phone and I called the police to tell us I had a new number, but they didn’t put it in my file or the person who abused me is now threatening me and I couldn’t, I was too afraid.
Well those are things that we use when we’re applying with the police, we say she was a victim, she gave a report at the same time but then she couldn’t cooperate, because that happened so that when the police certify the cases, they’re going through the packet themselves.
They will be certifying the case, that’s why we want to review the report, the file, before we ask for the certification and if the police approve the case we go ahead with the preparation of the package to immigration.
We have to send it in six months, if the police deny the case, we normally stop at that point and sometimes there are grounds to appeal, but normally the process is that there is no risk to the applicant because they have not registered with immigration.
The determinant would be time and money which is important, but there is no risk in your data asking for a certification if it is approved.
We go ahead with the package and we mail everything to immigration after we receive the receipts with the case number and we have an appointment to do the biometrics and then we can apply for the work permit during the wait, and with that work permit everyone in the family, all the applicants can get a work permit:
-Having a good job.
It is a very good thing for a family that has suffered before.”
U Visa & Deportations
We have another question from the audience that might answer a similar question that you have, it’s about a gentleman who doesn’t want us to say his name, and he says that he was a victim already inside the United States. he was a victim already inside the United States.
He is in Austin and out of fear did not speak up to qualify for a visa.
However, the police were telling him that he could fix that situation, and they were giving him some kind of counseling with a social worker and everything so that he could apply, but out of fear he did nothing.
He says this happened around 2015 or so and the fear he has is that if now with this news that Kate is bringing us, he could be in danger of deportation order.
Attorney Kate shares with us: ”No no no no there is no risk of deportation orders in this case, because first we are talking to the police and they are not doing anything with the information.
They do not share information about who has applied for certification with immigration.
Everything is private and confidential, and if we apply with immigration we make sure that it is not a risk for our client, because now we have a president who is only trying to deport people with aggravated felonies or very serious crimes in their history.
So if we have a client who has a criminal history, before we do anything, before we send anything to them with immigration, we review their history, we check the final decision in court for every incident, every arrest.
We make sure that there is no risk in submitting an application to immigration. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s important to work with a lawyer, who you trust because you have to be able to trust that your life and your data is in good hands.
Our attorney Kate shares this story with us, because we always have examples of people who did not accept a lawyer, and it was a couple who has been trying to make their case without professional help.
Six years ago they started with the I-130 that was actually almost approved, but they checked the wrong box and the file went to the National Record Center and not to the National Visa Center (NVC) so they had to put in another application to move the file, which is an extra year of waiting, like 500- 600 USD more in fees to be paid to immigration.
Then the case went to the right court, they started the waiver, they denied the waiver because it was not done right, and the I-130 at that point has been terminated because of the long wait.
For them it’s over thousands of payments, but the horrible thing is that it’s six years lost for that couple, that the immigrant qualifies for permanent residency, and it’s worth scheduling a consultation with us, it’s free, we don’t buy anything to give specific advice for a person in your life.
Immigration status is important.
It’s one of the most important things for an undocumented person and it can change everything for their life, for their future, for their children, for their grandchildren and it’s worth getting that information and not wasting time.
How Is The U Visa Approved?
Consult Your Options With An Immigration Lawyer
A very important question we were asked today is the following: Does the U Visa require an interview? Is it true? What is it like?
Our beloved lawyer Kate lets us know: ”The answer is no. The U Visa does not come with an interview with immigration.
Everything is approved by mail, including a now permanent residency at the end of the day, because three years after being approved for the U Visa, you can arrange to become a permanent resident and this does not come with an interview either.
The only interviews in these cases are with the police and prosecutors who are investigating the crime, as they still need your help and cooperation.
If he has to testify in court against his abuse that would be necessary, but for immigration, there is no interview.”
Violent Marriages & U Visa
When people have a partner that they just met, but when the violent situation happened they were not a couple, but now they are legally married, and now with this situation that the cases are being opened, What happens to these couples? Can they have the opportunity or not?
Kate: “You can get on the case. Let’s say a woman has suffered something: rape, assault, domestic violence, kidnapping, labor fraud; and she is now married, has children outside the United States who have not come to the country before.
She could include her new husband and her children outside the United States, and if a child has suffered something, let’s say a 10-year-old girl suffered sexual abuse by her uncle, she could include her siblings and her mom and dad.
That’s why I say it’s a way that an entire family could change their future after going through something horrible and difficult.”
If you have additional questions about the U Visa, domestic violence, or your specific case, you can reach us at (855) 502-0555. After a 10 minute evaluation of your case via telephone we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you don’t miss our weekly broadcasts via Facebook,YouTube & Twitch.