New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Relief For Victims Of Labor And Sex Trafficking: T Status

US Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova

In 2016, the US government issued new regulations concerning relief that victims of human trafficking may qualify for. The new regulations illuminated many barriers and hard-to-meet rules that were on the ways of the victims and their ability to qualify for Immigration benefits.

To qualify for the T status, which once granted, illuminates past removal orders issued by DHS and “raises” many inadmissibility grounds, a victim of trafficking has to establish the following:

1. A person has to be in the US (most of the times) on account of trafficking (tricked into coming to the US for promises of legal status, work, etc; or forcefully brought into the US): If a person departed the US and returned, he/she still may be able to meet this point if
a). A person returned because of continuing victimization suffered previously;
b). A person was subjected to a new trafficking incident; or
c). A person entered the US to participate in the law enforcement/judicial proceedings against the human traffickers.

2. There have to be a connection between person’s presence in the US and trafficking (was afraid to leave; had to stay in the US to work and pay back the “debt”, was threatened if left, the family would suffer, etc.);

3. Has to comply with the law enforcement request for cooperation, if is at least 18 years old (this requirement may be waived if the person cannot cooperate due to severe trauma);

4. A person would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and harm if removed from the USA.

There is no filing deadline for such an application.

A person who was forcefully or by deceit brought into the US to work for less than minimum wage or no wage often would qualify for the T status. Women who were forced to perform sexual acts or threatened to force into such acts would qualify as well. Human trafficking does not require travel or transportation of the victim across local, state or international borders. It is important to know that “trafficking in persons” and “human trafficking” have been used as terms for the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. People may be considered trafficking victims regardless of whether they were born into a state of servitude, were transported to the exploitative situation, previously consented to work for a trafficker, or participated in a crime as a direct result of being trafficked. At the heart of this phenomenon is the traffickers’ goal of exploiting and enslaving their victims and the countless coercive and deceptive practices they use to do so.

T status allows its beneficiary to petition for his/her family members, including unmarried siblings under 18 years old in certain situations.

If you have questions regarding qualifications for the T status, please call 917-885-2261.

27 November 2017
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