Special Programs

DO YOU QUALIFY FOR A GREEN CARD THROUGH A SPECIAL IMMIGRATION PROGRAM?

We Open Doors For Your Immigration Success. . .
Most Clients Don’t Even Know Exist

Immigration clients sometimes qualify for benefits under special programs that are not widely known.

Some programs, like asylum or NACARA, allow our clients to move directly to permanent resident status.

Others, such as temporary protected status, offer only short-term benefits. A temporary visa, however, often becomes the first step in earning a green card under a different category of immigration law.

At the Law Offices of Carlos Batara, right from the beginning, we assess your eligibility for permanent residence under these programs. If we believe you can meet the qualifications, we will help you obtain the documentation to fulfill strict government regulations.

As an experienced immigration trial lawyer, Carlos Batara closely watches changes made to these programs which might affect your ability to obtain or keep permanent resident status.

The requirements for these programs are complex. Clients should not seek these benefits on their own.

HUMANITARIAN PROTECTION PROGRAMS

  • Asylum

  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

ABUSE PROTECTION PROGRAMS

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

  • Temporary Visas For Trafficking Victims

COUNTRY SPECIFIC PROGRAMS

  • NACARA

  • Visas For Iraqi Employees

OTHER PERMANENT RESIDENT PROGRAMS

  • Registry

  • Diversity Lottery

Often these types of immigration programs can be used for your defense against deportation and removal.

At many Immigration Court hearings, deportation trials, and immigration appeals, the main issue becomes whether you meet the qualifications for one of these special programs.

The stakes are high. You win, you earn a green card. You lose, you face deportation.

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HUMANITARIAN PROTECTION PROGRAMS

For some immigrants, leaving their country is a life or death situation. Some immigration programs offer assistance to these individuals.

Asylum

To qualify for asylum, clients must prove they have a legitimate fear of persecution in their home country based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Examples of such social groups include women subjected to female genital mutilation and people with the HIV virus.

Tawfik escaped Lebanon shortly after Israel disbanded its buffer zone and stopped supporting the buffer zone’s peace-keeping force. As militant groups started capturing, torturing, and killing former peace-keeping employees, Tawfik fled for his safety.

At the Canadian border, Tawfik tried to claim a French identity using documents he obtained when he was a French college student. He came to the U.S. instead of going back to France because he knew the militants could find him there.

He was arrested at the border and placed in removal proceedings. When we met with Tawfik, we explained that few asylum cases are successful. To show legitimate fear of persecution, he would need to provide evidence of membership in the peace-keeping force and the deliberate torturing of former peace-keeping employees.

Temporary Protected Status

This program allows immigrants from countries in turmoil to live and work temporarily in the United States. The turmoil may be due to a huge national disaster or a major civil war. When the home country’s conditions improve, the right to stay in the U.S. ends. Currently, only immigrants from Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan qualify for TPS benefits.

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ABUSE PROTECTION PROGRAMS

Since immigrants are easy targets for criminals, some programs have been designed to protect victims of abuse and cruelty.

Violence Against Women Act

Sometimes U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents take advantage of their status and abuse their immigrant spouse and children. The abusers withhold petitions to immigrate their family members. If we can prove the history of extreme cruelty, clients will be allowed to obtain permanent resident status on their own under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), without the abuser’s consent.

Claudia’s father, a lawful permanent resident, physically and verbally abused her mother and older siblings. Claudia had observed the abuse since she was a small child. Her anxiety attracted the attention of school officials. They placed her in special counseling programs. She hid the family abuse.

Richard never filed papers to help his family become legal residents. Since they lacked immigration documents, Richard knew they were afraid to seek help from the police. They saw no way out of the abuse.

Just before Claudia graduated from high school, her father deserted the family. A few months later, Claudia was apprehended by immigration officials and threatened with deportation.

Claudia asked us if there was any way she could remain in the United States, where she had lived for 18 years. We explained she might be eligible for immigration benefits under the Violence Against Women Act. To win her case, she would have to overcome her reluctance to talk about her experiences. She would need to work closely with us to present strong evidence of Richard’s extreme abuse and cruelty.

Temporary Visas For Trafficking Victims

Trafficking is the use of coercion, deception, or force for the purpose of placing men, women, or children in slavery or slavery-like conditions. An estimated 14,500 to 17,5000 persons are trafficked into the U.S. each year. About 70% of the victims are women, 50% are children. For such victims, the government has created a “T” visa.

Dora, age 17, was born and raised in a poor village in Honduras.She fell in love with Julio.

Julio convinced Dora to travel to the United States, live with his relatives, and earn money until he could join her. Once they were together in the U.S., he told her, they would get married.

Julio’s relatives helped smuggle Dora into the U.S. They subjected her to frequent beatings. She was forced to work as a prostitute. One evening she was arrested. Because she did not have proper immigration documents, she was sent to Immigration Court to be deported. Knowing the truth about Julio, Dora feared going home where she would have no protection.

After consulting with our office, Dora was surprised to learn she might be able to remain in the United States until things cooled down. We explained she might qualify for a special temporary visa. She would have to provide the government with credible evidence about her story of abuse.

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COUNTRY SPECIFIC PROGRAMS

From time to time programs are created to benefit immigrants from specific countries due to political, social, or economic reasons.

NACARA

Generally, there are two parts to NACARA. The first part is for immigrants from Nicaragua and Cuba. The second part pertains to immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as to immigrants from former Soviet Union bloc countries: Russia, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia.

Visas For Iraqi Employees

In July 2008, the United States government implemented a new program to help Iraqi employees of the U.S. obtain visas and U.S. citizenship. To qualify, Iraqi immigrants have to prove they worked on behalf of the U.S. for at least one year and face threats due to their assistance to the United States.

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OTHER PERMANENT RESIDENT PROGRAMS

Because immigration law is tied to international events, various programs emerge over time to meet special concerns of the U.S. government.

Registry

Immigrants who have lived in the United States since 1972 may qualify for permanent resident benefits. It does not matter how you arrived – whether you crossed the border from Canada or Mexico without proper documents or you entered on a tourist visa and decided to remain here.

You must prove that you have been a person of good moral character for the entire period. In many cases, a harder challenge is proving you have lived in the United States continuously since 1972. Typically, you need to provide housing, employment, income tax, vehicle registration, driver license, medical, and school records.

The best news is that when you are granted permanent residence under registry, your green card is backdated to January 1, 1972. This allows you to immediately apply to naturalization and become a U.S. citizen.

Diversity Lottery

To qualify as a diversity immigrant, you must have been born in a country with a low rate of immigration to the United States. Each year, 55,000 visas are made available by the Diversity Lottery Program. The program randomly selects from among the applicants those who can apply to get a green card.

Since no ties to relatives in the U.S. are required, the program is intended to allow a more diverse group of people to qualify for permanent residence. The time frame to apply and submit your paperwork is very short, so clients need to get ready in advance. If selected, you will be allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.

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To discuss if you qualify for asylum, TPS, VAWA, NACARA, or other special immigration programs . . .