This week Maryland immigration attorney Himedes Chicas received notice from the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (“USCIS”) that the U Petition for Non-immigrant Status that he submitted nearly 15 months ago, for his client who is currently in removal proceedings, is in the “queue” for approval.
The U visa category is a special visa category for individuals: (1) who have been victims of certain qualifying crimes, (2) who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of that criminal activity, and (3) are willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate or prosecute those crimes.
Mr. Chicas’ client was the victim of a brutal assault that resulted in severe physical injuries that nearly took his life. The perpetrator of that incident was arrested and charged after he was identified by Mr. Chicas’ client. Moreover, thanks in large part to the assistance of Mr. Chicas’ client, the defendant pled guilty to first degree assault. In any case, Mr. Chicas’ client, who himself was facing removal from the United States, now has some assurance that he will remain in the country with lawful status with his U.S. citizen family members and the ability to continue receiving medical treatment for the injuries he sustained.
By statute, USCIS is authorized to only grant 10,000 U visas per fiscal year. For the current fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2013, the U visa cap was met on December 11, 2013—the 5th straight year the statutory maximum has been met since USCIS began issuing U visas in 2008. As a result, Mr. Chicas’ client will have to wait until October 1, 2014, when new U visas become available before his U visa is issued to him.
In the meantime, his case will be placed on the U visa wait list, however, USCIS has granted Mr. Chicas’ client deferred action through the end of the year, and he is now eligible to apply for an employment authorization document during that same time, something a Maryland employment lawyer can also help with. Mr. Chicas will now move for the immigration court to terminate his client’s removal proceedings in light of this significant development.
Please contact Attorney Chicas at 202.384.2647 is you believe you may qualify for a U visa.