As a national expert, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) provides technical assistance, trainings and practice manuals on critical immigration options for vulnerable immigrants including immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other crimes.
U Visa: Immigration Relief for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Other Crimes
Immigrant victims of certain crimes who have been helpful in a criminal investigation or prosecution may qualify for a visa that can lead to a green card. The ILRC’s practice manual entitled The U Visa: Obtaining Status for Immigrant Victims of Crime is a comprehensive explanation of the law and application process that also includes sample materials and practice tips.
VAWA: Immigration Relief for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Other Crimes
VAWA allows an abused spouse or child of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident or an abused parent of a U.S. Citizen to self-petition for lawful status in the United States, receive employment authorization, and access public benefits. VAWA provides domestic violence survivors with the means that are essential to escaping violence and establishing safe, independent lives. ILRC has co-authored The VAWA Manual, a step-by-step guide to assist advocates working on VAWA cases.
T Visa: Immigration Relief for Survivors of Sex or Labor Trafficking
Human trafficking survivors may be eligible for lawful status, employment authorization, and a potential path to permanent residency, but they are a unique population with diverse and resource-intensive needs. The ILRC publishes a guide, Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking, on special considerations when working with human trafficking victims.
Use of the Term “Victim” vs. “Survivor”
Please note that the ILRC often uses the terms “victim” and “survivor” interchangeably. Because a “victim” is typically defined by harm done to them, many advocates choose to instead use the word “survivor” to refer to clients. “Survivors” are defined by their lives after the harm, allowing them to reclaim control of their lives and their recovery. While our goal as advocates is to help community members survive and thrive despite harms they have suffered, we sometimes use the term “victim” when referring to a particular aspect of the criminal legal system, penal code, or immigration law; when describing someone recently affected by crime; when talking about the actions of a perpetrator; or when discussing the harm inflicted on those who did not survive. When working with impacted community members, we recommend asking people which term they prefer, as some may identify with the term victim, while others may prefer the term survivor.