Since 1972, YWCA Monterey County has been at the frontline of serving victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking in Monterey County. Through its mission of Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women, the YWCA-MC advocates for inclusion, equity, and justice for all, irrespective of immigration status.
In Monterey County, 21.7% of the population are non-citizens which is the highest percentage of any county in California. The need for more accessible immigration services is great. Survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other crimes deserve to have these services available locally. The YWCA Monterey County, the largest provider of legal(civil restraining orders), housing, and therapeutic services can now also offer assistance with immigration petitions.
The goal of the YWCA Monterey Counties Immigration petition service is to empower Monterey County survivors of crime seeking support with immigration services by providing legal assistance with the preparation and submission of immigration petitions.
Services We Offer
Based on your particular set of circumstances, Immigration is a specific process. Our Immigration petition program focuses on our client base, victims of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking and Violent crimes. While we mainly work with women, we do not discriminate and will help any person who qualifies. Immigration is nuanced, we will evaluate and recommend the Visa type that currently applies to your situation.
T Visa for Victims of Human Trafficking
T non-immigrant Visa is a temporary immigration status for victims of human trafficking. It allows victims to remain in the United States for up to 4 years if they have assisted law enforcement in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. Certain qualifying family members of trafficking victims can also apply. The main benefit toT status is giving you eligibility for employment authorization and certain federal and state benefits and services. T status can be adjusted to obtain a Green Card and become lawful permanent residents.
Eligibility for T Nonimmigrant Status
- Are or were a victim of a severe form of human trafficking
- Living in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry due to trafficking;
- Comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (unless you are under the age of 18 or you are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma. In either case, you may not need to show that you complied with reasonable requests from law enforcement);
- Demonstrate that you would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you were removed from the United States; and
Are admissible to the United States (If you are not admissible, you may be eligible for a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility.
Victims of Criminal Activity
The U visa was created for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse. Another qualifying factor is their being helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. The U Visa was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of noncitizens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
Eligibility for the U Visa
- You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
- You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf (see glossary for definition of ‘next friend’).
- You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
- You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a waiver.
Green Card for VAWA Self-Petitioner
Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), applicants may be eligible for a Green card for lawful citizenship if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by: A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse; A U.S. citizen parent; A U.S. citizen son or daughter; A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse; or An LPR parent.
You may self-petition under VAWA by filing a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant without your abusive family member’s knowledge or consent. A person who files a VAWA self-petition is generally known as a VAWA self-petitioner. If your self-petition is approved and you meet other eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to apply to become a lawful permanent resident. For more information, see Battered Spouse, Children & Parents and VAWA Questions and Answers.
VAWA Green Card Eligibility
- You properly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
- You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
- You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa;
- An immigrant visa is immediately available to you at the time you file your Form I-485 and when USCIS makes a final decision on your application;
- None of the bars to adjustment of status apply to you;
- You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and
- You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS’ discretion.
Eligible to Receive an Immigrant Visa
You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa based on:
- An approved VAWA self-petition (Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant);
- A previously filed VAWA self-petition that remains pending (if ultimately approved); or
- A VAWA self-petition (if ultimately approved) filed together with your Form I-485.
Through the new Immigration Petition Service Program, the YWCA Monterey County aims to make strides to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. If you’re ready to start working toward any of the Visa’s outlined, get in touch with us!
Three ways to get in contact and start the immigration petition process:
Call our office to get your immigration petition started: 831-422-8602
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and your inquiry will be routed to the Legal Department
Come See Us
Our address is 11 Quail Run Circle Salinas, CA 93901