Language Access:
Complying with Title VI of the
1964 Civil Rights Act
Isela Arras
Immigration Project Administrator
KDVA
(502) 209-5382 ext. 21
[email protected]
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Learning Objectives for 4.2
• 1. Define language accessibility
• 2. Explain the proper way to use an interpreter
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The Goal
All staff serve all persons.
All persons receive equal
services.
Agency Responsibility!
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Title VI
• Federal Fund Recipients
• Language – National Origin
• Meaningful Access / Competent
Language Services
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Responsibilities of FFR
• Meaningful Access
•
•
•
•
•
Notice
Policy / Procedure
Periodic Training and Monitoring
Multilingual Materials
Competent Interpreters / Translators
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When to use an Interpreter
• Persons who cannot speak, read, write or
understand the English language at a
level that permits them to interact
effectively with providers
• Persons who request an interpreter
• May understand more than speak
• May speak more than understand
• Language proficiency decreases in crisis
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Interpretation Options
•
•
•
•
•
Telephone Interpretation Services
Language Advocates
Multilingual Staff
Volunteer Interpreters
Paid Interpreters
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Interpreter vs. Translator
•
•
•
•
•
Interpreter
Translator
Language is important!
Skill
Linguistic ability
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Competent
Interpreters / Translators
• Cost and Available resources
• Distinctions
• Code of ethics (Quality and
Professionalism)
• Role of the interpreter
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Who should NOT Interpret?
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Who should NOT Interpret? (Con’t)
•
•
•
•
•
Family member of a victim
Family member of a perpetrator
Friend of the family
Interpreter used by the perpetrator
Perpetrator
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Who Should Interpret?
•
Someone who has a commitment
to interpreter ethics.
• Received training in interpreter
skills
• Proficient in both languages.
• Non Judgmental
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The Role of the Interpreter
Conduit
Clarifier
Cultural
Broker
Advocate
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Guidelines for
Non-bilingual Staff
•
•
•
•
•
Begin with a pre-session
Speak directly to the person
Do not permit side conversations
Purposeful seating
Maintain Control
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Three Presumptions
Innocence
Competence
Worthiness
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Language Access and U Visas:
Serving Immigrant and Refugee Victims
Effectively
Gretchen Hunt, Esq.
Training Coordinator
Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault
Programs
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Goals of workshop
• Become familiar with language access, cultural
considerations and immigration protections as
potential options for your clients
• Review the kinds of documentation needed for the
immigration case
• Understand the process of applying for relief from
Immigration (or why does it take so long?)
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Opportunities
• Provide more safety and stability to immigrant
victims
• Strengthen ability of law enforcement to enforce
laws
• Inform more victims of their rights
• Reduce power of abusers to use threats of
deportation
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What are the barriers to immigrants and
refugees reporting sexual assault and domestic
violence in your area?
Your Responses:
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The Role of an Advocate
• To inform client of options
• To support client
• To connect client with attorney & other
necessary resources (e.g. counseling)
* It is not the advocate’s job to file the
immigration case or contact immigration
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Cultural Considerations
Culturally Competent premises in our work with survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic
Violence
•
–
–
–
–
All persons have the right to live free from violence.
The perpetrator is responsible for the violence.
All victims have the right to safety and self-determination, including staying.
Domestic violence, sexual assault, and violence against women are present in all cultures, cutting
across race, ethnicity, class, sexual identity, religion, etc.
– Culture is not an excuse for violence.
– All cultures are contradictory in that there is both widespread acceptance of domestic violence /
sexual assault and traditions of resistance and empowerment.
– Each survivor is not only a member of his/ her community, but a unique individual with their own
responses. The complexity of a person’s response to domestic violence is shaped by multiple factors.
– Differences exist both between and within cultures.
– Just because we perceive someone to be of the same culture as ourselves does not mean we can
make assumptions about their experience.
– All communities and individuals can take preventative action against domestic violence and sexual
assault.
Source: Sujata Warrior
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National Origin Discrimination
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Sources of Law
• Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
– National origin discrimination includes language
discrimination
– Executive Order of 2000 signed by President
Clinton
– Department of Justice LEP Guidance of 2002
– Agency specific guidance and policy (e.g. DOJ,
HHS)
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Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964
• Prohibits federal funding recipients from discrimination
based upon race, color or national origin
• National origin discrimination includes discrimination based
on language
ALL AGENCIES THAT RECEIVE FEDERAL FUNDING ARE
RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLIANCE
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Executive Order 13166
• All recipients of federal funding (including contract
agencies) must provide language access to persons with
Limited English Proficiency (“LEP”)
• Must ensure MEANINGFUL ACCESS to services
applicants and beneficiaries.
– No difference in services
– No unreasonable delay in services
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What is LEP?
• Limited English Proficiency
– English is not primary language
– Limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English
– Language for LEP individuals can be a barrier to
accessing important benefits or services, understanding and
exercising important rights, complying with applicable
responsibilities, or understanding other information provided by
Federally funded programs and activities.
– Determination is by person, not by agency
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Policy Guidance
65 Fed. Ref. 50123
• The Department of Justice tasked with developing guidance
for agencies
“Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964-National Origin Discrimination Against Persons with Limited
English Proficiency: Policy Guidance”
– Spells out concrete requirements
– Offers tips and guidance to agencies
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Policy Guidance
• Must provide access to LEP individuals
• Agencies or entities conduct the following analysis to
determine what is compliance:
– Number or proportion of LEP individuals served or encountered in
the eligible service population
– Frequency of contacts
– The nature and importance of the program, activity or services
– Resources available
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What is the Number or Proportion of LEP
Individuals in Your Service Area?
• Must include language minority populations that are eligible for programs
or activities but may be underserved because of existing language
barriers.
• How determine number of LEP individuals?
– Census data, data from school systems and from community organizations,
and data from state and local governments.
– Community agencies, school systems, religious organizations, legal aid
entities, and others can often assist in identifying populations for
whom outreach is needed and who would benefit from the recipients'
programs and activities were language services provided.
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What is the Frequency of Contact with LEP
Persons within your Agency?
• LEP persons contacting agency on a daily basis means higher
responsibilities
• But even recipients that serve LEP persons on an unpredictable or
infrequent basis should have a plan to provide access
• EX: being prepared to use telephonic interpretation services to
obtain immediate interpreter services.
Recipients should take care to consider whether appropriate outreach to
LEP persons could increase the frequency of contact with LEP
language groups.
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What is the Nature and Importance of the Program, Activity, or
Service Provided by your Program?
Will the denial or delay of access to services or
information have serious or even life- threatening
implications for the LEP individual?
Ex: safety, law enforcement services or services that
impacts rights vs. recreational or less urgent services
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What Resources Are Available?
• Cost is not defense to non-compliance, but programs can look to costsharing strategies
–
–
–
–
–
Share resources with other community groups
Train bilingual staff to act as interpreters and translators
Use telephonic and video conferencing interpretation services
Pool resources and standardize documents to reduce translation needs
Use qualified translators and interpreters to ensure that documents need not
be “fixed'' later and that inaccurate interpretations do not cause delay or
other costs
– Develop formal use of qualified community volunteers
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Oral vs. Written Options
• Recipients have two main ways to provide language services:
– Oral interpretation either in person or via telephone interpretation
service.
– Written translation, likewise, can range from translation of an entire
document to translation of a short description of the document.
• Need to translate VITAL DOCUMENTS
Example: A police department in a largely Hispanic neighborhood
may need immediate oral interpreters available and should give
serious consideration to hiring some bilingual staff.
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Competency of Interpreters
A COMPETENT INTERPRETER WILL:
– Demonstrate proficiency in and ability to communicate
information accurately in both English and in the other language
– Identify and employ the appropriate mode of interpreting (e.g.,
consecutive, simultaneous, summarization, or sight translation);
– Have knowledge in both languages of any specialized terms or concepts
peculiar to the entity's program or activity
– Understand and follow confidentiality and impartiality rules
– Understand and adhere to their role as interpreters without deviating into a
role as counselor, legal advisor, or other roles (particularly in court,
administrative hearings, or law enforcement contexts)
FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN ARE NOT COMPETENT
INTERPRETERS !
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PEOPLE WHO SHOULD NOT INTERPRET IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/SEXUAL
ASSAULT CASES
•
•
Children: Putting a child in the middle of a parental conflict creates incredible
pressure on the child, who is likely to feel torn regarding whom to side with;
the child may be fearful of the batterer and feel pressured to interpret in his
failure; children may not have vocabulary sufficient to translate legal
information to the parent.
Family member of the victim: Despite the fact that a family member of the
victim offers to volunteer, he or she may be blaming the victim for the abuse
and not have a sufficient understanding of domestic violence to effectively
provide support to the victim. The family member also might exaggerate the
victim’s testimony in order to support her, which can lead to discrediting the
victim-witness on cross-examination. Additionally, the family member might
not have sufficient vocabulary to translate legal information to the victim.
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PEOPLE WHO SHOULD NOT INTERPRET IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/SEXUAL
ASSAULT CASES
(Continued)
•
•
•
Family member of the perpetrator/primary aggressor: A family member of the
perpetrator/primary aggressor could intentionally volunteer to interpret in order to control
what the victim says or manipulate the victim’s words. A family member of the defendant
might blame the victim for the abuse. The family member also might not have a sufficient
understanding of domestic violence to effectively provide support to the victim.
Friend of the family: As with family members, a friend who offers to interpret may wish to
control what the victim says, reporting back tot he family what the victim is saying or blaming
the victim for the abuse. A friend might not have a sufficient understanding of domestic
violence to effectively provide support to the victim. He or she also might not have sufficient
vocabulary to translate legal information to the victim.
Interpreter used by the perpetrator / primary aggressor: A person who interprets for the
batterer should not be asked or allowed to interpret for the victim. This would create a
significant risk of replicating the dynamic of power and control that is used in a battering
relationship. It could also inhibit what the victim is willing to discuss with the court and with
court personnel.
Source: Cultural Considerations in Domestic Violence Cases. Family Violence Prevention
Fund.1999
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Timeliness of Services
•
Interpretation should be provided in a timely manner.
•
Language assistance should be provided at a time and place that avoids the
effective denial of the service, benefit, or right at issue or the imposition of
an undue burden on or delay in important rights, benefits, or services to the LEP
person.
•
In providing law enforcement, health, and safety services, and when important
legal rights are at issue, a recipient would likely not be providing meaningful
access if it had one bilingual staffer available one day a week to provide the
service
In cases involving victims, timeliness is of the utmost importance !
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Implementation of Language Access Plan
1. Identifying individuals who have limited
English proficiency and need assistance
2. Deciding on the ways to provide language
assistance
3. Training Staff
4. Notifying persons with limited English
proficiency
5. Monitoring and updating the policy
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Examples of Prohibited Practices
• Language Access Plan that provides only for services in Spanish (failure
to adequately assess needs in area)
• Asking client to bring own interpreter
• Having a plan in place but failing in implementation (staff are not
trained, do not know of policy, are not authorized to access
interpreters)
• Providing unequal access (interpreter on site one day a week,
“Hispanic court day”)
• Using children as interpreters for provision of services dealing with
safety or rights
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Complaint Procedure
• Complaint form through Office of Civil Rights,
Compliance and Review
• Department of Justice will look favorably on
intermediate steps that recipients take given
that compliance will take time
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Additional Legal Concerns
• Confidentiality
– Agency’s own policy
– HIPPA
• Violation of other duties
– Ex: Law enforcement in domestic violence
situations has duty to provide information to
victim about victim services and rights
– Crime Victim Bill of Rights
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Resources
• Know Your Rights brochures in different
languages
• “I SPEAK” Cards to identify language
• www.lep.gov
– Policy guidance for specific agencies
– Demographic data
– Model programs
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Basic Access to Services
•
Access to Services Necessary to Life and Safety: All individuals present in the
United States, including undocumented immigrants, are guaranteed access to
services “necessary to life and safety.”
•
Source: ( Attorney General Order No. 2353-2001, “Final Specification of
Community Programs Necessary for Protection of Life or Safety Under Welfare
Reform Legislation.”)
•
Among those services are access to EMS, police, fire, child and adult protective
services, domestic violence and rape crisis programs, short term emergency
housing, emergency medical care and vaccinations and treatment for
communicable diseases.
•
Agencies that deny such services risk violating civil rights and fair housing laws.
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Immigration Options for Victims
•
•
•
•
•
•
Battered Spouse Waiver for conditional residents
VAWA Self-Petitioning for Abused Spouses and Children of
US Citizens/Lawful Permanent Residents
U Visa for victims of serious crimes (rape/dv/trafficking)
T Visa for victims of severe form of trafficking in persons
Special Immigrant Juvenile petition for children who are in
foster care/guardianship due to abuse, abandonment or
neglect
Gender Based Asylum
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Intake
• Screens for immigration history
• Identifies problem areas/red flags
• Identifies possible immigration remedies
• Should be faxed/sent to immigration attorney
ASAP
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A Little Herstory
Marriage Fraud Amendment (1990): Battered spouse
waiver for conditional residents
VAWA 1994: Congress created self-petitioning for
spouses and children of abusive U.S. citizen or Lawful
Permanent Resident spouses or parents
Victims did not have to choose between staying silent
in an abusive relationship and being deported.
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Conditional Resident Waiver
 Individual has married to USC for less than 2 years
 When spouse petitions for non-citizen spouse, she receives
conditional residency, good for two years.
 Husband and wife must jointly file to remove this condition
and make her green card permanent.
 However, there are waivers of joint filing requirement:
 if marriage was in good faith but was terminated due to
divorce
 if spouse was subject to battery or extreme cruelty
 if non-citizen would suffer extreme hardship if forced to
return to home country
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VAWA Self-Petitioning
 Some spouses and children of US citizens or lawful
permanent residents, however, have never had anything filed
on their behalf by the relative.
 Undocumented women and children who have been
subjected to battering or extreme cruelty by a spouse or
parent (USC or LPR) may self-petition for their permanent
residency.
 If unmarried, but have child in common, may also be able
to apply.
 Even if divorced, may apply within two years of the
divorce.
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Elements of Self-petition
 Identity and that of their children (children may be
included on mother’s application)
 Identity and status of spouse
 Good Faith Marriage
 Residence with Abusive Spouse
 Residence in USA (or if outside, residence with
military spouse)
 Battering and Extreme Cruelty
 Good Moral Character
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Battering and Extreme Cruelty
• Being the victim of any act or threatened act of violence,
including any forceful detention, which results or threatens to
result in physical or mental injury. . .acts of violence include
psychological or sexual abuse or exploitation, including rape,
molestation, incest, or forced prostitution as well as other
abusive actions that, in and of themselves, may not initially
appear violent but that are part of an overall pattern of
violence.
• Actions against some other person or thing may also qualify if
these acts were deliberately used to perpetrate extreme
cruelty against the self-petitioner or the self-petitioning
spouse’s child.
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Documentation









Affidavit or history of client, detailing all incidents of abuse
Affidavit of domestic violence counselor
FAP records
Military or other protective order
Police Reports (need to use interpreter to get detailed
information)
Hospital Records
Shelter Records (because of CIS’s strict confidentiality,
batterer may never obtain records)
Affidavits of friends and family members
Diaries, photos of abuse and destruction of property
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Affidavit of Advocate
• Important tool in documenting abuse when there
is little primary evidence (photos, police reports,
hospital records)
• Includes counselor’s back ground in DV/SA
• Details counselor’s interaction with survivor,
including assessment of credibility of client and
of client’s good moral character
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Good Moral Character
 Need to avoid mutual protective orders, findings of
abuse or neglect, drug or alcohol abuse, and any
arrests for criminal activity
 Waivers for good moral character problems and
crimes of domestic violence may be available if
applicant can show:




not primary aggressor; and
violation of protective order designed to protect her;or
acting in self-defense;or
crime not result in serious injury
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Immigration Documents
•
•
•
•
Form I-360 ($ or fee waiver)
Form I-765 ($ or fee waiver)
Form I-485 ($ or fee waiver)
After submitted, and prima facie notice is
issued, eligible for public benefits
• May request additional documentation
• When approved, work permit is issued, and/or
greencard
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U Visa: A Long Road
• Created in 2000
• Regulations implementing the visa were not issued
until 9/17/07 (effective date 10/17/07)
• Before regulations, victims could apply for “interim
relief” of deferred action, which would enable them
to apply for employment authorization. Ended
10/17/07
A victim from Kentucky was one of the first to receive
interim relief in the country!
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U Visa Requirements
•
•
•
•
Alien is victim of qualifying crime/criminal activity
Suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result
Criminal activity occurred in US or violated US law
Alien (or in case of alien under 16, parent, guardian or next
friend) possesses information concerning criminal activity
• Alien (or child under 16, parent, guardian or next friend) has
been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to
federal, state or local authorities investigating or prosecuting
the crime
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Direct Victim
• 8 CFR 214.14 (a)(14)
• Victim “directly and proximately harmed by
qualifying criminal activity”
Example: Irena, a 22 year old undocumented
housekeeper, was raped by her employer. She calls
the police, goes for a rape exam and provides
testimony leading to a plea deal by the offender.
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Indirect Victims
1) Parent, legal guardian or other family member of child under 16 may
apply for principal U status
Example: Ivan Cano case in Louisville, KY, where mother of abducted
four year old boy (who was a U.S. citizen) cooperated with law
enforcement in his murder investigation and prosecution.
2) Bystander, unrelated to direct victim if witnessing the crime led to
direct injuries
Example: Pregnant woman witnesses shooting and is so traumatized
she suffers a miscarriage.
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Witness Tampering, obstruction of
justice and perjury
• Who is a victim of these crimes?
• Individuals who are harmed when a perpetrator
commits one of these 3 crimes in order to avoid or
frustrate the efforts of law enforcement
• OR individuals who are harmed when the
perpetrator uses the legal system to exploit or
impose control over them
NOTE: No nexus required with one of the other enumerated
crimes
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Culpability of Victim
• A person who is culpable for the qualifying
criminal activity being investigated or
prosecuted is EXCLUDED from being
considered a victim
• Does not exclude all individuals who have
committed crimes
– Ex: victim who agrees to be smuggled into the U.S.
but then is held in involuntary servitude is still a
victim
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Derivatives
• Can apply within the U.S. or from abroad at
U.S. consulates
• If principal applicant is over 21, spouse and
children are derivatives
• If under 21, spouse, parents and brothers and
sisters (18 at age of filing principal petition)
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Crimes
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Rape
Being held hostage
Torture
Peonage
Trafficking
Involuntary servitude
Incest
Slave trade
Domestic violence
Kidnapping
Sexual assault
Abduction
Abusive sexual contact
Unlawful criminal
Prostitution
restraint
Sexual exploitation
False imprisonment
Female genital mutilation
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Crimes, continued
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Blackmail
Extortion
Manslaughter
Murder
Felonious assault
Witness Tampering
Obstruction of Justice
Perjury
Attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of these
crimes
• “or any other similar activity” also encompassed by statute for
related, non-enumerated crimes
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Occurred in U.S. or
violated U.S. law
• Includes U.S. territories
• Includes Indian lands and military bases
• Crime may have occurred overseas and
violated U.S. law with extrajudicial reach (ex:
sexual abuse of minor overseas)
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Possesses Information
• Has knowledge and details about crime of which the
person is a victim
• If under 16, incapacitated or incompetent, parent,
guardian or next friend may possess information
• Law enforcement may end up charging other crime
Ex: Victim of domestic violence calls 911 and reports
crime to police. While there, police discover
narcotics and charge perpetrator with drug crimes,
rather than domestic violence. Victim can still be
certified.
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Suffered Substantial Physical or Emotional
Abuse
• Injury or harm to the victim’s physical person
or
• Harm to or impairment of the emotional or
psychological soundness of the victim
• “Substantial” refers to either severity of injury
suffered by victim or the severity of the abuse
inflicted by the perpetrator
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Substantial Physical or Mental Abuse
(continued)
Case by case approach using several factors
–
–
–
–
–
Nature of injury inflicted or suffered
Severity of perpetrator’s conduct
Severity of harm suffered
Duration of the infliction of the harm
Extent to which there is permanent or serious harm to the
appearance, health or physical or mental soundness of the
victim
– Pre-existing physical or mental injury of victim
– Series of acts that occur over time--consider in totality
NO SINGLE FACTOR IS A PREREQUISITE
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Certification
• Certifying agencies
– Local, state, federal law enforcement
– Prosecutor
– Judge
– Child Protective Services
– Equal Opportunity Commission
– Department of Labor
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Certification
• Certifying official
– Head of agency
– Designated supervisor
• What does the agency certify?
–
–
–
–
Victim of crime
Possesses information about crime or criminal activity
Crime occurred in U.S or violated U.S. law
Helpfulness
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Helpfulness
• Detection, Investigation or Prosecution (including
conviction and sentencing)
• “Has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be
helpful in investigation OR prosecution”
• Victim may apply at different stages of the
investigation or prosecution
• Prosecution may not be possible in all situation
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Ongoing requirement for helpfulness
• Victim cannot refuse to cooperate
• Recanting victim cannot apply (but make sure
that another crime has not occurred, e.g.
witness tampering)
• CERTIFICATE can be withdrawn and U Visa
status revoked if victim does not cooperate
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Admissibility
• Applicant (and derivatives) must be admissible
to the United States
• May seek waiver of grounds of inadmissibility
EXCEPT the ground applicable to participants
in Nazi persecutions, genocide, acts of torture
or extrajudicial killings
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Waivers
Form I-192
• Waiver available if in public or national interest
• Discretionary decision
• Balance adverse factors with social and humane
considerations present
• Favorable discretion should not be exercised for
waivers involving violent or dangerous crimes, except
in extraordinary circumstances
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Victim Statement
• VERY IMPORTANT
• Should include:
–
–
–
–
–
Nature of criminal activity
When the criminal activity occurred
Who was responsible
Events surrounding the criminal activity
How the criminal activity came to be investigated or
prosecuted
– What substantial physical or mental abuse was
suffered as a result of having been the victim of
criminal activity
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Additional Documentation
• Police reports, court records of disposition
• Protective orders
• Letters from counselors, friends, child’s teacher,
pastors
• Shelter records
• Photographs taken to document physical abuse
• News articles (if crime received media attention)
• Hospital records
• Other documents showing cooperation and abuse
(ANY CREDIBLE EVIDENCE STANDARD)
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U Visa Application
• Form I-918 ($ or fee waiver request)
• Supplement A (qualifying family members)
• Supplement B (law enforcement certificate)
• Fingerprinting
• Applicable waivers
• Victim Statement
• Other Supporting Documentation
Filed at Vermont Service Center, VAWA Unit
10,000 cap each year (not include derivatives)
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If U Visa approved
• Non-Immigrant Visa for up to four years
• Authorization to work
• Can apply to adjust status in 3 years if in
public interest, family unity or humanitarian
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Adjustment of Status
• After three years
• Application & fee waivers
• Must not have unreasonably refused to provide
assistance in a criminal investigation or prosecution
• Admissibility
• Discretionary decision
– Humanitarian grounds
– To ensure family unity or
– In the public interest
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T VISA
• Visa available for victims of severe form of trafficking in
persons
• Need certification of law enforcement
• Must comply with all reasonable requests of law enforcement
(if 18 or over)
• Present in US on account of trafficking
• Would face extreme hardship of an unusual nature if removed
• 4 year visa; apply for permanent residency after three years of
continuous presence & person of good moral character
• Family members may be included
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T VISA Process
• I- (fee or fee waiver request)
• I-485 adjustment of status application (after 3
years)
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Gender Based Asylum
•
Door Opens for Battered Immigrant Women Seeking Asylum
In a case involving a Mexican woman seeking to escape brutal domestic violence in her home country, Obama
Administration officials have taken a position that may open a door to asylum in the United States for some victims of
severe abuse. The Family Violence Prevention Fund, Center for Gender and Refugees Studies, and other advocates for
victims of violence have long advocated this kind of move. The cautious position was laid out in a legal brief from the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this spring in the case of L.R., a Mexican woman who requested asylum
because she feared her common-law husband would kill her. The brief only recently became public.
L.R. is a teacher whose husband repeatedly raped her at gunpoint, held her captive, stole her earnings, and tried to
burn her alive when he discovered that she was pregnant. Local police dismissed her reports of violence, and a judge
from whom she sought help tried to seduce her, the court papers say. DHS did not recommend immediate asylum for
L.R., but in its brief government lawyers conclude that “it is possible” that L.R. and “other applicants who have
experienced domestic violence could quality for asylum.” That may open a narrow path for some battered women to
receive asylum in the United States. The brief argues that abused women who can show that they are treated as
subordinates or property by their abusers, in a country where domestic abuse is widely tolerated and no institutions
provide protection, should be granted asylum. The change does not affect women fleeing female genital cutting,
whose cases have been accepted in the law since 1996.
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Gender Based Asylum (continued)
At present, U.S. law requires that any applicant for asylum or refugee status demonstrate a “wellfounded fear of persecution” based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or “membership in a
particular social group.” Victims of gender-based violence are often not persecuted for their race,
religion, nationality or political opinion, so in order to win asylum they need to be recognized as
members of a social group. When the government declines to find them to
be social group members, they are denied asylum or left in limbo.
One such person is Rody Alvarado Peña, who came to the United States from Guatemala in 1995 after
suffering vicious abuse at the hands of her husband for more than a decade. At age 16, Alvarado
Peña had married a career soldier who raped and beat her, broke mirrors over her head, caused her
to miscarry, and beat her unconsciousness. Divorce was impossible without her abusive husband’s
consent, and with no shelters or other supports available, Alvarado Peña fled to the United States.
She was granted asylum in 1996, but in the years since immigration courts have made conflicting
rulings that left her in limbo.
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Special Immigrant Juvenile
• Under 21 and unmarried
• Committed to state custody (foster
care/guardianship) due to abuse,
abandonment or neglect
• Eligible for long term foster care/no hope for
reunification
• May apply for permanent residency
• Form I-360
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Legal Services
International Center
806 Kenton Street
Bowling Green, KY
(270) 781-8336
Catholic Charities
Office of Immigration Services
2911 S. Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40208
(502) 637-9097
Kentucky Refugee Ministries
969B Cherokee Rd.
Louisville, KY 40204
phone: 502.479.9180
fax: 502.479.9190
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass
859-233-4558
Maxwell Street Legal Clinic
201 E. Maxwell Street
Lexington, KY 40508
(606) 233-3840
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Additional Resources
• ASISTA, http://asistahelp.org/
• Family Violence Prevention Fund,
www.endabuse.org
• Immigrant Legal Resource Center,
www.ilrc.org
• Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of
Human Trafficking,
www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking
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Immigrant Women Workers:
Resources
• Sexual Harassment:
http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm (complaints,
filing deadlines)
• Exploitation of Immigrant Women Workers: Injustice on Our
Plates:Immigrant Women in the US Food Industry, www.splcenter.org
• KY Labor Cabinet : http://labor.ky.gov/Pages/LaborHome.aspx (wage and
hour laws, filing a complaint)
• Language Access: www.lep.gov (guidance, resources, filing a complaint)
• ICE Raids/Know Your Rights: http://www.ilrc.org/for-immigrants-parainmigrantes/know-your-rights
• Immigration Protections for Victims: www.asistahelp.org (technical
assistance, resources)
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Questions?
• [email protected]
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U Visa: A Tool for Law Enforcement and Victims Alike