This workshop is an excellent volunteer opportunity for law students and recent graduates during which you will help immigrant survivors of crimes secure legal protection in the United States. The U visa provides protection against deportation and access to immigration benefits for victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence, if they demonstrate cooperation with law enforcement and meet other legal requirements. Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) seeks to serve immigrant victims of crimes by conducting a two-day U visa preparation workshop in partnership with area law students and recent law graduates. Under attorney supervision, volunteers will work with clients to prepare U visa applications.
U visas have a tremendous impact on the lives of immigrants, as illustrated in the story below:
Rosa* is a 33-year-old woman from Mexico, who came to the United States with her nine-year-old daughter. Throughout a four-year relationship, Rosa’s partner emotionally and physically abused her. In addition, he controlled all of the household finances and would not allow her to leave the house without his permission. In 2009, Rosa called the police, pressed charges, obtained an order of protection, and testified against her partner in court. As a result, her partner was convicted of domestic battery. Before receiving a U visa, Rosa could not work and was forced to rely upon her partner to pay for basic necessities. Now with her lawful status, she has work authorization and hopes to return to school to pursue a degree in business management and build a life for her family. *Name has been changed.
- Be fluent in Spanish (or partner with someone who is fluent in Spanish
- Commit to the Saturday workshop plus one follow-up visit to NIJC’s office
- Understand they may work with clients who have experienced trauma
I. Saturday, October 14, 2017 at NIJC’s office (208 S. LaSalle, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL)
- 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: U visa Training – Led by NIJC supervisors, volunteers will receive an overview of the U visa eligibility and application requirements
- 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: U visa Workshop – Volunteers will interview clients and family members, complete affidavits, and prepare U visa applications. (Lunch will be provided.)
II. Monday, October 16, 2017 to Friday, October 20, 2017
- Volunteers will return to NIJC’s offices for 2-4 hours to complete application preparation. NIJC supervisors will review all final packets, file them with USCIS, and remain counsel for the client throughout the application process.