Immigrants who have been victims of crimes in the United States, or who have direct family who were victims of crime, are sometimes eligible for a "U Visa" better known as U Status. This process requires showing that this person was a direct or indirect victim of a "qualifying crime" and that they helped law enforcement in some capacity, usually by reporting the crime and assisting the police or prosecutor. Only certain types of crimes can make one eligible for a "U Visa" and it is extremely important to consult an experienced attorney before applying for anything with the government.
Currently, the processing of applying for U Status is extremely delayed because only 10,000 can be issued each year. There is a backlog that likely exceeds 10 years, and although the law could change in the future, there are no pending changes at this time. Even so, there are some benefits for those who have filed an application for U Status and who are determined to be eligible, even before formal approval. Those typically involve "deferred action" and work authorization. Even these benefits may take 4-5 years at current processing times. As such, this process is exceedingly difficult for many people. There are some options for federal litigation to accelerate work authorization.
The types of crimes which qualify someone for U Status should be reviewed with an experienced attorney, but are legally limited to the following:
Abusive Sexual Contact
Female Genital Mutilation
Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
Obstruction of Justice