December 11, 2015
The Immigration Clinic received U visa approvals for four individuals and their family members this fall. U visas provide lawful status and a pathway to permanent resident status to undocumented individuals who have been a victim of a qualifying crime and cooperated with law enforcement. The U visas approved this fall were filed in the spring and summer of 2013.
Former students that worked on the cases include Yuanyuan Wei, Patrice de Guzman, Regia Araujo, and Maria Cristina Andrade. The students in the Immigration Clinic are able to represent their clients as certified law students. Under the guidance of supervising attorney Blake Nordahl, they conducted the initial consultations, accessed eligibility and worked with their clients throughout the entire process of preparing the applications to USCIS.
Under the current federal statute only 10,000 U visas can be issued every year. There are currently more than 95,000 applications pending nationally. Half of those pending applications have been found to be eligible for the visa but are waiting for an available visa and USCIS reports that the waitlist is already into fiscal year 2018.
The Clinic currently has an additional four U visa applications which are still currently on the waitlist for visas. Those applications have been reviewed and are approvable but for the lack of available visas. The applicants in those cases have been granted deferred action which allows them to obtain work permits while waiting for their visas.
The final approval notice makes an important part in the lives of our clients. One young client, now 21, has been able to receive financial aid to go to college and wants to study to become a nurse. Another young client will now be able to petition for his two children to join him in the United States. Students will be representing him in that process in the spring semester.