The University hosted a virtual roundtable on immigration relief for non-citizen survivors of violence to make them aware of the resources that are available to them.
About 12 people attended the Nov. 3 event via Zoom. It started off with an introduction by Kryztal Rodriguez-Campos, director of the Justice and Immigration Clinic at the University’s College of Law. The clinic represents non-citizens pro-bono in a variety of immigration-related situations.
A Spanish translator interpreted the discussion for non-English speakers.
The group also included students and University employees. They discussed the ways that the University and local services can help them in these challenging situations.
The discussion offered vital information to help immigrants, whatever their status, with the goal of making participants feel more comfortable in reaching out for help.
The student panel included junior psychology major Jacqueline Marquez, junior legal studies major Giselle Ruiz, and junior business administration major Aerin Wiggins, who are also honor students and are involved with the Justice and Immigration program at the University.
They discussed topics such as the Violence Against Women Act and its implications for visa eligibility, eligibility for special immigrant juvenile status, and asylum.
“VAWA allows certain non-citizens who have been abused by a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident to self-petition for legal status in the U.S. without the knowledge or consent of the abusive individual,” Marquez said.
Marquez elaborated on qualifications for immigrants under the Violence Against Women Act.
Ruiz went into more detail about visas “for victims of certain qualifying crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical hardship and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the prosecution of the crime.”
Wiggins also talked about visas, specifically for those who are victims of human trafficking.
Other resources for young immigrants were presented such as the eligibility for special immigrant juvenile status and the asylum requirements for all ages.
For more information about the Justice and immigration Clinic, visit law.laverne.edu/library/clinic-resources.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which also offers support in Spanish, at 800-799-7233.
To report sex trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which also offers support in Spanish, at 888-373-7888.
Edith Gomez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.