Washington, D.C. (AHN) - The U.S. federal government will grant permanent residency to human trafficking victims. On Monday the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published through its website an interim final rule that permits non-immigrants with "T" and "U" statuses to acquire green cards.
The two non-immigrant classifications were the result of the approval of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in October 2000. The act granted T visas to immigrants who were victims of human trafficking and U visas to victims of crimes who suffered mental or physical abuses.
But the rules limit the adjustment of status for T visa holders to 5,000 people, although it covers only the main visa applicant, not their families who are also permitted to change their immigration status together with the main visa holder.
The USCIS explained it took the agency almost six years to come up with regulations because the change in migration status of T and U visa holders involve complex, difficult legal and policy issues which took long to resolve.
Immigration advocates hailed the release of the long overdue regulations. According to Diana Velardo, an immigration lawyer at the University of Houston, it will help the human trafficking victims move out of uncertainty and move on with their lives.
After the rules are published in the Federal Register, it will become final in 30 days.