Victims of Crime

Victims of Crime


Among the most vulnerable in the immigrant community are undocumented victims of crime, including domestic violence and human trafficking. Immigrant victims of domestic violence may be eligible for lawful immigrant status — protections created by Congress to prevent noncitizen victims from suffering in silence for fear of deportation and separation from their families. These victims of violence are so terrorized that they avoid seeking law enforcement and emergency medical services that could protect them. They live in the shadows of society, alienated by trauma, language, poverty, culture, and fear.

In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, permitting abused immigrant spouses and children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for visas without the cooperation of their abusers. Casa Cornelia’s clients may also be eligible for U Visas for victims of serious crime who cooperate with law enforcement and T Visas for victims of human trafficking. However, seeking this protection is difficult. Applications for relief require English; evidence must be gathered, reproduced, and translated; and legal issues must be resolved. Even more fundamentally, these victims must be identified and encouraged to seek help.

Closeup of the open palm of a dirty hand of a person unfocused in the background


Casa Cornelia responds to the urgent needs of undocumented victims of violent crimes by providing free legal representation to assist them with their visa petitions, empowering them to leave abusive relationships, achieve economic independence, regain their self-esteem, and begin a new life for themselves and their children.