Victims of crime should seek help in analyzing the impact on their immigration status
Visiting students and temporary workers are being attacked - more protections are needed
Throughout the country attacks on visa holding students and workers have escalated in number and severity. Despite the misinformation being spread by politicians and in the media, it is immigrants, students and workers that bear the brunt of crime and violence not the other way around. It is far too often the case that police investigations are too lackluster to uncover targeted violence against foreign born people. As attorneys working in the immigration field we are encountering many accounts of victimization of migrants. Whenever one is a victim of crime the society owes a duty to the victim that some reasonable effort be made to investigate the perpetrators of the crime. Whether a result of cultural barriers or due to disregard on the part of police, investigation of crime and violence against immigrants is not receiving the critical attention it deserves.
This past weekend, October 29th, a Saudi Arabia born student Hussain Saeed Alnahdi was brutally assaulted and killed near a Toppers Pizza restaurant in downtown Menomonie, Wisconsin. Hussain, 24 years old was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
With the hateful misinformed speeches of Donald Trump permeating the airwaves and the institutionalized racism prevalent throughout police departments and prosecutors’ offices throughout the nation, foreign born people, whether they are from Pakistan or Mexico, India or Ethiopia, Cameron or Thailand are less likely to get full cooperation and help from authorities than Americans Citizens. In fact, many times rather than being helped as victims of crime they are looked upon with suspicion. This is an unfortunate fact of life living in the United States of America in 2016. While there may be hurdles, people who are victims of crime should seek relief and recourse in a situation where she or he is a victim.
Potential for Immigration relief
From an immigration standpoint one who is a victim of crime may have recourse for relief. It is important to consult with an attorney to conduct an analysis of the particular situation. Each situation is unique and a close and careful review is needed. There are organizations one can reach out to such as Futures Without Violence who help immigrant women victims of domestic violence, Kids in Need of Defense and Legal Aid Centers run by Universities and organizations such as the Catholic Church.
Contact a qualified attorney
Likewise, a determined and able private advocate can make a significant impact on a case. Regardless of the path taken, any person that is a victim of crime should follow up with police and seek justice for being harmed. Where the victim of the crime is an immigrant, one should seek an analysis of any immigrant relief available such as U visa, T visa, whether the person may have relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which by the way applies equally to men and women or some other way. If you have been a victim of a crime and would like to schedule an immigration consultation you can contact me by email @ firstname.lastname@example.org follow me on twitter @bayreef.
Sharif Silmi is an attorney with the Shah Peerally Law Group. He is based in Washington DC and advocates on behalf of workers, students, and victims of crime and violence.