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Ask the lawyer

by PRIDE Newsdesk

Raquel Bellamy

Question: My boyfriend raped me, but I am scared to report it to the police. Will I get deported if I report the rape and have to leave the United States?

Answer: Unfortunately, your situation is all too common. The fear of deportation can be so crippling that many rapists and abusers go unprosecuted. Your courage to ask this question and consider reporting your boyfriend to the police could be your first step towards gaining permission to live and work in the United States. The federal government has created laws to protect victims of crime and to encourage undocumented individuals to report these crimes. One such law provides a ‘U visa’ for victims of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking of aliens. The U visa allows victims to live and work in the United States for up to four years. This visa was created to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the public and to empower crime victims.

The requirements of eligibility for this visa are 1) that you are the victim of a qualifying crime; 2) that you have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the crime; 3) that you have information about the criminal activity; 4) that you were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; 5) that the crime occurred in the United States; and 6) that you are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible to the United States, you may be able to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility. Most importantly, you should speak with a licensed attorney with experience in immigration and nationality law. A licensed attorney will be able to offer you advice on whether you are eligible for a visa.

This informational article is offered as a service to the readers of the Nashville Pride, but is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone who relies on the information shared herein. As laws change frequently, you should not rely only on the rules listed above. This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered as legal advice. You should speak with a licensed attorney directly who can help you apply the law to the facts of your specific case.

Raquel Bellamy, attorney, is the founder of the Bellamy Law Group. To schedule an appointment with Bellamy Law Group, call 615-636-5781 or send an e-mail to RBellamyLG@gmail.com. You may visit us on the web at www.BellamyLG.com.

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