- DHS announced a resource guide for opting for “continuous presence.”
- This is a temporary status that helps alleviate deportation fears for undocumented immigrants.
- Only people who have been victims of human trafficking are eligible.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a resource guide for opting for “continuous presence,” a way to help alleviate deportation fears for undocumented immigrants who have been trafficked.
“Continued Presence” is a temporary immigration designation provided by law enforcement to non-citizens who may be victims of human trafficking or may be witnesses in investigations, or have filed federal civil actions against their traffickers.
This status, which provides economic security and makes it easier for victims to obtain justice, is granted in two-year increments and is renewable. Additionally, beneficiaries are also eligible for certain federal benefits and services.
The announcement was made by the agency through a release on the World Day Against People Trafficking. The guide is intended for federal, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement agencies, which are the ones that can request continued presence on behalf of the victim.
DHS calls on the undocumented
The fact sheet calls on victims and witnesses of forced labor and other human rights abuses to contact DHS. “The Department of Homeland Security is leading the fight against the horrible practices of sex trafficking and forced labor,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas.
“As part of the Department’s victim-centered approach, we are committed to providing victims of these crimes, including non-citizen victims, with the necessary support and services and seeking justice on their behalf. Components, offices, and experts from across the Department are part of this critical mission. With the release of these new resources, our goal is to support and inform law enforcement agencies and businesses across the country, and to protect and assist victims of trafficking, ”he added.
DHS is also publishing a fact sheet that informs individuals and entities doing business in China about the risk of violating federal forced labor law. This notice alerts companies that are responsible for labor practices in their supply chains and informs them of federal laws to prosecute forced labor and related crimes.
The fact sheet explains that one can face prosecution in the US courts and states that “the federal crime of forced labor does not require a defendant to have imported into the United States any product produced in whole or in part by forced labor.” .
Any victim of a federal crime, whistleblower or witness to a federal crime, can contact HSI by calling 866-347-2423 or by completing an information form. Identifying information about the victim of a crime is protected against disclosure.
HSI has victim assistance specialists who can inform crime victims of their rights and ability to receive benefits and services. Whistleblowers can remain confidential and may be entitled to compensation, such as a Moiety award.
It should be noted that “continuous presence” is not the same as a T visa status, directed at victims of one of the two “serious forms of human trafficking (sex work or forced labor). The “continuous presence” usually ends once the criminal case ends, explains the organization. Women’s Law.
Therefore, to stay in the United States indefinitely, victims of trafficking must seek legal advice to prove that they are eligible for T visa status while they have continuous presence.
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