A man holding the fence - Special Visas Might Be Given to Surviving Undocumented Migrants in US A man holding the fence - Special Visas Might Be Given to Surviving Undocumented Migrants in US


Special Visas Might Be Given to Surviving Undocumented Migrants Found in Tractor-Trailer in the US

United States
#immigration #illegal

Issues involving illegal or undocumented migrants have always been sensitive, but the government can't ignore certain cases. Recently, a tractor-trailer in San Antonio was found abandoned in the extreme heat with at least 47 bodies.

Around 20 survivors were rushed to the hospital, suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion. In the following days, six more ended up dead. It's believed that they were illegal migrants who crossed the border from Mexico and other countries farther out, including El Salvador.


Will the Illegal Migrants Be Allowed to Stay in the US?

Regarding whether they'd be allowed to stay in the US, some reports say they might be given special visas.

These would allow them to stay in the US for at least four years. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can offer the ‘T’ or ‘U' special visa.

The ‘T’ visa applies to victims of severe trafficking in persons, which includes sex and labour trafficking. The visa was introduced under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in October 2000.

It applies to victims who comply with any reasonable demands from law enforcement in the identification, investigation or prosecution of those involved in illegal activities.

However, this visa can also be granted to those who cannot testify if they've experienced trauma, e.g. a child who’s unable to speak in court will not be disqualified. This grant recognises that some experiences leave victims unable to talk about what happened.


Can the Illegal Migrants Be Granted a Special Visa for Aiding the Investigation?

The ‘U’ visa applies to those victims who suffered physical or mental damage
 at the hands of human traffickers. It's granted if they assist law enforcement in their investigation or prosecution. This visa was also introduced under the October 2000 Act.

A DHS memo says that the victim must ‘prove’ that they cooperated with government officials. Only then will they become eligible for special visas.



What Other Special Visa Can the San Antonio Victims Be Eligible For?

The government can also issue an ‘S’ visa if they end up playing a major role in apprehending a criminal. It only applies to people with valuable information that can aid an investigation.

The 'S' visa was introduced following the 9/11 attacks and is called the Visa for Aliens Assisting Law Enforcement as Informants. It's also called the 'snitch' visa. Apart from illegal immigrants who become victims of trafficking, it also applies to those people who're in danger in their native countries because of some information they possess. The 'S' visa allows people to stay in the US for around three years.


Distrust Towards Law Enforcement Among Illegal Migrants

While there's seldom a case where someone wouldn't want to help law enforcement catch perpetrators, there's a lot of hesitancy in illegal migrants.

This distrust stems from the fact that they may have encountered several corrupt officials from where they come from. Additionally, traffickers often manipulate illegal immigrants by threatening to report them, making them hesitant to share information in case they're deported.


Final Thoughts

The DHS must try their best to accommodate the survivors by extending legal and mental health services. In a severe case, it's best that the US government show prosecutorial discretion and not deport


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