There are many California immigration laws in place to provide protection for immigrants who need it. Today we’re taking a look at SB 1569 and the protections it offers to immigrant survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes.
California Immigration Laws: Benefits for Immigrant Survivors of Serious Crimes
Benefits for Immigrant Survivors of Trafficking, Domestic Violence, and Other Serious Crimes in California are outlined in California law, SB 1569. This law states that immigrant survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes are permitted to receive state and local benefits under the same rules that apply to refugees.
There are two classifications of immigrants under this law – trafficking survivors and U-visa applicants or holders.
According to SB 1569, immigrants who are survivors of severe forms of trafficking in persons who are willing to assist law enforcement in the prosecution of their traffickers may apply for a “T-Visa” or they can have a request for continued presence filed for them. Child victims as well as relatives of trafficking survivors are also eligible for immigration relief. Survivors can be certified for federal benefits by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
A “severe form of trafficking” is defined as trafficking involving:
- A commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion
- A commercial sex act in which the person induced to perform such act is under the age or 18
- Trafficking that involves labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Under California law, victims of this severe form of trafficking are eligible to receive state and local benefits before they are able to receive federal benefits so that they have benefits while going through qualification steps necessary for federal programs.
Programs that trafficking victims with precertification may benefit from include:
- CalWORKs Medi-Cal IHSS General Assistance (12 months)
- California Food Assistance Program (CFAP)(12 months)
- Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)(12 months)
- State-Funded Refugee Cash (TCVAP) Refugee Medical (Up to 8 months)
Programs that trafficking victims with ORR certification may benefit from include:
- CalWORKs Medi-Cal IHSS General Assistance
- Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) (Eligible once
SSI time limit expires )
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, known as CalFresh)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligible during first 7 years after
- Refugee Cash Asst. (RCA) Refugee Medical (RMA)(8 months)
- Refugee Social Services (RSS)
Trafficking survivors in families with children who have low income may also be eligible to receive CalWORKS, CalFresh, or the California Food Assistance Program and full care under Medi-Cal.
Survivors of Domestic Violence and Other Serious Crimes
According to the Violence Against Women Act, non-U.S. citizen survivors of domestic violence who are married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents can “self-petition” for status in the United States. Additionally, survivors who have aided law enforcement in their investigation and prosecution of specific criminal activities can apply for a U Visa in the U.S. Applicants for a U visa do not have to be married.
In order to qualify for the U Visa, a non-citizen must be able to prove that they have:
- Been the victim of certain criminal activity that occurred in the U.S. or that violates a U.S. law
- Have information concerning this activity
- Be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation/prosecution of this activity
- Suffered “substantial mental abuse or physical abuse” as a result of their victimization.
Public assistance programs that survivors of domestic abuse or other serious crimes who have applied for or currently hold a U visa may qualify for include:
- CalWORKs Medi-Cal IHSS General Assistance
- California Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
- Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)
- Refugee Cash (TCVAP) and Refugee Medical (8 months)
Are There More California Immigration Laws You Need Explaining?
If you live in or around Pasadena, California, and are in need of an immigration attorney, Nelson and Associates are here for you. To arrange your first consultation with our expert attorneys, just give us a call at 626-683-3451 and we’ll set up an appointment that’s convenient for you!