Humanitarian Options

Protecting you and your family members from harm.

Asylum requires demonstrating a well-founded fear of persecution, on account of a protected ground (race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group), either by your government or by someone the government cannot or will not control. Similarly, the United Nations Convention against Torture (CAT) provides protection to those who can demonstrate that it is “more likely than not” that they will be tortured if returned to their home country.

There are time- and criminal-related bars to these benefits. Spouses and minor children may be included in the application, and asylees may later apply for lawful permanent residency.

Abused spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may be eligible to remove the abusive petitioner from their case and to effectively sponsor themselves for an immigrant visa. They must demonstrate that the marriage was entered into in good faith, that they lived with their spouse, and that the abuse occurred during the marriage. (Other restrictions apply, depending on the circumstance.) If the “self-petition” is approved, the individual is eligible to apply (along with any minor children) for lawful permanent residence.

Visas are available for victims of certain serious crimes in the U.S., for victims of severe forms of trafficking, and for certain individuals who have assisted a law enforcement agency as a witness or informant. U and T visas provide the temporary ability to live and work in the U.S., with a path towards permanent residency three years after obtaining the visa. An S visa provides the ability to apply directly for lawful permanent residence. Different criteria and timeframes apply to each.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows nationals from certain countries to remain in the U.S. until political or environmental conditions change such that they are able to return. To be eligible, you must be physically present in the U.S. at the date that your country is designated for TPS by the U.S. Attorney General, in addition to meeting other requirements. Approval is discretionary, and you may be disqualified by concerns related to crime or security. If granted, permission to stay and work in the U.S. may be valid for 6 to 18 months, for as long as the program is renewed.

Deferred Action is not a status in a strict sense. It is a temporary permission to remain in the United States, even for those who have been ordered deported or removed.  If you receive a grant from either USCIS or by ICE, you can then apply for employment authorization. It is typically granted on a humanitarian basis. Examples may include instances in which you have a relative under your care with a serious medical condition requiring you to temporarily remain in the United States, or if your continued presence is beneficiary to a law enforcement agency conducting an investigation.

Also typically considered is whether you are an enforcement priority, and whether other negative factors (such as immigration or criminal violations) are present in your case.  Deferred action is typically granted on one-to-two year increments, and procedures for applying depend on the local USCIS or ICE office where the request is made.

Similar in some ways to both Deferred Action and TPS, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is a form of permission from the Attorney General to avoid removal from the U.S.  For example, if you previously had been granted TPS but your country’s TPS designation has been removed, you may (in some cases) be designated as eligible for DED. In practical sense, the designations are very similar. You would make an application to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that, once granted, will allow you to remain and work in the U.S. for a limited period of time.

On June 15, 2012, the former Obama Administration announced that individuals brought to the U.S. as children, and who meet several other requirements, would be eligible to apply for deferred action. This policy is referred to as Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). If granted, you will not be removed from the U.S. or placed into immigration proceedings, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. A grant of deferred action under this policy lasts for a period of two years from the date that it is granted. After two years, a request may be submitted to renew deferred action. Though the program was discontinued, renewal requests may be received while the decision to discontinue the program is reviewed by federal courts. Updated information can found at USCIS here.

While there are similarities between several of these benefits, there are many important differences between them, as well as important consequences related to applying. If any of these options may be applicable to you, we will engage in a very careful analysis of your potential eligibility and will walk you through potential risks and benefits.


Very professional and understanding.

I highly recommend as your immigration lawyer. He has helped my father with the lengthy process of his u-visa. He has always been very professional and courteous.

– Luis

Great legal advice

I consulted Mrs. Blaisdell for a T1 visa. He is very knowledgeable, trustworthy and professional. Mrs. Blaisdell gives in depth advice and explanation of your legal alternatives and course of actions. I highly recommend him to anyone looking to hire an honest and knowledgeable lawyer.

– Ioana