Legal Assistance for Undocumented Victims

Hispanic Affairs Project offers help for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking through our Immigration Legal Assistance Program. Federal law provides various mechanisms for victims to protect victims from their abusers and to gain legal residency. If you or someone you know is a victim, contact HAP to learn what legal protections may be available.

Protections for Undocumented Victims

VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) Self-Petition

Allows immigrant victims of domestic violence to attain lawful permanent resident status without separating from the abuser. This allows the victim to leave the abuser once they gain residency.


Allows victims of sexual and domestic violence who assist in criminal proceedings against the accused to live and work in the US. Recipients can apply for permanent residency after 3 years.


Allows victims of human trafficking to live and work in the US. Recipients can apply for permanent residency after 3 years.

Cancellation of Removal

Allows victims of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to cancel removal (deportation) proceedings. Victims then receive lawful permanent residency status, and their children can be paroled into the United States.

Battered Spouse Waiver

Applicants for marriage-based green cards are granted “conditional” residency status for two years before receiving full status. This waiver allows victims to remove this conditional status and receive full permanent lawful residency so as not to have to remain in an abusive relationship.

Sexual assault and human trafficking

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.

Traffickers look for people who are susceptible for reasons such as psychological or emotional vulnerability or economic hardship. The trauma caused by traffickers can be so great that may victims may not identify themselves as such.

If you believe someone is a victim of human trafficking, do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker or victim directly. Alert law enforcement for the safety of the victim and yourself.