Advocacy in Action

  This semester the Immigrant Rights Clinic continued to advocate on behalf of human trafficking survivors. Individuals who can establish they were subjected to force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor may be able to receive a T-visa to lawfully remain in the United States. This nonimmigrant visa is valid for four years and a T-visa holder may apply for permanent residence after three years in T nonimmigrant visa status.  Although the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services is authorized to issue up to 5,000 T-visas per year, only 557 T-visas were issued to trafficking survivors in 2011 according to the U.S. Department of State. This number is extremely low in comparison to the number of actual trafficking victims estimated to be in the United States. Law student clinicians in the Immigrant Rights Clinic recently received T-visa approvals for several survivors of human trafficking. The student clinicians who worked so diligently on these cases are Cynthia Barnes, Rosa Melia-Acevedo, Danielle Rummel and Shavae McKnight.