A non-immigrant T-visa has recently been granted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to a Filipino woman who claimed to be the victim of human trafficking, GMA News Online reports.
New York’s Best Care Agency hired Jacqueline Aguirre to work for them but when the approval for her H-1B paperwork came through, the firm refused to pay her the promised rate of $19 per hour. When Aguirre questioned this, the firm then threatened to discontinue their sponsorship of her US visa if she refused to work for a lower pay rate, which would have seen her facing deportation.
When Aguirre found her green card denied, she was placed in deportation proceedings automatically and chose to take legal action against the firm, resulting in her gaining a T-visa. “This is proof that victories can be achieved if we fight for it,” Aguirre says. “I spoke up against the injustice done to me, so other people heard and helped me through this ordeal.”
Human trafficking is the equivalent of modern day slavery, where individuals are lured by traffickers with the promise of a better life and gainful employment. The T-visa, which was created by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act 12 years ago back in 2000, was designed to let the victims of human trafficking stay in the US for up to four years in order to help with the investigation and prosecution of these traffickers, and makes them eligible for legal employment, USCIS says. After the four year period is up they can then apply for legal permanent resident status.