December 4, 2015
Kelley Drye Pro Bono attorney, Melissa Byroade
, recently obtained a U-Visa for a Mexican citizen who has been residing in the U.S. since she was seven years old. Melissa successfully handled the U-Visa application process for the citizen and a Derivative Petition for her husband by assembling supporting affidavits and a variety of documentary evidence which established their eligibility for U-Visa status. A U-Visa is a nonimmigrant visa, set aside for victims of crimes (and their immediate family members) who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. In this instance, her mother brought her to the U.S. when she was seven years old. Her father was already in the U.S., and they went to stay with him in Los Angeles. Until she was 12 years old, her father repeatedly drugged, raped and sexually abused her, resulting in three pregnancies. Her mother did nothing to stop these crimes. After her third pregnancy, the police arrested her father and removed her and her siblings from his home. She cooperated with the investigation and prosecution of her father’s crimes. He was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison for his crimes against his daughter. Now, she happily lives in New York with her husband and their three children.