Nigerian Trafficking Victim Granted T Visa and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

August 26, 2020

Cleary Gottlieb successfully represented Ms. A, a citizen of Nigeria, in her applications for T nonimmigrant status (T visa) and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).

When Ms. A was 16 years old and still living in Nigeria, a private high school in Massachusetts recruited her to travel to the United States by fraudulently promising her a full-tuition scholarship to attend the school and play on its girls’ basketball team. After Ms. A arrived in the United States, however, instead of providing her an education and allowing her to play basketball, school personnel coerced her to beg for money at Walmart and prepare for and clean up after school meals without any remuneration.

Cleary helped Ms. A report her traffickers to law enforcement. In addition, Cleary represented Ms. A in family court guardianship proceedings, securing a special findings order that allowed Ms. A to apply for SIJS because her father was deceased. Cleary filed Ms. A’s T visa and SIJS applications in 2018, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved both applications in 2020. As a result, Ms. A is now able to lawfully live and work in the United States and is eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence (i.e., a green card). Cleary is now representing her with respect to her pending green card application.

Ms. A’s case was referred to Cleary by the Urban Justice Center.

A T visa is a form of immigration relief available to individuals who are or have been victims of human trafficking, and SIJS is available to minors who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent.