The United States Department of Labor describes an H-2B visa as a “program [that] permits employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrants to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be temporary for a limited period of time, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal need, peak load need, or intermittent need.” Some examples of H-2B employment may include lifeguards, camp counselors, forest and wildlife workers, coaches, fishermen, housekeepers, etc.
If you are here on an H-2B program, you are likely ecstatic to have the opportunity to work in the United States and immerse yourself in our culture. However, these plans can come to a halt when you find yourself facing a criminal hearing and a request for a protection from abuse order (“PFA”).
What Is a Protection From Abuse Order?
As a non-citizen, the United States legal process can be difficult to comprehend and navigate alone. Although federal rules are in place, each state has different criminal statutes and procedures, and televised courtroom dramas are far from accurate. If you were served with a request for a PFA order, you must first understand what it is and then understand the consequences the order could have on your immigration or visa status.
A PFA order in Pennsylvania is simply a restraining order that protects victims of domestic violence. If a PFA order is ordered against you, you will likely have limited or no contact with the alleged victim. The order can also limit your ability to travel to certain locations, participate in certain activities, etc.
Impact on an H2B Visa Holder
PFA orders can have serious consequences on an H-2B visa holder, affecting their visa status, eligibility for future visas, and United States Immigration Records. Some of these potential consequences are discussed below.
Crimes involving domestic violence, harassment, or abuse are taken very seriously in immigration proceedings and can lead to removal from the country. Although this may seem harsh, the United States must ensure that its citizens are safe from potential future harm. While it may be an uphill battle for anyone, especially a non-citizen, to fight a PFA order, the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team can help you craft a defense unique to your circumstances and individual immigration story.
Visa Extension And Renewal Difficulties
An H2B visa extension or renewal may be challenging to obtain if the visa holder has a PFA order on their record. The United States Citizen and Immigration Services, the government body tasked with drafting and enforcing immigration standards, may view your order as a potential threat to public safety or national safety. Even if your extension or renewal application is ultimately approved, your PFA order will very likely delay the application timeline because the government will take additional time to investigate the circumstances surrounding your PFA order.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
Any criminal charges related to a PFA order, regardless of the outcome, can have a detrimental impact on your H2B visa status, causing your dreams of obtaining a visa or citizenship to perish. Whether you are guilty of the alleged conduct or challenging the legitimacy of the claims contained within the request for PFA, our committed Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm will fight to ensure that you are treated fairly and judiciously throughout this battle. Don't face criminal charges that affect your immigration status alone. Contact us today by calling (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.