This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, victim visas, one-way mirrors, and what the heck are HIDTA, HIFCA, and OCDETF? I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 57 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. And this week I'm answering your questions about staying in the United States if you've been the victim of a crime, but hold no immigration status, the truth about those one way mirror observation rooms and explaining what the heck a HIDTA, a HIFCA and an OCDETF are.
But before we get into that, I have a bunch of people I need to thank. As always, I need to thank my gold shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp, of vickitharp.com, Dharma Kelleher, of dharmakelleher.com, Chrysann, Jimmy Cowe of crimibox.com and Larry Darter for their support. I'd also like to thank all of my Coffee Club patrons for their support every single month. Your support keeps the lights on in the bureau and you can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/57 and to learn more about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon.P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
This week's first question comes from Jodi Burnett and you can find her work at jodi-burnett.com. Jodi writes, "Hi Adam. Let me first say I love your podcast." Well, thank you very much, Jodi. "I listen to every week and I'm enjoying the backlist as well. I glean new story ideas with almost every episode." Well, I'll try to up that to every single episode.
"My question is regarding my female protagonist. She is a British citizen who lived with her mother in Scotland until she was 16. Her American father went to Scotland to get her and take her to America for the summer, but instead he abducted her and kept her hidden away in a militia compound in Northern Idaho. 10 years later, she manages to steal her father's phone and call the police to warn them of a domestic terrorist attack the group is planning in Chicago. Her information prevents the attack. When the FBI, ATF, and Homeland security figure out exactly where the compound is and raid it, my character is rescued. What would happen to her now? I think she'd be interviewed and would testify at the trial of the bad guys. But what about after that? She is a British citizen but has no passport, would she be given one and deported. How long could she stay in the States? Could an FBI agent, read love interest, be assigned to escort her back to Scotland? One followup question to this scenario. The compound is in Idaho. The thwarted terrorist attack happened in Chicago. Would the trial take place in Idaho or Illinois? Thank you so much for your help."
Jodi, your female protagonist would probably qualify for an American U visa and that's the letter U. A U visa lets victims of crimes who meet certain requirements stay in the United States. In your story's domestic terror plot, she's technically a witness, but she's also the victim of a parental kidnapping. So, it's the kidnapping case that would make her eligible for the U visa. And to qualify for a U visa, there's three requirements. The first is a crime requirement, meaning that she is the victim of a crime. The second is a helpfulness requirement, so she needs to have helped either law enforcement or the prosecution. And the third is a harm requirement, meaning that she suffered some sort of physical or emotional harm from the crime. So, she clearly suffered harm, was helpful in the prosecution, and was the victim of a crime when it comes to the kidnapping, but not necessarily with the domestic terror situation.
So, that means you can use this if, depending on how you want the story to go, you can... Hanging the U visa over her head and not have her get it if you want her to go back to Scotland, or if you'd like to keep her in the States, you can have them pursue the kidnapping case as well. So the reason you would go after a U visa is because it provides a few benefits. One, you can legally live in the United States for four years and after having three years of having the U visa, you can actually apply for a green card... Continue reading...
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