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Ms. Villegas filed suit to protest this treatment. A federal judge ruled in 2011 that the jail officials had shown "deliberate indifference" to Ms. Villegas' medical needs. In an unusual step, the judge also recommended that Ms. Villegas be given immigration status, under a visa type for crime victims. Appeals ensued, but the city settled with Ms. Villegas to avoid further litigation.
Ms. Villegas' case has clarified rights for immigration detainees, and also opened a new possible route to legal status for people whose civil rights have been violated.
If someone you know is in immigration detention, or if you have questions about which visas you might be eligible for, please contact us to see if we are able to help.