Undocumented immigrants in California and throughout the United States are eligible for a special visa if they have been the victim of a crime. The U-visa can make a significant impact on a person's life, but some requirements need to be met before a victim can obtain a U-visa.
Law enforcement officials needed to sign paperwork to document the crime and their investigation during a victim's application process. Unfortunately, not all law enforcement agencies consistently signed these documents. Now, a new California law will change that.
A new law in California now requires local police or prosecutors to sign the form so immigrant victims of crime can apply for the U-visa. Under the new law, undocumented immigrants who are victims of rape, torture and other specific crimes are able to apply for the U-visa. The law does not have a statute of limitations for when the crime happened and when they apply for a visa.
The law will go into effect in January and will require law enforcement agencies to review application requests within 90 days. They will also be required to report to the state how many they have signed.
Supporters of the law say it will help thousands of immigrants who have been victims of crimes like domestic violence who have been too afraid in the past to report the abuse. Many undocumented immigrants are scared to report being victims of crimes due to their fear of being deported.
Applying for a visa can be difficult, especially after being the victim of a crime. Working with an immigration attorney can make sure all of your options are explored.
Source: Los Angeles Daily News, "California law aims to help immigrant crime victims get visas," Amy Taxin, Oct. 24, 2015