The Biden administration has given new legal protections to U-Visa applicants who may be in danger while waiting for the applications to be processed.
USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) announced on June 21 that they are updating policies to provide victims of crime in the U.S. with quicker access to employment authorization. Expedited employment authorization will be provided to immigrants with pending bona fide U-Visa applications.
“The waiting list for a U-Visa program has ballooned, leaving crime victims and survivors of domestic abuse vulnerable to abusers who may threaten to report them for deportation if they continue to talk to the police,” Leslye E. Orloff, director of the national immigrant women’s advocacy project at American University, reports the New York Times.
A U-Visa is designed to help those who been victims of crime in the United States. U-Visas are set aside for immigrants who are victims of mental or physical abuse that help the government officials in their investigations and prosecutions of crime. The goal is also to encourage victims to cooperate in the prosecution of crime, as evidenced by the requirement that someone cooperate with law enforcement as part of the visa process. To qualify for a U-Visa, the applicant must be “helpful,” and must provide the signature from an authorized employee of a law enforcement agency, such as a police department, or a prosecutor or judge. Certain other agencies, such as child protective services or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, can sign the form on the applicant’s behalf.
When applying for a U-Visa it is critical that applicants place their best foot forward, and with an attorney, this could be made possible. The application process often takes anywhere from three to five years for courts to fully adjudicate. There are certain arguments and information that are important and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The role of a U-Visa attorney is to help an applicant with this process and help them to understand his or her rights.
Immigration is difficult and complex, and U-Visas are unique and even more challenging. The attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Lombard and Chicago, Illinois, fight for the rights of immigrants and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with a U-Visa or any other immigration issue, please contact our office at 630-912-0322.