Criminal activity remains a major problem in the United States and around the world. The governments of various countries have an express interest in investigating and punishing these acts of violence. To accomplish this goal, law enforcement agencies often rely on the testimony of the victims of the crimes themselves.
Unfortunately, this admirable goal often conflicts with United States immigration laws that require all people without a valid visa to leave the country. This affects both people who entered the country legally and those who had no right to do so.
The victims of crimes certainly have a valuable role to play in the criminal justice system. As a result, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) created the U Visa program. A lawyer could provide more information about this program and help obtain Wheaton visas for victims of crimes.
When Could the Victims of Crimes Remain in the United States?
USCIS recognizes the fact that victim testimony is always a vital part of any criminal prosecution. However, it is also possible that these victims may not be United States citizens or may lack a green card. Under normal circumstances, these people are subject to deportation upon the expiration of a temporary visa. This could create situations where a criminal defendant escapes prosecution as the U.S. government deports a victim.
The U visa program is the solution to this problem. These are temporary visas that allow the victim of a violent crime to remain in the country to serve as a government witness. According to USCIS, the list of applicable violent crimes includes:
- Felonious assault
- Human trafficking
The victims of these attacks may immediately petition USCIS for a temporary visa to remain in the United Status be asking for a Wheaton visa for the victims of crimes.
The Obligation to Work Closely with Law Enforcement
The U visa program requires all victims of violent crimes to work with law enforcement in the investigations and prosecutions. This does not merely mean answering a few questions. People asking for these visas must certify their willingness to participate in any way possible to bring criminals to justice.
The U visa program begins with a person completing and submitting Form I-918. This requires detailed personal information, a criminal history, and current and past addresses. This is similar to the information required for any temporary residence visa.
Where the visas for victims of crimes differ is in the requirement to certify a willingness to cooperate with law enforcement. The law enforcement agency that is handling the case issues a certification letter to USCIS. The applicant for the visa must sign the letter indicating his or her continued cooperation with the investigation. This often includes testifying at trial. A failure to adhere to these terms could result in an immediate termination of the visa and deportation. As a result, Wheaton visas for the victims of crimes are always contingent on a person’s willingness to participate in the criminal legal process.
Wheaton Visas for Victims of Crimes are a Powerful Tool for Law Enforcement
If you have been the victim of a violent crime, you have the right to demand justice in criminal court. This applies regardless of whether you are a United States citizen, a green card holder, or are in the U.S. for any other reason. It is an unfortunate fact that these cases often take months or years to resolve, at which point, you may face the requirement of returning to your home county.
Visas for victims of crimes program in Wheaton allows these people to remain in the U.S. to aid in a government prosecution. This requires the completion of a visa application with USCIS and signing a law enforcement certification that obligates you to assist in any possible way. An attorney could help to provide more information about the Wheaton crime victim visa program. Contact a lawyer today to explore your options.