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¡No Se Deje!
In 2002, the Congress of the United States created the U-Visa for undocumented immigrants that are victims of specified serious crimes. Qualifying immigrants who are at least 21 years old can apply for visas for their spouses and children as well. Those that are not yet 21 can apply for their parents, spouses, children and unmarried siblings who are under 18 years old. The law also allows people who have temporary non-immigrant visas like students, tourists, and visitors to receive U-Visas. And, undocumented crime victims that have left the U. S. can apply for a U-Visa in their native countries if they meet the requirements under the law.
Ten Thousand (10,000) U-Visas are available per year to undocumented immigrants that:
Some of the qualifying crimes that make U-Visas available are Rape, Domestic Violence, Sexual exploitation, Sexual assault, Involuntary servitude, Kidnapping, Criminal restraint, Blackmail, Torture, Incest, Prostitution, False imprisonment, Perjury and several others.
Applicants for U-Visas must provide a Certification Letter from the law enforcement agency which proves that the immigrant is a victim of a qualifying crime and that he/she is cooperating in the prosecution. The U-Visa provides temporary legal status for 3 years and allows the immigrant to apply for a permanent visa (green card) and then for U. S. citizenship. When used appropriately, the U-Visa program provides many important benefits for American society and for immigrant crime victims.
FALSE CLAIMS AND ACCUSATIONS BY IMMIGRANTS
JEOPARDIZE THE U-VISA PROGRAM
Unfortunately, the enormous benefits granted to people who obtain U-Visas have provided irresistible temptation for too many undocumented immigrants. Reports indicate that false claims of crimes and victimization have been made to police agencies in hopes of obtaining U-Visas. It is a crime to make a false police report. More importantly, when the false accusations are successful, innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit and are often wrongly sent to jail or prison. I have personally been involved with two such examples of false accusations. One case involved false accusations of criminal sexual abuse and the other a false accusation of domestic violence. In both cases, the investigation ultimately revealed that the charges were false.
The victims of the false accusations had to spend thousands of dollars defending against the false charges and suffered extreme emotional stress knowing that they were at risk of going to jail for something they did not do. False reports and claims of crimes cause the police and prosecutors to suspect even truthful and honest victims of lying. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®
Jess J. Araujo, Esq.