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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. 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. Providing visas to these victims enables them to acquire legal immigration status and work authorization.
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.
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. These benefits could take time to become real.
The US Immigration Service reported that over the past 3 years the number of applications were as much as twice the 10,000 per year available visas. That report also showed that 45,898 applications were waiting to be processed at the end of 2014.
Unless there is an increase in the available visas in the future, the number of applications pending to process will be more every year, making the wait longer. The current trend suggests that in 2020 the number of pending applications could reach 150,000. Since there are only 10,000 visas available every year, the wait could take 15 years. A way to shorten the waiting period is to have Immigration increase the number of available visas.
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