US immigration law changes put U-visa applicants at risk

Being an immigrant in Louisiana and other parts the United States can be a frightening experience at times, especially if a person did not enter the country through proper channels. As a result, if a person suffers as the result of a crime, he or she may feel worried about coming forward. Though U.S. immigration law allows crime victims to qualify for U-visas in special circumstances, their cases may face delays.

It was recently reported that there are concerns regarding U-visa cases due to rule changes regarding continuances of cases. Because a considerable backlog of immigration cases exists, the rules have reportedly changed in efforts to decrease that backlog. The report indicated that immigration judges must close 700 cases per year in order for their ratings to be satisfactory.

Of course, immigration cases, including those for crime victims trying to obtain U-visas, can take years to complete. Now, the policies are not allowing enough time for cases to be completed properly. As a result, immigration judges face the options of closing cases or allowing voluntary departure while U-visas are pending, which could put victims at risk.

Individuals hoping to obtain U-visas under U.S. immigration law must already meet a specific set of qualifications, including having been the victim of a crime and having the ability to help authorities apprehend the perpetrator. Still, their cases are precarious. If immigrant crime victims in Louisiana are hoping to obtain this type of visa in order to stay in the country, they may want to obtain help from immigration law attorneys to determine their options and how the policy changes could influence their cases.