Being the victim of a crime is a frightening experience. When a person is a victim and is also worried about coming forward to report the crime because of his or her immigration status, it can be an even more harrowing time for that person. In some cases, individuals can qualify for U-visas that allow them to remain in the country legally if they can help law enforcement with the investigation into the crime. However, just like many other changes to U.S. immigration law, policies regarding U-visas are seeing modifications.
Louisiana readers may be interested in the recent policy changes regarding U-visas. According to reports, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement would previously work with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to determine the likelihood of a U-visa being approved before determining whether to approve a person's stay of removal request. If the USCIS indicated a likelihood of eligibility, ICE would be more likely to approve the stay of removal.
Now, ICE will no longer work with the USCIS to determine the likelihood of approval. Agents and legal professionals will now review the circumstances of a case to determine whether the stay of removal should be allowed as the U-visa cases are processed. As a result, it can be riskier for individuals to request these visas because they could end up facing deportation if the request is denied.
Any type of immigration issue can be difficult. If a person has been the victim of a crime, he or she should not fear coming forward to report that crime. Unfortunately, this fear is spreading, and parties in this type of situation may need help now more than ever. If individuals in Louisiana have concerns about applying for U-visas, they may wish to work with U.S. immigration law attorneys.