How law enforcement is using the U-visa

09/30/2011
Vera Institute of Justice

Law enforcement agencies increasingly recognize the value of the U-visa (officially known as “U” nonimmigrant status) as a community-policing and crime-fighting tool. This type of visa provides temporary legal status to immigrant crime victims in the United States who are helpful to law enforcement. Since 2009, Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice and the nonprofit organization Legal Momentum have worked together as the National Immigrant Victims’ Access to Justice Partnership and have trained personnel from dozens of law enforcement agencies on how to use the U-visa. This brief describes current practice, including common obstacles for law enforcement and benefits of using the tool, to encourage more effective use of the U-visa.