The U-visa

An Important Tool for Community Policing
Oren Root Former Director
Jan 14, 2011

The January newsletter of the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (the COPS Office) features an article about the U-visa written by Sergeant Inspector Tony Flores of the San Francisco Police Department and Rodolfo Estrada, senior program associate at Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ).

Congress created the “U” nonimmigrant classification, or U-visa, as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000. The U-visa provides legal immigration status for crime victims who cooperate with law enforcement in investigating, prosecuting, and solving cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other crimes.

Through the National Immigrant Victims’ Access to Justice Partnership, CIJ works with the nonprofit organization Legal Momentum to train law enforcement agencies on using the U-visa. Sergeant Inspector Flores’s substantial experience with the U-visa application process has brought tremendous value to the project, facilitating his ability to assist fellow officers to deepen their understanding of this useful tool.