Our Work

In October 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded Vera and Legal Momentum a three-year grant to develop and distribute field-tested tools designed to make immigrants who are victims of crime more likely to report the crimes and cooperate with law enforcement officials. The project has created a training curriculum for police personnel, as well as a tool kit for law enforcement about using the U-visa. The project is also developing other related resources, such as webcasts, webinars, and podcasts.

Why Bring Together Law Enforcement and Immigrant Crime Victims?

Congress created the “U” nonimmigrant classification, known as the U-visa, as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000. The U-visa protects crime victims from deportation and strengthens the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate, prosecute, and solve cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other crimes.

By using this visa, law enforcement officers can address immigrant victims’ fear of reporting crime and encourage collaboration with investigators. Yet few law enforcement agencies are aware of the U-visa and how it can be used as a crime-fighting tool. Many of those who are familiar with this type of  visa are unclear about how it fits into their agency’s broader public safety efforts. Law enforcement officers need to know how to use all the tools at their disposal effectively—including the U-visa—so that they can help keep communities safe.

For more information or to share information about law-enforcement agencies that are using the U-visa effectively, contact Susan Shah.