Presentation on theme: "Building Law Enforcement Capacity to Serve Immigrant Victims"— Presentation transcript:
1Building Law Enforcement Capacity to Serve Immigrant Victims The National Immigrant Victims’ Access to Justice PartnershipAtlanta, GAMarch 14, 2013
2This project was supported by Grant No This project was supported by Grant No DG-BX-K018 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the SMART Office, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the United States Department of Justice.
3Training Overview Housekeeping and Faculty Introductions Goals and ExpectationsU visa OverviewCrimes covered under the U visaU visa Benefits to Law EnforcementCompleting the Law Enforcement CertificationIdentify and Address Difficult IssuesDeveloping Agency U visa Protocols
5Training GoalsUnderstand the U visa certification and application processUnderstand barriers that prevent immigrant and refugee victims from cooperating with the criminal justice systemAnticipate and overcome the challenges to signing certificationsDiscuss agency policies and protocols
7U visa (Crime Victim Visa) Basics Purpose: Why does it exist?Requirements: Who’s eligible for it?Application Process: How does one get it?General FactsPurpose: Why does it exist?Requirements: Who qualifies for a visa?Process: What does someone have to do to get one?
8Congress created the U visa in 2000 to: Why does the U visa Exist?Congress created the U visa in 2000 to:Increase prosecution of perpetrators of crimes against immigrant victimsImprove community policing and community relationshipsIncrease immigrant victim crime reportingMinimize fear of deportation for immigrant victims of crimeEnhance victim safety and keep communities safeCongress enacted VAWA self-petitioning (1994) and the U visa (2000) to
9U visa Requirements Victim of a qualifying criminal activity Has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful inDetection, investigation, prosecution, conviction or sentencingSuffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the victimizationPossesses information about the crimeCrime occurred in the U.S. or violated U.S. law
10U visa Application Process Law Enforcement Certification- must have oneComplete and submit application, which includes biometrics, additional documentation and fees (or waiver request)Decision from USCIS takes at least 6 monthsRe: Noelle’s comment, mention that other agencies/prosecutor’s can also certify the U visa
11U Visa Application Victim Flow Chart Criminal activityoccurs.IF: The victim has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to law enforcementORThe victim is under 16 years of age and victim’s parent, guardian, or next friend has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to law enforcementThe victim is 21 years of age or older and is deceased due to the criminal activity or incapacitated or incompetent;the spouse and/or children under 21 of the victim have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcementThe victim is under 21 years of age and is deceased due to the criminal activity or incapacitated or incompetent;the victim’s spouse, children, parents, or unmarried siblings under 18 have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcementTHENVictim (or legal representative) seeks I-918B, Law Enforcement Certification.(If victim is not working with a service provider, law enforcement officers can refer victims at this point.)Victim submits U-visa application to the Victims and Trafficking Unit of USCIS showing that the victim meets each of the U-visa eligibility requirements.The application includes*:U-visa application form: Form I-918Law Enforcement Certification: Form I-918, Supplement BDocuments related to victim’s identificationVictim’s signed statement describing the facts of the victimizationAny information related to victim’s criminal history, including arrestsAny information related to victim’s immigration history, including prior deportationAny information related to victim’s health problems, use of public benefits, participation in activities that may pose national security concerns, and moral turpitudeAny information related to the victim’s substantial physical or mental abuse sufferedOther documentation such as police reports, medical records, letters of support from service providers.Eligible family members can also apply.* Other administrative documentation is also required. More information is available atLaw Enforcement provides victims with:1. I-918 Law Enforcement Certification signed in blue ink and completed by a. the head of the certifying agency; OR b. a person in a supervisory role specifically designated by the headof the agency to sign certifications2. Any supporting documentation such as reports and findings; and3. In the case of 1b, a letter from the head of the agency designating another person to sign the certification (designee letter).Within about 6 months, victim receives decision on U-visa application. If approved, victim receives work permit. If applications for family members are approved and they are abroad, consular processing begins.After three years, U-visa holders (victims) apply for lawful permanent residence (“green card”).The application includes:Adjustment of Status Application: Form I-485Any information related to the victim’s continuous presence in the U.S. since obtaining U-visa statusAny information indicating that USCIS should exercise its discretion to grant lawful permanent residenceAny information indicating that the U-visa holder has not unreasonably refused to cooperate with an ongoing investigation or prosecutionEligible family members can also apply.Within about 1 month, victim receives notice from USCIS confirming filingof U-visa application.Prepared by the National Immigrant Victims Access to Justice Partnership (2010). This project was supported by Grant No DG-BX-K018 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the SMART Office, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the United States Department of Justice.
12General Facts Only 10,000 U visas can be granted annually The U visa grants a temporary 4-year stayOnly some U visa holders will qualify for legal permanent residency– no guaranteeU.S. citizenship can only be attained after legal permanent residency for 5 years + proof of good moral characterThe cap has been reached in 2012
14What types of crimes are affecting the immigrant communities in your jurisdiction? The U visa is also known as the crime victim visa, so let’s dive in and talk about the crimes affecting your immigrant community
15What’s the difference between the crimes that affect immigrants and U visa criminal activities? Crimes Affecting ImmigrantsU visa Criminal ActivitiesOutlined in state or local criminal codesA specific code/statute enforced by local or federal law enforcementOften include domestic violence (which might be listed as assaults), robbery, burglary, violent assaults, sexual assaults, traffickingThese are broad categories that, as listed, may appear in federal codes, state laws, or legislation like VAWA or TVPRAIntended to encompass the types of crimes affecting immigrants
16Attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of these crimes Categories of qualifying criminal activities listed in the U visa statuteSexual assaultRapeIncestTortureFemale genital mutilationFelonious assaultManslaughterMurderKidnappingAbductionTraffickingInvoluntary servitudeSlave tradeBeing held hostagePeonageFalse ImprisonmentBlackmailExtortionWitness tamperingObstruction of justicePerjuryProstitutionDomestic violencesubstantially similar, state/federal criminal statutes, Overlapping crimesAttempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of these crimesAny similar activity
17Are these criminal activities always reported Are these criminal activities always reported? Barriers Impacting Immigrant Victims of CrimeLanguage barriersLack of understanding of U.S. LawsAbuser’s power and control over victimDomestic violenceSexual assault in the workplace or at UniversityImmigration status
19U visa Benefits to Law Enforcement Encourages victims to report crimesImproves investigation and prosecution of violent crimesIncreases potential to convict most dangerous criminalsDemonstrates commitment to protecting immigrant community membersEnhances immigrant community cooperationReduces repeat calls and recanting victimsFosters community policing partnershipsEnhances officer and community safety
20How will you encounter a U visa certification in your work? You may be the first responder on a call involving an immigrant victimYou may receive a request for certification fromA victim advocateAn immigration attorneyA community based organizationA victim
22The Parts of the Certification Form U visa Toolkit, p.17 or Separate Document in Right Pocket of FolderIdentify the victim or indirect victim (Part 1)Include agency and certifier information (Part 2)What criminal activity occurred? (Part 3)Determine helpfulness of the victim (Part 4)Determine if any family members were implicated in the crime (Part 5)Signature of certifier (Part 6)The ones in bold are the sections we will discuss
23Law Enforcement Certification Form I-918 Supplement B
24Identify the Victim or Indirect Victims (Part 1) Victim was killed or is incapacitatedNext friendFamily members of alien victimsBystandersAny state laws regarding indirect victims?
27LEAVE BLANK x x x x Ching Calleen J 30309 Sheriff’s Office 08/28/1973xSheriff’s OfficeCaptain MikeSupervisor/D.V.U.Sheriff Ric BradshawLEAVE BLANK3228 Gun Club RoadAtlantaGA30309(561)()xxxH
28Identify the criminal activity that occurred (Part 3)Law Enforcement has to consider:What is the crime?Is the crime a qualifying criminal activityunder the U visa?
29Attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of these crimes Categories of qualifying criminal activities listed in the U visa statuteSexual assaultRapeIncestTortureFemale genital mutilationFelonious assaultManslaughterMurderKidnappingAbductionTraffickingInvoluntary servitudeSlave tradeBeing held hostagePeonageFalse ImprisonmentBlackmailExtortionWitness tamperingObstruction of justicePerjuryProstitutionDomestic violencesubstantially similar, state/federal criminal statutes, Overlapping crimesAttempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of these crimesAny similar activity
30LEAVE BLANK x x x x x Ching Calleen J 33406 Sheriff’s Office 08/28/1973xSheriff’s OfficeCaptain MikeSupervisor/D.V.U.Sheriff Ric BradshawLEAVE BLANK3228 Gun Club RoadAtlantaGA33406(561)(561)xxxHx
3112/19/12sec Domestic ViolencexxAtlanta, GAHusband strangled Mrs. Ching during a domestic dispute.As a result of Mrs. Ching being assaulted and strangled she suffered injuries to her neck. (see attached photographs)
32Determine Whether the Victim is Helpful (Part 4) Review Statute and DHS Regulations: has been helpful, is being helpful or is likely to be helpful in theDetection, or Investigation, orProsecution, or Conviction orSentencingThere is no degree of helpfulness requiredLaw enforcement may complete U visa certification once they assess victim’s helpfulnessThe investigation or prosecution can still be ongoing
33Some Examples of Helpfulness Calling 911 to report a crimeProviding a statement to the policeFiling a police reportSeeking a protection orderProviding information to prosecutorsServing as a witness in a prior prosecution or investigation
34Is the helpfulness requirement met if: Victim reports a crime and there’s no further investigationReport is of a past crime; victim did not know or feel safe to reportPerpetrator absconds or is subject to immigration removalThe perpetrator is being prosecuted for a different crimeVictim is not needed as a witnessVictim fully discloses story only after better understanding his or her rights, the U visa and has had access to translated documentsVictim is dead (indirect victim is applying) or perpetrator is deadVictim has a criminal historyVictim is subject to immigration enforcement
35Husband strangled Mrs. Ching during a domestic dispute. 12/19/12sec Domestic ViolencexxAtlanta , GAHusband strangled Mrs. Ching during a domestic dispute.As a result of Mrs. Ching being assaulted and strangled she suffered injuries to her neck. (see attached photographs)xxxx
36Mrs. Ching called 911 for help during a domestic dispute Mrs. Ching called 911 for help during a domestic dispute. Upon arrival she provided information about the incident to the officer on scene and allowed the officer to take photographs of the injury to her neck.
37Law Enforcement Certification is only one form of evidence. Victim of a qualifying criminal activityHas been, is being, or is likely to be helpfulSuffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the victimizationPossesses information about the crimeCrime occurred in the U.S. or violated U.S. lawU Visa Certification: Introduction (Toolkit p.4)U Visa Quick Reference Guide (Toolkit p.12)
39Lara entered the U. S. 7 years ago with a student visa Lara entered the U.S. 7 years ago with a student visa. One night after the visa had expired; she was walking home from waiting tables and was raped by a masked assailant. She never got a good look at the perpetrator. He whispered that he knew where she lived and told her he would tell her family back home the “filthy things” she had done if she told anyone. Four months later, Lara realized she was pregnant. When she began to miss late shifts at work and was disciplined by her boss, she finally shared with him what had happened to her. Her boss encouraged her to contact the police, and helped her call the police. Lara told the police everything she knew, but said she would not testify in court because she feared retaliation.
41Amelia and Carl were living in poverty in their home country Amelia and Carl were living in poverty in their home country. Together they saved, borrowed and planned to pay a “coyote” $3,000 to bring each of them into the U.S. Once they arrived in the U.S., the “coyote” demanded an additional $3,000 to release and transport them to family members living in Louisiana. After the “coyote” had held Amelia and Carl in an abandoned house for 5 days, without food or water, their family was able to send the additional money. The coyote agreed to drive Amelia and Carl to their family. The coyote had been drinking heavily before the drive, and just before they reached their destination, the coyote’s van crashed into oncoming traffic. Amelia was sitting in the passenger seat and died instantly. The passengers in the other car had minor injuries. Police arrived on the scene, and took both Carl and the “coyote” into custody. Carl told the police many details of the coyotes’ illegal business enterprises.
43Joe and Alex are day laborers Joe and Alex are day laborers. They had both arrived in the United States on tourist visas, but seeing the opportunity for steady work, they decided to remain. For the past 4 years, they have been doing a number of construction jobs in cities throughout the southwest, and Joe has started a family. One payday they were robbed by three gang members who think of immigrants like Joe and Alex as “walking ATMs” because they don’t have bank accounts and carry a lot of cash. In addition to losing their wages, the two men were beaten. After their friends encouraged them, Joe and Alex reported the incident to local police. Joe and Alex were able to describe their assailants and a few days later, the police apprehended three people who matched the descriptions. Joe and Alex refuse to press charges, however, because the robbery happened in their neighborhood and they feared retaliation.Law enforcement can complete a U-visa certification even if the victim later found it too difficult to continue cooperating.To prevent further harm to victims, an exception to the ongoing cooperation requirement exists when victims can demonstrate that their inability or refusal to cooperate is not unreasonable.In some cases it may be unsafe for a victim to fully cooperate with law enforcement. Such situations include trauma or threats of retaliation.
44Family Members Implicated in the Criminal Activity (Part 5)
45Mrs. Ching called 911 for help during a domestic dispute Mrs. Ching called 911 for help during a domestic dispute. Upon arrival she provided information about the incident to the officer on scene and allowed the officer to take photographs of the injury to her neck.XAlphonso Ching Husband Defendant
46Who can sign a U visa Certification? (Part 6) Any entity that investigates or prosecutes criminal activity may sign a certification:JudgesState, Federal, Local LE Agencies and Prosecutors (Supervisor)Child or Adult Protective ServicesFederal agencies (EEOC, DHS, ATF, FBI)State or Federal Departments of LaborOther agencies that meet guidelines**frequent question I get is WHO can sign the certification. Should we add this slide?
47Mrs. Ching called 911 for help during a domestic dispute Mrs. Ching called 911 for help during a domestic dispute. Upon arrival she provided information about the incident to the officer on scene and allowed the officer to take photographs of the injury to her neck.XAlphonso Ching Husband DefendantCaptain MikeMarch 4, 2013
48Identifying and Addressing Difficult Issues for Law Enforcement So we’ve gone over the key elements on the certification form, let’s talk about the issues that are beyond the certification form.
49Common Concerns of Law Enforcement Does not want to confer citizenship on victimCertifications are going to create an administrative backlogBelief that undocumented immigration status is a criminal federal offenseIt’s the responsibility of Homeland Security, not of the local policeVictim is uncooperative or no longer helpfulVictim has a criminal historyCrime occurred a long time ago or the case is closedPerpetrator cannot be found, identified, or is dead
50Some ways to efficiently address common concerns Work with your agency to craft a U visa policy that addresses the concerns and creates a processKeep in mind that the application process is extensive, the certification is just one piece of evidence that the victim must provideTake note of where your certifications are coming from, create partnerships that are mutually beneficialContact DHS or us– we are free resources for you
51Developing Agency U visa Protocols So we’ve gone over the key elements on the certification form, let’s talk about the issues that are beyond the certification form.
52Group Exercise What should an agency’s U visa certification protocol include? Read City of X, Law Enforcement Certification Protocol(Right Hand Pocket of Trainee Folder)Identify any problems with the protocolNote provision numbersHow could the protocol be improved?What is missing?
53Group DiscussionWhen you consider drafting policy, what concerns would these people have?Your Chief/SheriffYour District AttorneyOther OfficersOther ProsecutorsSupervisors
54Community Partnerships Identify community outreach tools to improve your agency’s protection of, and help for, undocumented immigrant victims.
55Group DiscussionHow would you build meaningful relationships with immigrant victims and immigrant communities using the U visa policy?How would you share information about this policy with other law enforcement colleagues?How would your agency help other law enforcement agencies that do not yet have a U visa practice, policy, or protocol?
56Resources Technical Assistance Call orMaterials on U visa and Immigrant Victims Legal RightsVisitDepartment of Homeland Security SourcesContact Scott Whelan atContact Thomas Pearl atUSCIS U visa Fact Sheet “Questions & Answers: Victims of Criminal Activity, U Nonimmigrant Status” at