According to reporting from Spectrum 1 News, the U visa backlog now stands at more than 250,000. The U visa—which provides much needed immigration protections to victims of crime who have cooperated with police and prosecutors—is currently capped at just 10,000 per year. Unfortunately, many people who would otherwise be eligible to obtain a U visa in Los Angeles are stuck waiting in line.
U Visas Protect Victims of Crime
In its reporting, Spectrum 1 News tells the story of an unidentified woman who is referred to only as ‘RMG’. Born in Mexico and currently living undocumented in the state of California, she is seeking immigration protection by applying for a U visa.
Unfortunately, her heartbreaking story is like many others—she lived with an abusive partner who threatened to report her immigration status and get her deported from the country if she ever went to the police. For years, she endured horrific abuse. After he threatened to murder her kids, she relented and went to law enforcement, despite the concerns about her immigration status.
This is the exact type of case that the U visa was created to address. When victims of serious crimes report an offense and work with law enforcement, they may be entitled to protection from deportation. The U visa, which is initially valid for a period of four years, grants a person legal authority to live and work in the United States. Further, when certain criteria are met, a U visa can eventually result in a green card being issued.
Many Vulnerable, Qualified Applicants are Struggling to Get Protection
RMG is now running into the same problem that many other vulnerable immigrants have been forced to deal with. Congress set an annual cap on U visas at just 10,000. Now exceeding 250,000, the U visa backlog has been growing consistently in recent years. Further, it can take a considerable amount of time for an applicant to get any information on their case from the U.S. government.
As an example, RMG reportedly filed her U visa package back in late 2015. After more than three years of waiting, she has still yet to hear any word from the U.S. government. Beyond the stress and frustration that inherently comes with such uncertainty, these delays create practical problems—when an application is still pending, an immigrant is prevented from working. As RMG told reporters, “I am a single mother. To get my kids ahead, I need my work permit.”
Call Our Los Angeles, CA U Visa Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, PC, our Los Angeles immigration attorneys have the skills and experience to handle the full range of U visa cases. To get a completely confidential consultation, please call us right away at (213) 262-2000. We represent immigrants in Los Angeles and throughout the surrounding region, including in Inglewood, East Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Downey, Long Beach, Burbank, and Pasadena.