Tell Congress to Raise the U Visa Cap
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U-visas are nonimmigrant visas for people who have “suffered substantial physical or mental abuse” from being the “victim of a qualifying criminal activity.” Applicants must have information about the crime and cooperate with law enforcement. United States and Immigration Services (USCIS) is limited by statute to issue no more than 10,000 U-visas starting at the beginning of each fiscal year (October). USCIS has reached the visa cap each year since it first started issuing U-visas in 2008. It’s time to raise that cap!
Currently, those found eligible for a U-visa are granted deferred action status and are permitted to apply for a work permit. However, their time in deferred action status does not count toward the three years of physical presence they must earn before applying for legal permanent residency.
Raising the statutory minimum on U-visas has been part of the immigration reform debate. But, we don’t need to wait until Congress addresses immigration reform to start advocating for an increase in the number available U-visas.
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