PRESS RELEASE: U Visas Help Local Law Enforcement
January 12, 2022
Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force News & Resources
U Visas Help Local Law Enforcement
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Local law enforcement leaders are underscoring the importance of U visas to community safety, as well as trust among immigrant residents.
A report this week from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General raises concerns with the U visa program. Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force leaders believe these concerns should be addressed in a way that preserves and strengthens the U visa program, which provides temporary legal status to immigrant crime victims in order to encourage their cooperation with law enforcement investigations and prosecutions.
“The U Visa program has been vital in building trust with our immigrant community members,” said Fresno County, California, Sheriff Margaret Mims, co-chair of the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force. “It helps break down barriers for victims to report crimes and hold accountable those responsible. In Fresno County hundreds of immigrants have worked with us to do just that, and they have legal protection as a result of then being granted U Visa status. We at the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force stand ready to assist in strengthening the program and fixing issues that exist.”
“We have found U visas to be an essential tool in building trust with our immigrant communities and offering protection for those who are victims of crime,” said Orange County, Florida, Sheriff John Mina. “We work very hard to ensure that U visas are used appropriately, and our experience has shown them to be effective for law enforcement and a relief to some of our most vulnerable residents.”
“We need a strong U visa program to help us build trust with immigrant communities and make our communities safer,” said Pharr, Texas, Chief of Police Andy Harvey. “I’m concerned about the findings in today’s report, in part because they do not reflect my experience with U visas. Let’s strengthen law enforcement by ensuring that U visas are being used properly.”