It is no secret that many immigrants fail to report crimes due to fears of being deported. It is sad that anyone should feel they have to remain in horrific circumstances just to stay in the country. Lawmakers in California, in an attempt to help these victims, have passed a bill making it possible for these individuals to obtain a certain type of visa that will serve as a deportation defense.

Bill SB674 was passed by the state Senate recently. The purpose behind this bill was a simple one — to help immigrant victims of crime. With the passing of this bill, individuals in such circumstances will be able to apply for the U-Visa, also known as the Victim of Crime Visa.

Obtaining this visa is not necessarily a quick or easy process, however. Immigrants who are victims of crime will have to report the activities — such as rapes, sexual assaults and human trafficking — to their local police. After the report is filed, law enforcement officers will have to sign a certain certificate which must be obtained before the application for a U-Visa can be completed.

Surely, many are wondering when this option will be available. Unfortunately, a start date for this new practice has not been reported. In the meantime, California immigrants who are victims of crime need to know that they can seek help. Other legal options may be available to help such a victim escape his or her current circumstances by offering a deportation defense and getting him or her on the road to obtaining the documents needed to remain in the country.

Source: santacruzsentinel.com, “California bill aims to protect immigrant crime victims“, June 1, 2015