Barriers and Successes in U Visas for Immigrant Victims: The Experiences of Legal Assistance for Victims Grantees
- Corresponding Author:
- Giselle Hass, PsyD
Center for Applied Legal Studies
Georgetown University Law Center, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: February 12, 2014; Accepted date: July 16, 2014; Published date: July 23, 2014
Citation: Hass G, Yang E, Monahan K, Orloff L, Anver B (2014) Barriers and Successes in U Visas for Immigrant Victims:The Experiences of Legal Assistance for Victims Grantees. Arts Social Sci J S1:005. doi:10.4172/2151-6200.S1-005
Copyright: © 2014 Hass G, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
This paper examines barriers encountered and successes experienced in the provision of legal representation and advocacy to victims of violence applying for legal immigration status under the Violence against Women Act’s U visa protections. The U visa is designed for immigrant victims who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of criminal activity, and who have helped, are helping or are likely to be helpful to government officials in the detection, investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. This article is based on quantitative and qualitative data reported by grantees of the Legal Assistance for Victims grant program administered by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. Legal Assistant for Victims program grantees provide legal aid to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking and report semi-annually on services provided. The sample consists of grantees during the years 2007-2008 who reported serving high proportions of immigrant and limited English proficient victims of violence. The paper will focus on problems, successes, and creative solutions reported by attorneys and advocates working with immigrant victims eligible to receive crime victim U visas under federal immigration laws. Victims applying for U visa immigration relief must, under current law, submit a U visa certification signed by the head of a law enforcement agency, prosecutor, judge, or other government official with their U visa application. This research provides information regarding effective strategies and best practices used by grantees that are successful in obtaining U visa certification. The systemic barriers that immigrant victims and their advocates encounter when working with U visa are also discussed, along with creative solutions grantees are using to overcome these barriers.