On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, the California Senate Public Safety Committee advanced a bill that will help undocumented immigrants in California, who are violent crime victims, apply for special U visa status to allow them to stay in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants U Visa status to undocumented immigrants who are the victims of a crime that occurred in the U.S. and who assist law enforcement in the prosecution of the crime. The U visa allows the recipient to remain in the U.S. to live and work, but in order to apply, the victim must first have the law enforcement agency certify his or her cooperativeness.
The U visa bill would require that California law enforcement agencies verify the victim’s cooperation within 90 days of the applicant requesting certification, unless the agency can demonstrate that the victim was uncooperative. If the victim is in removal/deportation proceedings, the time frame for certification from law enforcement shrinks to that of just 14 days.
The bill is expected to be voted on in the next few weeks. If passed, California would be the first state to mandate that law enforcement agencies sign a U visa certification in a particular timeframe.