More Illegal Aliens Shun Deportation with “Victim Visa”
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The Obama administration is quietly allowing a growing number of illegal immigrants to remain in the country with a special visa granted to crime victims and, not surprisingly, the program is being exploited by criminals.
It’s officially known as the U nonimmigrant visa and Congress created it in 2000 to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate and prosecute the criminal activity. In fact, Congress created the special visa in conjunction with two measures, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act.
This is why the “qualifying criminal activities” to obtain the visa include crimes such as abduction, incest, rape, involuntary servitude, female genital mutilation, torture, slave trade, sexual exploitation and stalking. There appears to be a loophole, however, (a category called “other related crimes”) and the U.S. government is letting more and more illegal immigrants use it to stay in the country and violate the spirit of the law in the process.
Illegal aliens and their attorneys have taken note and the number of victim visa applications has more than doubled in the last two years, according to a newspaper report that cites U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) figures. For example, in 2010 USCIS received 10,742 victim visa applications and by 2012 it got an astounding 24,768. The agency insists it won’t grant more than 10,000 victim visas annually, but the point remains that they’re being awarded more frequently and illegal aliens have taken note.
For instance, an illegal alien who was struck by a pickup truck in 2007 heard about the victim visa from a friend years later and got an attorney to apply for it. The 20-year-old Mexican national, Maritza Torres, lived in Washington State and suffered life-threatening injuries. “It wasn’t until two years after the ordeal that Torres, who was in the country illegally, discovered that the near-fatal crash could be her ticket to U.S. citizenship,” the news article says.
Torres had “worked off the books” as a receptionist, but was still granted the special visa because the feds determined that she was the victim of felonious assault and she cooperated with authorities. The man who struck her was high on drugs and eventually got convicted and sent to jail. The lawyer representing Torres points out that “the purpose of the U-Visa is to empower people to come forward.” The immigration attorney confirms that “word has spread” that the victim visa is “an option.”
Not surprisingly, criminals are also applying and, though some may get caught, others are likely slipping through. The article mentions the case of an illegal immigrant named Jose Adrian Vera Lopez who was shot in the leg when he was 12. The case went cold, the story says, until earlier this year when “Lopez realized the injury could provide him a path to citizenship through a victim visa.” He applied despite building up quite a criminal record that includes a federal drug conviction and various deportations.
Besides its widely reported backdoor amnesty, the Obama administration is finding creative ways to help illegal immigrants dodge removal. A few months ago Judicial Watch reported that the feds are quietly granting thousands of illegal immigrants “asylum” when they claim to have a “credible fear” of returning to their native country. As a result the number of credible fear claims by illegal aliens has skyrocketed, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) figures.