U Visa Applicants Face Large Backlog

U-1 nonimmigrant status, commonly known as a U visa, is available through a program that Congress created in conjunction with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act. This status is reserved for the victims of mental or physical abuse and who are cooperative with law enforcement authorities in order to investigate and prosecute criminal activity. The purpose of the U visa is to both strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking of immigrants, as well as protect the immigrant victims of those crimes. The law puts a “cap” or a limit on the number of U-visas that can be approved in any year: that limit is 10,000. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued 10,000 U visas for fiscal year 2015,, as it has done every year since the U-visa became available in 2008. For those immigrants who are eligible for the U visa but cannot receive one due to the statutory limit, USCIS notifies them that they have been placed on a waiting list. However, the number of U visa applications pending at the beginning of the 2016 fiscal year was already in excess of 10,000. This means that the 10,000 available visas were already effectively claimed only one day into the new fiscal year, which makes it another entire year before more U visas become available for eligible immigrants. Even more concerning is the fact that USCIS received over 8,000 U visa applications during the first quarter of fiscal year 2016. If these numbers continue, USCIS is on pace to receive more than 33,000 U visa applications this year. At present, there is no solution in existence to remedy the backlog that has been steadily growing since 2012, short of Congress enacting legislation that increases the number of eligible U visas. Here at Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we know U-visas! We know federal immigration law and we have the experience to guide you and advocate on your behalf throughout any type of deportation proceeding, no matter what the allegations may be. We are familiar with the wide range of defenses that are available to individuals facing deportation, and how to build the strongest defense that is available to you, based on the evidence relevant to your case. Contact your California deportation defense lawyers today, and discover what we can do for you.

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