Lost in the DACA week busy-ness and euphoria was the depressing news that the supply of U visas was dwarfed by the demand for this essential visa. For third straight year, US Citizenship & Immigration Service has announced that it has reached the 10,000 cap on U visas, with more than a month left in the fiscal year. The U visa is available to a victim of a serious crime who has provided substantial support to the investigation or prosecution of that crime. Law enforcement agencies have credited the U visa with providing confidence to undocumented victims of crimes to come forward and report crimes. This has been especially true of women who are the victims of domestic violence. The U visa and the stability and support it provides have allowed thousands of women to leave abusive relationships. In May 2012, the Senate passed a re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. In the re-authorization, the cap on U visas would have been raised to 15,000. However, the House of Representatives passed a separate bill, omitting the increase in visas, eliminating the opportunity of U visa holders to apply for residence, and weakening the confidentiality provisions of the visa. These two bills need to be reconciled now and Congress should come down squarely on the side of the victims of domestic violence and not their abusers.
Attached is a report by the Immigration Committee of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence describing the current legislative posture and the issues at stake.