Many individuals in Michigan like you probably came to the United States from other countries in hopes of finding a better life. While this may have happened for some, it is also possible that you and others ended up facing difficulties that you could not have imagined. In fact, you may have ended up as the victim of a crime.
If this happened to you, you may have hoped that helping the police apprehend and prosecute the person who committed the crime would allow you to qualify for a U visa. This type of visa is specifically for victims of crimes who assist authorities during the investigation and other parts of the criminal justice process. However, even after qualifying, obtaining this visa is not easy.
The purpose of a U visa
From a law enforcement standpoint, the purpose of the U visa is to allow undocumented immigrants to feel less afraid of coming forward about crimes committed against them. Rather than worrying that they will expose themselves as undocumented, assisting police could actually provide them with a steppingstone to obtaining a visa. They would also help police do their job by providing useful information about the crime and the perpetrator to hopefully prevent such crime by the same person in the future.
To obtain the U visa, you or another immigrant would need to receive a certificate indicating that you did cooperate and assist in the investigation of a crime. Unfortunately, it is possible that, even after helping, law enforcement officers or agencies may not sign the necessary documentation for an individual to prove that he or she helped during the investigation. In fact, only 35% of law enforcement agencies across the country indicated that they sign the certifications needed for U visas, and there is no federal law requiring that signature.
What can you do?
If you believe that you should qualify for a U visa because someone committed a crime against you and you assisted police, you may understandably feel distraught if you cannot obtain the necessary signatures and paperwork to obtain that visa. If this is the case, you may want to gain more information on your available legal options. Even as an undocumented immigrant, you still have rights, and if obtaining a U visa could help you on your way to permanent residency, exhausting your options may be worthwhile.