According to the New York Times, “President Trump’s hard-line campaign to limit immigration has undercut his own tough-on-crime agenda.” How so? There are backlogs in the U Visa program.
The Times describes the U Visa as offering, “undocumented immigrants temporary legal residency and a path to American citizenship if they cooperate with law enforcement officials after being a victim or a witness to violent crimes, among them domestic violence and sexual assaults.”
That depiction implies that becoming the victim of a crime immediately qualifies an illegal alien for U.S. citizenship. But that’s not even close to accurate. In reality, U nonimmigrant status is available to:
- Any alien – lawfully present or illegal – who is admissible to the United States.
- Who as suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
- Who provides information to law enforcement that is helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity (i.e., not someone who merely cooperates with law enforcement but one who actually assists police or prosecutors).
- And who has been certified by the investigating or prosecuting authority as a productive, cooperating witness.
What the Times also fails to mention is that the U visa program has been rife with fraud, since its inception in 2000. Poorly defined standards for granting U visas and careless adjudication by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created a situation in which status-seeking aliens can accuse someone of a crime in order to manufacture eligibility for the U program.
There is a statutory cap of 10,000 visas for the U program. Nevertheless, asFox News noted in a 2016 article on U visa fraud, applications for the program increased from 24,768 in 2012 to 52,666 in 2015. They have continued to increase each year. Yet, there is no evidence that immigrants are increasingly becoming the victims of crime. The logical conclusion is that the word is out in the immigrant community and a U visa application is now seen as a work-around for ineligibility for other immigration programs or unlawful presence in the U.S.
In thepiece referenced above, Fox quotes a former Colorado prosecutor who acknowledged that, “anyone who enters the country illegally and can produce a restraining order or affidavit, even with no hard evidence of abuse [thereby qualifying for U status], is likely to be approved for a work permit and permanent residency.” And the Center for Immigration Studies has recounted the story of an Indiana man who admitted to filing more than 250 fraudulent U applications, on behalf of immigrants, between 2013 and 2017. These are only two of many documented cases of U visa fraud.
However, the Times produces no evidence that what it characterizes as an attempt by the Trump administration to “limit” U Visas has had any significant effect on local law enforcement efforts to prosecute crimes. Instead, it furnishes a lot of whining from both illegal aliens and low-level police officials in sanctuary jurisdictions that U visa applications are taking too long.
So, might it be the case that any delays in adjudication represent USCIS attempts to ensure more careful adjudication of U applications, rather than an attempt to punish immigrants? That appears to be the case, the Times even quotes a USCIS spokesman who says that “heightened vetting” of U visa applicants “aims to ensure that the integrity of the U visa program remains strong so that it continues to be a valuable tool for law enforcement and provides meaningful protection to victims.’”
Of course, that wouldn’t line up with the Times’ preferred anti-Trump, open-borders narrative. And an accurate recitation of the facts takes a backseat to fake news that supports ideology approved by the Grey Lady and her mainstream media cohorts.