Immigration authorities say the number of applications for special visas for crime victims and trafficking victims to stay in the country have increased with the outreach by federal officials’ to local law enforcement.
U.S. law provides several protections for legal and undocumented immigrants who have been victims of a crime.
Special Visas for Crime Victims Provide Legal Protection
Often victims are unaware of such protections, thus frontline workers serve as a critical link for immigrant victims. There are specific protections for victims of domestic violence, victims of certain crimes, and victims of human trafficking.
Community advocates in Florida and across the U.S. are concerned that law enforcement officials are consistently providing paperwork required for victims to apply for crime visas.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials say more than 13,000 crime victims have applied for the visas so far in 2011, a 28 percent increase from 2010. Among trafficking victims there is a 51 percent increase.
Florida Trafficking Victims
Florida crime and trafficking victims should be informed of the ability to receive visas from local law enforcement officials who have been trained in cities across the country to do do.
Community advocates have found that sometimes law enforcement officials have not always provided paperwork required for victims to apply for crime visas.