In Some Texas Cities, Immigrants Who’ve Experienced Crime Find It Hard To Qualify For U Visas

The visa is meant to encourage immigrants to alert law enforcement about crime. But some police departments are impeding the process.

By Terri LangfordNovember 18, 2019 6:53 am

Nearly 20 years ago, the U.S. government created the U visa, which was meant to remove immigrants from dangerous situations here in the U.S. To qualify, an immigrant must have been the victim of a violent crime and have helped in a police investigation. To apply, immigrants first have to obtain “certification” through a local police department. But a new report by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that police leaders in states including Texas appear to be blocking these certifications.

Laura Morel reported on this for the radio program, “Reveal,” a project from the Center for Investigative Reporting. She says the process of obtaining a U visa is different all over the country, which shouldn’t be the case.

“There are some areas where police departments have standardized written policies,” Morel says. “And then there are other places that don’t have that, and it’s a very unofficial process.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Why the number of U visa certifications has dropped in recent years

– Why some police departments deny or delay certifications

– How the certification does not guarantee an immigrant a U visa


Written by Caroline Covington.