Immigrants applying for a special visa awarded to victims of crime on U.S. soil are being detained and deported by President Donald Trump’s administration.
Under past presidents, people who were here illegally but qualified for so-called “U visas” were typically allowed to wait stateside until their petitions were approved. But now ramped-up immigration enforcement means some of them are getting swept up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement before they have a chance to legalize.
Congress established the U visa program in 2000 to encourage immigrants to report crimes to law enforcement. The visas are given to victims of crimes such as sexual assault, domestic violence and obstruction of justice.
Advocates say recent deportations undermine the protection’s spirit.