The Busy Mas-Migration Beavers Gnaw Away at U Visa Restrictions

By David North on May 27, 2014

As we noted a few weeks ago, one in six new green cards goes to someone who is a victim of some kind.

These are not people being admitted because we think that they will help the U.S. (which some of them, in fact, will do); they are being admitted because we feel sorry for them.

Now there is a need for some of this, of course, but we now learn that the highly creative, busy beavers within the middle levels of this administration have found a new way to make it easier for still more victims to enter the United States (or more likely to switch from illegal to legal status while in the United States).

This time the administrative indiscretion is being applied to U nonimmigrant visas; these are given to crime victims who cooperate with the police in the prosecution of the criminals — who are usually, like the victims, illegal aliens.

The U visas can also be given (and here chain migration really starts to work) to the victims'

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Unmarried siblings under age 18, if the victim is under 21, and
  • The spouses and children, if the victim is 21 or older.

And once members of these family categories get their green cards then they can start filing papers for their spouses, and their children, and their parents, etc. The U visa is a temporary one but it can fairly easily be turned into a green card.

But to get this whole chain started it is necessary for the original victim to be admitted in the first place, and for that to happen a law enforcement authority has to sign a document saying that she (it is usually a woman) is really a victim, and a cooperating one, in the eyes of the law. That's the current situation. And despite apparently some individual disputes as to who is a victim and who is not, the annual ceiling of 10,000 U visas (for victims only, relatives aren't counted) is reached every year.

So how can we bring in more victims without changing the law? The administration so far has been paying attention to the numerical ceiling but if more victims are certified, that will create "shortages" of admission slots and that can be used to press Congress to lift the ceilings — but how can we get more certifications of victimhood?

The proposed mechanism is all too typical of how DHS works, and is frankly both simple and ingenious — let's expand the definition of the officials who can sign the paper that makes the victim eligible for U visa immigration benefits. It is prosecutorial indiscretion all over again.

That's what the busy beavers of the immigration system are proposing, or, to put it in their language:

USCIS is seeking feedback on a possible modification to the U visa regulations, which would give police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, and other certifying agency heads the ability to designate other individuals as certifiers. Examples of such individuals would include: supervisors, subject matter experts, or other officials that the head of the agency deems to have significant training and experience on cases involving violence against women and special victims.

The agency is having a teleconference to push this idea on June 4; if you want to participate — which means lots of listening before any chance to say anything — see this link and inquire about the June 4 session.

This whole process is managed under the Violence Against Women Act, and that legislative title gives you an idea of how difficult it is to bring sensible limitations to this program.