US expanding work permits, deportation relief for crime victims
New U.S. immigration policy will expand work permits for migrants and offer deportation relief to some immigrants who become the victims of crimes while they wait for their visa cases to be reviewed.
In a statement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated that the updated policies would provide victims of crimes in the U.S. with quicker access to employment authorization in order to give them “stability” and to allow them to cooperate with law enforcement investigations.
Specifically, the employment authorization will be provided to immigrants with pending “bona fide” U visa petitions. U visas are set aside for immigrants who are victims of “mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials” in their investigations and prosecutions of crimes.
A petitioner will be considered bona fide if they have properly filed Form I-918 from USCIS, have filed a statement describing the facts of their “victimization” and submit their biometric data.
“Today we are taking steps to help victims of crime and promote public safety,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
“These are individuals who have come forward to help law enforcement keep us all safe, but who are in need of a measure of protection for themselves as well,” Mayorkas added. “The Bona Fide Determination process is consistent with the Department’s statutory authorities and will ensure these individuals receive the support they need.”
The new guidance will go into effect immediately and will apply to all petitioners who filed Form I-918 and Form I-918A petitions on or after June 14.
“This reform is one of a number of initiatives designed to eliminate complex, costly, and unjustified administrative burdens and barriers, and thus to improve our immigration processes,” the statement from USCIS read.