WASHINGTON – According to a summary read by Reuters, a new US immigration policy expected to be published on Monday will increase access to work permits and deportation relief for some immigrants who are crime victims while their visa petitions are ongoing.
According to the summary, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will develop a method that might allow tens of thousands of U visa applicants to acquire work permits if their assertions are considered to be made in good faith and without the intent to cheat the immigration system.
Democratic President Joe Biden has promised to make the United States’ immigration system more humanitarian and has overturned several of Republican former President Donald Trump’s restrictive measures. Immigration officials in the United States have made it easier to deport U visa applicants under Trump’s administration, attracting criticism from immigrant rights organizations.
Every year, the United States issues 10,000 U visas to immigrants who have been victims of certain crimes and who assist law enforcement investigations or prosecutions. According to the USCIS, the visas allow access to a work permit and the possibility to apply for permanent residency after three years, but due to high demand, applicants must presently wait at least five years to acquire work permits.
Applicants must be victims of domestic abuse, human trafficking, or other serious crimes to be eligible for a visa.
It’s unknown how many U visa applicants will be eligible for work permits under the new approach.
According to USCIS statistics from December, the government is presently reviewing approximately 269,000 U visa applicants. However, a USCIS official told Reuters that not all of the applicants are in the country.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement that the action will benefit victims while also promoting public safety.