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U Visa Approved for Immigrant Victim of Felony Assault and Robbery

April 12th, 2011 1 comment
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An U visa client of ours just received an approval for his U visa.  In 2006, he was working at a gas station when two men tried to steal gas and drive away. He ran out of the shop and yelled at the men to stop. The driver stopped the truck and the passenger got out and ran at my client. The assailant was holding a beer can and began striking my client in the face repeatedly until he was unconscious.

When my client awoke, a police officer and paramedic was helping him. He had terrible pain in his leg and realized that his leg had been broken. The assailants had beaten him unconscious, then ran over his leg and broke it as they were driving away. He tried to help the police as much as possible by providing a description. He spent several days in the hospital. The two men were later captured and pled guilty to aggravated robbery. My client was never asked to testify.

In 2010, my client approached me asking about a U visa. I explained that he was eligible for the U visa, but it might be difficult to get the law enforcement agency to sign the necessary forms, because the crime occurred so long ago, and the prosecution was finalized. After months of trying to work with the detective, we finally got all the necessary forms signed. After waiting 9 months, we received the approval notice.

Now my client can bring his wife and daughter to the United States from India. He is very excited to be reunited with his family after being apart for so many years. He can work legally in the United States and his wife and child can live here and attend school.

The U visa was created for alien victims of serious crimes to encourage the victims to report the offenses to law enforcement and to cooperate with prosecution. U visa applicants must be able to show that they have been the victim of a specified crime including Abduction, Incest, Rape, Abusive Sexual Contact, Involuntary Servitude, Sexual Assault, Blackmail, Kidnapping, Sexual Exploitation, Domestic Violence, Manslaughter, Slave Trade, Extortion, Murder, Torture, False Imprisonment, Obstruction of Justice, Trafficking, Felonious Assault, Peonage, Unlawful Criminal Restraint, Female Genital Mutilation, Perjury, Witness Tampering, Hostage, Prostitution, and Attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the above crimes.

The U visa applicant must prove that s/he has suffered substantial physical or emotional harm due to the crime. The applicant must prove that s/he has useful information to help prosecute the crime and that the applicant has been helpful or will be helpful and cooperative with law enforcement officials. Additionally, the crime must have occurred in the United States or it must violate the laws of the United States.

One of the most important aspects of the U visa process is getting an authorized law enforcement agent to certify the U visa application. This process can be difficult at times because many law enforcement agencies are still unfamiliar with the U visa, and many are reluctant to get involved in what could be viewed as helping an illegal immigrant (especially in today’s political climate).

The Nunez Firm has handled many U visa applications, and we can assist you with your case. If you are considering the U visa process but are not sure if it applies to you, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you during a confidential consultation to discuss your options.

10,000 U Visa Cap Limit Exhausted for the First Time In Program’s History.

July 21st, 2010 No comments
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The government has issued all 10,000 visas available this year for immigrant crime victims who help authorities investigate and prosecute perpetrators. This marks the first time the government has hit the statutory “U” visa limit since the program became active.

The visas were created as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. They are given to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human smuggling and other crimes in exchange for cooperation with law enforcement.

Ali Mayorkas, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, said that an increased focus on U visa processing, as well as increased outreach and resources to crime victims groups and law enforcement, have contributed to increased applications.

Another 10,000 visas will be available in October, when the 2011 fiscal year begins. Until then, the federal government can grant interim legal status to non-citizens whose applications are approved for the visas so they can work.

Most visas are given to people not allowed to be in the country, but some are given to people with some sort of permission to be in the U.S.

The milestone highlights challenges law enforcement officers face in investigating and prosecuting crimes involving mostly illegal immigrants. Many are too afraid of deportation to report crimes. Critics of a new Arizona immigration law fear the law may affect immigrants’ willingness to assist law enforcement.

The use of all 10,000 visas indicates the visa’s efficacy to law enforcement, said Gail Pendleton, co-director for ASISTA, a group that advises the Justice Department’s Office of Violence Against Women.

The next step is for Congress to eliminate the 10,000 limit.

Phoenix Suns Will Wear “Los Suns” Jerseys to Protest New Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law

May 5th, 2010 No comments
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The Phoenix Suns will wear “Los Suns” jerseys Wednesday for Game 2 of their second-round match-up with the Spurs in protest of Arizona’s new immigration law. The Suns called the new law “flawed.”

“Our players and organization felt that wearing our ‘Los Suns’ jerseys on Cinco de Mayo was a way for our team and our organization to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the State of Arizona, and our nation,” said managing partner Robert Sarver.

Arizona’s new SB 1070 law requires Arizona police officers to use “reasonable suspicion” to question and detain possible undocumented aliens. The law has been labeled as racist and opened the door to charges of racial profiling from critics.

Hate Crime Conviction for Anti-Immigrant Killer of Ecuadorian Man

April 20th, 2010 No comments
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Jurors on Monday convicted a Long Island man, Jeffrey Conroy, of manslaughter as a hate crime in the death of an immigrant from Ecuador. Conroy was also found guilty of gang assault and conspiracy as well as of assaulting three other Latino men on Long Island.
Jeffrey Conroy was on trial for the death of Marcelo Lucero, a 37-year-old native of Ecuador who was fatally stabbed in the chest on November 8, 2008, in Patchogue, New York.
Prosecutors say Conroy and six friends in 2008 targeted Latino immigrants for assaults — part of a sport they called “beaner-hopping.”
Family members of the immigrant victim expressed gratitude to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota for his efforts.
A recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that Latino immigrants in Suffolk County, which occupies about two-thirds of Long Island, have lived in an environment of intolerance and violence directed at them. The atmosphere of intolerance was stoked in part by anti-immigrant groups and some county leaders, along with an indifferent police department, according to the report.

Low-level harassment of Latino immigrants in the U.S. is common, but the law must protect everyone no matter who they are, where they came from, what language they speak, and no matter what their immigration status may be.

If you have been the victim of a serious crime, you may be eligible for a U visa. The Nunez Firm has helped many clients obtain U visas, which allow them to stay in the United States and work legally. Contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will discuss your case with you and explain the options available to you in a private and confidential setting.

New Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law Dubbed as Racist and Unconstitutional by Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon

April 15th, 2010 No comments
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Yesterday, that state’s House of Representatives passed what’s being called the most anti-immigrant bill in the country making it illegal for undocumented immigrants to live or work in the state, or for employers to hire them. The bill, entitled the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” states that during any “lawful contact” with law enforcement, an officer shall attempt to determine the immigration status of any person they reasonably suspect to be in the U.S. illegally. The person may prove their citizenship by producing a driver’s license, tribal license, or federal ID card. The bill’s author, state Sen. Russell Pearce, said the law simply “takes the handcuffs off of law enforcement and lets them do their job.”

Police were divided on the matter, with police unions backing it but the state police chief’s association saying it could erode trust with immigrants. It requires law enforcement officers who have a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is an illegal immigrant to determine that person’s immigration status “when practicable.”
A provision in the bill states that race or ethnicity cannot be the sole grounds for asking about immigration status, but civil rights groups say authorities are not barred from using them along with other factors that raise suspicions.

The bill also puts the kibosh on any sanctuary city policies, stating any legal resident or citizen of the U.S.  can sue any entity in the state with a policy that impedes the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Immigrant rights groups said Arizona had been transformed into a police state.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon told SF Weekly that he believes the bill is racist and will be struck down in the courts for being unconstitutional. Basically, he says, it’s reversing the burden of proof to make a person have to prove he or she isn’t an illegal immigrant.

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