A bill introduced in California to help U Visa applicants gets one step closer to becoming law. The U is a visa for victims of certain crimes who help in the prosecution of those crimes. The first step in being awarded a U Visa is getting law enforcement to certify that the applicant was a victim and was helpful in the prosecution of the crime. Problems arise, however, in that law enforcement is not mandated to sign the certification form and has no time frame requirements for doing so. Various district attorneys, police departments, and judicial officials all have their own ever-changing policies for U Visas — meaning that a U Visa case in one county can have a drastically different outlook than a U Visa case in the neighboring county.
To remedy this problem, California became the first state in the nation to take steps to implement a time limit of 90 days for the U Visa to be certified by law enforcement. This time frame shrinks even further to 14 days for victims who are in removal proceedings. This specific bill, part of a package of bills titled “Immigrants Shape California,” next moves to the California Senate Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks.