SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, D-Cicero, is pushing for legislation that would put guidelines in place to ensure victims of domestic violence and other crimes like human trafficking have fair and equal access to Nonimmigrant U and T visas.
“Donald Trump’s hateful agenda has devastated immigrants communities like the ones I represent,” Hernandez said. “It’s become clear that contrary to what they say in public, Bruce Rauner and his Republican allies in Washington have no interest in keeping families together. That is why we must take matters into our own hands and do what we can to protect vulnerable members of our society.”
In 2000, Congress created the Nonimmigrant U and T visa for victims of certain crimes, who have suffered physical or mental abuse and are willing to provide assistance in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activities. To qualify for the U-Visa or T-Visa, individuals need a police department or other agency to provide a certification confirming that the individual is contributing or will likely contribute to the investigation. However, agencies are currently not required to respond to certification requests, and there is no requirement they respond within a specific time frame.
Hernandez is the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 34, which would require law enforcement and other investigative agencies to respond to certifications for U visa applicants and T visa applications for survivors of human trafficking no later than 90 business days after receiving the request. These certifications would not grant any immigration benefit. Determining visa eligibility still remains the exclusive responsibility of federal immigration officials.
“This is a commonsense reform that will create a consistent process across Illinois, so that victims of domestic violence and other crimes are treated fairly and equally by law enforcement,” Hernandez said. “This legislation will build on the progress we’ve already made in Illinois and I look forward to working with everyone to increase trust in law enforcement. When communities cannot trust law enforcement, it is much harder for them to do their job and keep our communities safe.”
Visit Rep Lisa Hernandez website
229-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 558-1844 FAX
2137 S. Lombard
Cicero, IL 60804
(708) 222-5241 FAX