CHICAGO – State Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, recently supported legislation to help human trafficking survivors and others impacted by traumatic crimes more easily attain Nonimmigrant U and T visas.
“If someone is the survivor of an abusive crime, they should feel safe in going to law enforcement for justice,” D’Amico said. “It is important we stand with survivors, regardless of citizenship status, by letting them know they are not alone and will not be punished for coming forward.”
The D’Amico backed Senate Bill 34 would create the Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Survivors (VOICES) Act. Currently, nonimmigrants who are survivors of certain crimes resulting in physical or mental abuse, such as domestic violence or human trafficking, may apply for a Nonimmigrant U and T visa. To qualify, individuals need a police department or other agency to provide certification confirming that the individual is contributing or will likely contribute to an investigation. However, agencies are currently not required to respond to certification requests. Senate Bill 34 would require law enforcement and other investigative agencies to respond to certifications for U visa applicants and T visa applications for survivors no later than 90 business days after receiving the request
“In order for law enforcement to serve and protect, there must be a culture of trust and cooperation in their communities,” D’Amico said. “I urge the governor to sign this important legislation to aide survivors and law enforcement so we may do right for all of those in our state.”