Sacramento –Assembly Bill 917, authored by Assemblymember Eloise Reyes was signed into law by Governor Newsom. AB 917 changes the certification process required for a U-Visa or T-Visa application to 30 days, or 7 days if the applicant is in removal proceedings. The T-Visa and U-Visa programs were created by Congress nearly twenty years ago to provide a process for immigrant victims of crimes to remain in the United States and to create a safe space for immigrant communities to assist law enforcement investigations.
“A U-Visa is granted to victims of a crime, or their loved ones, who are undocumented and have fully cooperated with local law enforcement to assist in the prosecution of a criminal case. Similarly, a T Visa allows eligible victims of Human Trafficking to temporarily remain and work in the U.S.,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “AB 917 creates an expedited timeline to process the certifications needed for these two visa programs and sends a message that our local law enforcement is going to work to protect victims of crimes who are immigrants, without fear of deportation.”
"The signing of the bill was praised by immigrant rights groups. As a result of the anti-immigrant agenda at the national level, immigrants are afraid of reporting crimes and trusting local law enforcement. We thank Assemblywoman Reyes for introducing AB 917 and Governor Newsom for signing it into law. Starting January 1, 2020 immigrants who are victims of crimes will obtain swift certification by local law enforcement to initiate their U or T visa application." Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
To be eligible for a T-Visa, the immigrant victim must meet four statutory requirements: (1) he or she is or was a victim of a severe form or trafficking in person, as defined by federal law; (2) is in the United States or at a port of entry due to trafficking; (3) has complied with any reasonable request from law enforcement for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and (4) would suffer extreme hardship if removed from the United States. (1) In order to qualify for a U-Visa: the applicant must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of certain qualifying activity; (2) the applicant must possess information concerning such criminal activity; (3) the applicant must be helpful, have been helpful, or likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of a crime; and (4) the criminal activity must have occurred in the U.S. or violated the state or federal law of the United States.
Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes represents Assembly District 47 which includes the cities of Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, San Bernardino and the unincorporated areas of Muscoy and Bloomington.