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Police accused of ignoring immigration law for crime victims

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Immigration & Naturalization |

There has been significant debate about immigration and the laws protecting immigrants in Oregon and across the United States. Much of it hinges on personal perspectives and that can sometimes impact whether the law is followed as it should be.

Law enforcement has certain rules it must adhere to when assisting victims of certain crimes. This is known as a “U visa.” However, there have been allegations that police in Portland have not been consistent with it. Immigrants who believe they have been subjected to this behavior should be cognizant of their rights.

U visas were often rejected by law enforcement in 2021 and 2022

A U visa is in place for victims of abuse. The Portland ombudsman released a report showing that more than 50% of the U visas were denied by police for 2021 and the first six months of 2022. The number far exceeded how many were rejected in the rest of the state.

This is believed to be a problem for criminal investigations and protecting people who should be protected under the law. It also makes immigrants feel unwelcome. The ombudsman investigation looked at 200 of these applications. It found that 53 seemed to fall into the category of granting a U visa. The report shows that victims and their family could not seek a visa despite appearing to be eligible.

The report did not specify how many people were deported. Anecdotally, one woman had her U visa request denied on two separate occasions. She said her partner had assaulted her. There were witnesses and medical proof that it occurred. Still, an officer stated that there was no probable cause and rejected it. Fortunately for her, she received a visa and avoided deportation.

Other incidents included a shooting in which victims said their residences was targeted. Another claimed a man was not cooperating with law enforcement only because he could not give a description of those who issued threats against him.

Immigrants need to know they have certain rights and can appeal denials

This is another example of how immigrants can be victimized in several ways even if they have the right to seek assistance from law enforcement. Whether a person is a victim of crime and seeks a U visa, is facing removal or has other allegations lodged against them that could jeopardize their ability to stay in the country, it is important to be protected with their immigration case.