The U-visa: An Important Tool for Community Policing

The U-visa: An Important Tool for Community Policing


Vera Institute of Justice


Oren Root

Both of these are actual cases that illustrate a challenge to officers who do community policing—the challenge of how to get undocumented immigrants to report or admit that they are victims of crime. In recent years, a tool has been developed to help police build a bridge to the neighborhoods they serve and solve crimes in: the U-visa. This visa, designed for immigrant victims of crime who cooperate with law enforcement, was intended to make them more likely to report such offenses. Growing awareness about the U-visa certification process is enabling police departments throughout the United States to take advantage of this tool that can help in the investigation and prosecution of serious crimes and improve public safety. Yet, many officers know little about this visa and how it can be a resource in their work.

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