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|DHS/USCIS||RIN: 1615-AA67||Publication ID: Fall 2013|
|Title: New Classification for Victims of Criminal Activity; Eligibility for the U Nonimmigrant Status|
|Abstract: This rule sets forth application and eligibility requirements for U nonimmigrant status. The U classification is for non-U.S. Citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident victims of certain crimes who cooperate with an investigation or prosecution of those crimes. There is a limit of 10,000 principals per fiscal year. This rule establishes the procedures to be followed to petition for the U nonimmigrant classifications. Specifically, the rule addresses the essential elements that must be demonstrated to receive the nonimmigrant classification, procedures that must be followed to file a petition and evidentiary guidance to assist in the petitioning process. Eligible victims will be allowed to remain in the United States if granted U nonimmigrant status. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, Public Law 110-457, and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2013, Public Law 113-4, made amendments to the U nonimmigrant status provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Department of Homeland Security had issued an interim final rule in 2007. DHS will issue another interim final rule to make the changes required by the legislation.|
|Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)||Priority: Other Significant|
|RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda||Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage|
|Major: No||Unfunded Mandates: No|
|CFR Citation: 8 CFR 103; 8 CFR 204; 8 CFR 212; 8 CFR 214; 8 CFR 299|
|Legal Authority: 5 USC 552; 5 USC 552a; 8 USC 1101; 8 USC 1101 (note); 8 USC 1102; PL 113-4|
Statement of Need: This regulation is necessary to allow alien victims of certain crimes to petition for U nonimmigrant status. U nonimmigrant status is available to eligible victims of certain qualifying criminal activity who: (1) has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the qualifying criminal activity; (2) the alien possesses information about the crime; (3) the alien has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and (4) the criminal activity took place in the United States, including military installations and Indian country, or the territories or possessions of the United States. This rule addresses the eligibility requirements that must be met for classification as a U nonimmigrant alien and implements statutory amendments to these requirements, streamlines the procedures to petition for U nonimmigrant status, and provides evidentiary guidance to assist in the petition process.
Summary of the Legal Basis: Congress created the U nonimmigrant classification in the Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000 (BIWPA) to provide immigration relief for alien victims of certain qualifying criminal activity and who are helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of these crimes.
Alternatives: To provide victims with immigration benefits and services and keeping in mind the purpose of the U visa as a law enforcement tool, DHS is considering and using suggestions from stakeholders in developing this regulation. These suggestions came in the form of public comment from the 2007 interim final rule as well as USCIS' six years of experience with the U nonimmigrant status program, including regular meetings and outreach events with stakeholders and law enforcement.
Anticipated Costs and Benefits: DHS estimated the total annual cost of this interim rule to petitioners to be $6.2 million in the interim final rule published in 2007. This cost included the biometric services fee, the opportunity cost of time needed to submit the required forms, the opportunity cost of time required and cost of traveling to visit a USCIS Application Support Center. DHS is currently in the process of updating our cost estimates since U nonimmigrant visa petitioners are no longer required to pay the biometric services fee. The anticipated benefits of these expenditures include assistance to victims of qualifying criminal activity and their families and increases in arrests and prosecutions of criminals nationwide. Additional benefits include heightened awareness by law enforcement of victimization of aliens in their community, and streamlining the petitioning process so that victims may benefit from this immigration relief.
Risks: There is a statutory cap of 10,000 principal U nonimmigrant visas that may be granted per fiscal year at INA 214(p)(2). Eligible petitioners who are not granted principal U-1 nonimmigrant status due solely to the numerical limit will be placed on a waiting list maintained by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To protect U-1 petitioners and their families, USCIS will use various means to prevent the removal of U-1 petitioners and their eligible family members on the waiting list, including exercising its authority to allow deferred action, parole, and stays of removal, in cooperation with other DHS components.
|Additional Information: Transferred from RIN 1115-AG39|
|Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No||Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State|
|Small Entities Affected: No||Federalism: No|
|Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes|
|RIN Information URL: www.regulations.gov||Public Comment URL: www.regulations.gov|
|RIN Data Printed in the FR: No|
Maureen A. Dunn
Chief, Family Immigration and Victim Protection Division
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Office of Policy and Strategy, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Suite 1200,
Washington, DC 20529