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Abstract

Recognizing the unique vulnerabilities of immigrants who become

victims of crime in the United States, Congress enacted the U visa, a form of immigration relief that provides victims, including survivors of domestic

violence, a path to lawful status. Along with this humanitarian. aim, the U visa was intended to aid law enforcement in efforts to investigate and prosecute crime, based on the notion that victims without legal status might otherwise be too fearful to "come out of the shadows" by reporting offenses to the police. Although these two goals were purportedly coequal, in practice, by requiring survivors to cooperate with law enforcement in order to obtain U nonimmigrant status, benefits to police and prosecutors are achieved at the expense of the victims Congress sought to protect, exacerbating the very vulnerabilities the U visa was intended to address.

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