Tools and Resources
Information for Law Enforcement Agencies and Judges
Immigration Relief: A Critical Tool for Law Enforcement
Immigration relief is a tool that you can use to help eliminate human trafficking and fight crime in local communities. One reason why victims may not come forward to work with you is that foreign victims of human trafficking and other crimes may not have legal status in the United States. Traffickers often use victims’ lack of legal status to exploit and control them. Also, without legal status, victims may not be able to stay in the United States to continue working with you.
Victims may qualify for immigration relief, often with help from law enforcement at the federal, state, local, or tribal level, as well as judges. Immigration relief provides a way for victims to feel secure and stabilize their status in the United States, which means that it is a critical tool in helping victims become strong and active participants in an investigation or prosecution.
Types of Immigration Benefits
There are three types of immigration benefits that encourage victims to come forward and work with you.
Both require the victim to assist or cooperate with you in an investigation or prosecution (except for T visa cases where the victim is under 18 years of age or suffers severe trauma).
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) administers one immigration benefit for victims:
Law Enforcement Role: Declaration or Certification
Even though the victim (or their advocate or attorney) completes the main portion of a T or U visa application, you play a role in telling USCIS how the victim has assisted you. The victim may ask you to fill out a USCIS law enforcement declaration or certification, which informs USCIS about the victim in your case. If you choose to fill out and sign the declaration or certification, you will provide it to the victim (or their advocate or attorney) who will submit it to USCIS along with other paperwork and evidence.
Signing a declaration (Form I-914 Supplement B): Used for the T visa, this declaration is not required evidence but is useful for the application. The agencies that can sign the declaration include any federal, state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors and judges who have the authority to detect, investigate, or prosecute human trafficking. This includes, but is not limited to, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, and the Department of Labor.
Signing a certification (Form I-918 Supplement B): This certification is required evidence for the U visa, and USCIS cannot process the victim’s case without it. Certifying agencies can sign the certification. These include federal, state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies; prosecutors and judges; and other agencies that have jurisdiction to detect, investigate, or prosecute in their respective areas of expertise, such as child or family protective services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Labor.
Important Things to Remember
Withdrawing a Declaration or Certification
The victim is required to continue to support the investigation or prosecution as long as it is reasonable. You can withdraw your declaration or certification after it has been submitted to USCIS for any reason, including when the victim unreasonably refuses to assist you. You should notify USCIS in writing and include the victim’s name, date of birth, and A-File number (if available), along with a description of the reason for the withdrawal.
Send your withdrawal to:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Resources for Law Enforcement Agencies and Judges
Resources about Immigration Relief for Victims
You can also email inquiries to LawEnforcement_UTVAWA.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources about Human Trafficking
Anti-human trafficking task forces comprise federal, state, local, county, and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) providing victim services. To find out whether there is a task force in your area, visit the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Initiative Web page.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/25/2014