A specific type of visa, called the U visa, was designed to help immigrants who have been victims of violent crime. People could qualify for a U visa by helping in a police investigation. The first step in the process, though, is to obtain a certification from the local police. A report created by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that some Texas police departments have been acting to block the certifications necessary to secure a U visa.

The reporter said that the U visa process varies in different parts of the country. There are places where police have established written, standardized policies, and there are places where the process is much less official. In a segment broadcast by the Texas Standard, she said that some officials will only certify people once their cases are closed, which can be a problem for individuals who have cases that take months or years to move through the criminal justice system.

The certification required for a U visa in Texas is only a preliminary step and does not mean the person involved will be approved for a visa. The certification form is just one of many pieces of evidence that victims are required to submit to secure this sort of relief. The reporter opined that the growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the country is hindering the ability of foreign nationals to secure U visas.

People in Texas who are interested in getting a visa might want to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer who handles immigration cases may help by examining the facts of the person’s situation and suggesting possible avenues to secure legal status in the United States. For individuals who have applied and been denied visas, a lawyer might help file an appeal.