Year of Publication

2011

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

In order to complete an implementation analysis of the T Human Trafficking Status and the U Victims of Crime Status, legislation, articles, annual reports produced by the government and its agencies, and written documents were assessed and compiled to create a framework for highlighting the significant elements of each status, a process that has not been done prior to this effort. This framework was then examined from an intervention theorist’s perspective to assess whether the statuses have been implemented in a manner that meets the goals of the authorizing legislation.

The T Human Trafficking Status and U Victims of Crime Status are successful programs in that they appear to have reduced an important barrier to prosecutions of the targeted categories of criminals. However, implementation of both statuses falls short of legislative goals, largely because of failures on the part of USCIS. The most serious failure in the implementation of the statuses has been USCIS’s delay in implementing the U Victims of Crime Status and the related adjustment process. USCIS could benefit by partnering with other agencies to better coordinate and cooperate in meeting the requirements of the U Victims of Crime Status. From an intervention theorist’s perspective, the program is beneficial in that more prosecutions appear to have resulted, but the implementation still falls short of reasonable measures of agency responsiveness.

This analysis found that local law officers need to be better educated about the goal and process of the U Victims of Crime Status, along with the nature of their role in the process. It is recommended that the U.S. Attorney General require states, in conjunction with their individual law enforcement agencies, to submit reports on their anti-trafficking efforts so this information can be included in the Annual Trafficking In Persons Report.

USCIS should consider reviewing the purpose of the authorizing legislation and how that purpose might be advanced by allowing civil cases and the related investigations meet the requirement that victims be helpful in prosecuting the perpetrators of the crimes against them. The results of such an analysis should be provided to Congress for its consideration as one way to ensure that victims of crimes are not penalized by the long time horizon associated with some criminal cases, particularly those related to human trafficking. USCIS should also begin tracking and reporting important information from the U and T status applications. Furthermore, as USCIS begins to review petitions for the adjustment of status, it will be important that the agency consider accommodating those people who have been waiting for the agency to implement the measures. Overall, it is strongly recommended that USCIS attempt to secure additional funding or reallocate existing staff to increase the number of employees processing the applications.

Additionally, the terminology and wording in both the T Human Trafficking Status and the U Victims of Crime Status should be defined more clearly. It is further suggested that documents explaining both statuses be developed in a multitude of languages and that social service agencies provide translators when appropriate to assist undocumented residents with language barriers.

It was found that the acceptance rates for the T and U statuses are dramatically different; thus, it is recommended that further research be done to assess why this difference has arisen.

Ultimately, it is strongly recommended that Congress provide USCIS clear deadlines and follow-up on them to ensure that applications are being handled in an appropriate and timely manner.

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