Almost eight years after Congress enacted a law meant to protect illegal immigrants who were victims of a crime, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued the first U visas, documents that grant victims the right to work and reside in the U.S. for four years. At the time of the U visas’ approval, as part of the 2000 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, immigration wasn’t quite the incendiary issue it is today. Now, even the fairly benign goal of encouraging crime victims to call the police without fear of being deported is subject to all sorts of sturm und drang.
MANY Daily News readers were no doubt shocked recently to learn that human trafficking and sexual slavery may be occurring right here in the Delaware Valley.
In the Berwyn case that the paper put on Page 1, the system apparently worked. The victims are in the process of obtaining the status allowing their continued presence in the U.S., and the traffickers are being prosecuted.
But what if those two courageous women had instead succumbed to the threats, violence and pressure of their handlers?