On July 15, 2014, USCIS recently released a Policy Memorandum pertaining to U visas. The Memo is entitled “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013: Changes to U Nonimmigrant Status and Adjustment of Status Provisions.” Among some of the important changes added by VAWA 2013 that the policy memorandum implements, officers are directed to take note of two new crimes that qualify as qualifying criminal activity for U nonimmigrant status. (U status is available to any alien who has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of certain qualifying criminal activity.) The two new crimes are Stalking and Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting (as defined in section 1351 of title 18, United States Code). The statutory list of qualifying crimes is therefore now comprised of the following:
Abusive Sexual Contact
Obstruction of Justice
Female Genital Mutilation
Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
Being Held Hostage
Unlawful Criminal Restraint
Other Related Crimes
It is important to note that the above comprise general crime categories. Any attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the statutorily listed crimes above, including any offense that is substantially similar, may also be considered.
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