Resource: Decline to Sign: The Impact of Local Bureaucratic Discretion on Immigrant Victims' Equal Access to the Law

By: Katherine Grant Collins

January 1, 2014

UC San Diego Electronic Theses and Dissertations

In a time of increasingly restrictive U.S. immigration policy, a small category of individuals has been allowed a rare opportunity for inclusion: victims of violent crime. Characterized as a humanitarian island of niceness in a sea of restrictive United States immigration laws, the U-1 non-immigrant visa, commonly referred to as the “U Visa”, provides temporary immigration benefits to some non-citizen immigrant victims of crime. However, one’s victim status alone does not qualify them to access these benefits. Despite the purported humanitarian intentions of this policy, this thesis explores the alternative, and potentially more powerful logic behind the law. Using San Diego County as a case study, this thesis traces the U Visa from formation to implementation, in an attempt to create a more complete image of this victim-centered piece of immigration legislation.