Memorandum: Centralization of Interim Relief for U Nonimmigrant Status Applicants [open pdf - 332KB]
"On October 28,2000, Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA), Pub. L. 106-386.1 The VTVPA created the U nonimmigrant status, a new nonimmigrant classification for victims of specific crimes. This nonimmigrant status was created to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of persons and other criminal activity of which aliens are victims, while offering protection to victims of such offenses. It provides an immigration mechanism for cooperating victims to remain temporarily in the United States to assist in investigations and/or prosecutions. It is available to victims of certain criminal activity and their families, and is limited to 10,000 principals per year. Regulations implementing this new nonimmigrant status are currently in the clearance process. In an effort to provide interim relief for this vulnerable population, the Office of Programs issued interim guidance in August 2001, which directed that no one who appeared to be eligible to apply for U nonimmigrant status be removed from the United States until he/she has had the opportunity to avail him/herself of the provisions of the VTVPA. It further instructed field offices to use existing mechanisms (parole, deferred action, and stays of removal) to achieve this objective."
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: http://www.uscis.gov/