Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

We’ve Run Out of Visas for Crime Victims

Immigration is an issue that grabs people’s spirit close to the root—I find people getting passionate about the issue more than I’d expect, and from that passion and oftentimes, anger, rash decisions get made and harsh laws get enacted. I don’t know how to defuse the level of heels-dug-in irrationality (on both sides, I fear), but I do, personally, find this situation untenable.

Since 2007 (and how absurd is it that it took us until 2007?), the United States has created a particular visa, called a U Visa, for undocumented victims of violent crime, sexual assault, and human trafficking, who cooperate with legal authorities to capture the perpetrators of the crimes against them. You can imagine how often victims of sexual assault and human slavery/trafficking (an epidemic here in the US as well as around the world) are told by kidnappers/pimps/etc that if they go to the authorities they’ll be deported and/or imprisoned. Most are so fearful of the US Immigration repercussions that they put up with violent assault or ongoing slavery/trafficking (and we are often talking about kids here–10, 11, 12 years old, too many of them…and of course, in many of these cases, it is the trafficker that has brought the victim into this country against their will and undocumented).

So this victims visa, the U Visa, can really help cut down on violent crime and trafficking…BUT… the government has a cap and only allows a certain number of the U Visas to be issued per year…and they are all used up! When the new fiscal year begins in October, the next year’s U Visas can be granted, but between now and then? Tough luck victims. I’m sure somebody somewhere thought that putting an arbitrary cap on the number of these visas made sense, but I sure don’t see the logic. For the individual victim of violent crime, it really doesn’t matter how many before you were also victimized. It is so clearly, to me at least, a case of bizarre randomness being made into law based on statistics instead of humanity.

From “Think about it this way: 10,000 victims visas means 10,000 violent criminals who law enforcement is able to investigate and prosecute. We should offer as many visas as there are victims, to protect both those individuals and the public from as many dangerous criminals as possible. Sign this petition to tell Congress to eliminate the arbitrary cap on crime victims visas.

True Colors Home

photo: "Bring Ya To The Brink"

Cyndi Lauper is a hero. She has, for a long time, been a real champion of equality. Her True Colors Tour was a series of concerts with amazing special guests to many venues to raise awareness for LGBT equality. She just recently launched a new initiative, the Give a Damn Campaign, for everyone who cares about equality, but especially straight people who know what’s right, and that there is a lot of work for us all to make it right. Celebs and the rest of us, along with Cyndi, take on issues like marriage equality, youth homelessness, hate crimes, immigration, older adults, and more. Go to to get involved.

Now, Cyndi is launching even further into orbit (and earning her wings in a big way) as she has announced that in 2011, she will be opening the True Colors Residence, a live-in center/shelter for homeless LGBT young people, in Harlem. Specifically intended for young adults who have been kicked out of their family homes or have run away from unlivable conditions because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, the home will have 30 studio apartments, a computer room, library, and shared space. With thousands of homeless LGBT youth in New York, and exponentially more throughout the nation…around the world…forward momentum like this is huge.