Crime, Generally, in the U.S. Is Down, But Visa-Creating Crime Soars

Crime in America, generally, declined between 2009 and 2012 by about 10 percent.

But the kind of crime that creates visas (usually for illegal aliens) quadrupled in the same time period. Many Americans are not aware that some crimes create green cards for their victims.

Here are the numbers:

The widely used, expensively maintained “Crime in the United States”, a long-existing FBI research tool, showed that there were 431.9 violent crimes for every 100,000 inhabitants of the United States in 2009. In 2012, the number was 386.9, a decline of 10.4 percent.

A rather newer table, maintained by USCIS, shows that the number of individuals (mostly illegal aliens) reporting a crime that would create a U visa (and thus legal status for the person so reporting) was 6,835 in 2009, soaring to 24,768 in 2012, an increase of nearly four to one.

The U-visa data come from public but unpublished USCIS statistics supplied to me by the USCIS press office.

The U visa was created by Congress in 2000 for victims of crime of violence who have information for law enforcement agencies and who are either cooperating with them or (and this is fuzzy) “are likely to be helpful” to such agencies. Further, the crime must have occurred within the United States and the alien (while presumably an illegal alien) must be admissable to the United States (i.e., has not committed a serious crime, other than illegal entry). The nonimmigrant visas last for four years. In the final year, the alien can apply for permanent legal status, i.e., a green card.

In many cases the victims have experienced violence within the family, and in many of those cases the perpetrator is a male illegal alien. Some of the victims are legally in the United States temporarily on other nonimmigrant visas, such as those of tourists, or they are border-card holders, but most are probably illegal aliens, and most U-1 visa holders (i.e., the victims) are women.

We have known for a long time that illegal aliens, a low-income population, are more likely to be crime victims than Americans generally, but a four-to-one increase in such problems in a four-year period? That’s unlikely to reflect a change in criminal behavior.

When you count all the victims of visa-creating crimes, and those claiming to be relatives of those victims, the numbers are even larger as seen in the table below:

Applications for Crime-Victim (U) Visas 2009-2013

Fiscal Year Victims’ Filings Their Relatives’ Filings Total Filings Total USCIS Approvals
2009 6,835 4,102 10,937 8,663
2010 10,742 6,418 17,160 19,388
2011 16,768* 10,033 26,801 17,690
2012 24,768* 15,126 39,894 17,543
2013 25,432 18,263 43,695 18,228
Totals, for these years 84,545 53,942 138,487 81,512

* The chances are good that one of these two numbers is in error.
Sources: The individual numbers in the cells were provided by the USCIS press office; the multi-year totals were calculated by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Three comments on this program:

  1. The rapid growth of this program (despite a congressional ceiling of 10,000 a year on approvals of victims’ filings, but not those of relatives of victims) is all too typical of the path of a new, specialized non-immigrant visa program; aliens find out about it and make use of it in larger numbers as time passes. The increases above have nothing to do with actual crime rates. 
  2. This is clearly one of the specialized amnesty programs that keep coming, like such obscure ones as the new rules for illegal alien relatives of servicemen, and the broader one of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 
  3. The unlimited access of victims’ relatives to this program is another example of how chain migration works to expand the overall size of immigration flows.

In a future blog I will describe some of the remarkable administrative complications and demographic results of this program, and its potential interactions with DACA and with the massive amnesty in S.744, should that become law. In sum: generally it is much better to be a U-visa holder than either a DACA candidate, or an S.744 beneficiary.

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