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Illegal immigrant 'snitches' use up 10,000 visas in crime-assistance

Passports and visas

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: The U.S. has a visa program to encourage illegal immigrants who've been victims of a crime to report that crime and serve as witnesses. Well this year, there were so many snitches the Immigration service used up all 10,000 visa slots. Reporter Jill Barshay has our story.


Jill Barshay: Illegal immigrants who've suffered abuse or injury in a major crime, such as rape or attempted murder, can earn a U-Visa. It grants working papers to the victim so long as he or she cooperates with police and prosecutors.

Alejandro Mayorkas is the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He says he has anecdotal evidence that U-visas are helping to get illegals to report more crimes.

Alejandro Mayorkas: By being able to provide them with the assurance that they will be safe, that they will have the support of the government as they come forward and assist the government in apprehending criminals, we are able to put those cases together.

Immigration attorney Laura Lichter says it's tough to get a police officer to certify that an illegal was helpful.

Laura Lichter: Anyone who says, this is easy. Or people are fraudulently reporting crimes. Or somebody hit the jackpot because they were the victim of a domestic assault really is having it wrong.

If the visa application is denied, the undocumented resident can be deported.

I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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