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Connecting Law Enforcement to Immigrant Victims of Crime

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $943,878)

This program is funded under both the Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program (Byrne Competitive Program) and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. Authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2009 (Pub. L. 111-8), the Byrne Competitive Program helps local communities improve the capacity of state and local justice systems and provides for national support efforts including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. The JAG Program (42 U.S.C. 3751) is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, and JAG funds support all components of the criminal justice system. The JAG Program authorization also states that 'the Attorney General may reserve not more than 5 percent, to be granted to 1 or more States or units of local government, for 1 or more of the purposes specified in section 3751 of this title, pursuant to his determination that the same is necessary'(1) to combat, address, or otherwise respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime' (42 U.S.C. 3756).

The National Initiative: Encouraging Innovation: Field-Initiated Programs is designed to strengthen the criminal justice system by challenging those in the field to identify and define emerging or chronic systemic issues faced by one or more components of the criminal justice continuum (includes but not limited to law enforcement, corrections, courts, and community collaborations) and to propose innovative solutions to address these issues.

Legal Momentum, in partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice, will highlight and encourage innovation in the criminal justice system's response to immigrant victims of crime. In 2000, Congress created the 'U' nonimmigrant classification (known as the U-visa) as part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2000. The U-visa strengthens the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate, prosecute, and solve cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other violent crimes by addressing immigrant victims' fear of reporting and collaborating with law enforcement by providing an immigration benefit that protects the victim from deportation. If immigrant victims report crimes and cooperate with law enforcement, they are eligible to apply for U-visas, which enable them to remain in the U.S. legally for up to four years and become eligible for lawful permanent residency. Legal Momemtum will develop and implement a 3-year initiative to train law enforcement on the U-visa and how it can facilitate investigations and prosecutions through peer-to-peer national trainings, involving law enforcement peer trainers who have field-tested effective methodologies for working with immigrant victims of crime.


Date Created: September 17, 2009