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U Visa Protections for Immigrant Victims of Workplace Crimes

By Eunice Hyunhye Cho

Although core labor law standards protect undocumented as well as citizen and legal resident workers, undocumented immigrants are especially vulnerable to wage theft and other forms of workplace exploitation. Congress established, as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, the U visa to protect noncitizen victims of certain crimes, including crimes related to the workplace as well as domestic violence and sexual abuse. In 2011 several federal agencies released guidelines governing certification of U visa petitions from undocumented immigrant workers; representation of U visa petitioners falls within Legal Services Corporation guidelines.

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