On this day, Cesar Chavez Day, it’s important to reflect on the plight of farmworkers, and because so many are undocumented immigrants, ways in which their lives can be improved. The U Visa is one of those ways.

The U Visa program is one of the best means available for an undocumented immigrant to obtain protection from deportation and a social security/work permit. Later on, it can lead to a Green Card (Permanent Residence).

What many people don’t know, is that a new law, Penal Code 670.10, which took effect in January of this year, requires law enforcement to certify the required I-918 Supplement B form for victims of crime.

This is true is the crime qualifies, and the victim is helpful, was helpful, or is likely to be helpful with law enforcement in dealing with the crime. This is significant, because in the past, police agencies and District Attorney office had a habit of sitting on their thumbs, and providing excuses to well-deserving victim immigrants: we need a conviction, the case is still pending, we have a “policy” of not certifying until the case is closed, or the defendant has disappeared, and there’s a bench warrant.

None of those excuses matter anymore or are even legal! It is an amazing turn of events for the victims of crimes.

If a farmworker is a victim of domestic violence, let’s say his wife beat him hard and left him black and blue. In the past, if the wife skipped town and disappeared, the police or D.A. could say,” sorry we can’t certify until your wife is brought to justice.” No longer. Now, the victim can report the crime, cooperate, and it doesn’t matter if the wife is found or convicted. It is irrelevant.

What’s relevant now is that the victim cooperated or will cooperate, and isn’t refusing to help law enforcement. And that’s the way it should be.

For more information, view my video on U Visas, available on YouTube: Can I Qualify for a U Visa?