DALLAS, TX – Newly elected Dallas County District Attorney Hon. John Creuzot committed to helping undocumented immigrants who are victims of crime. Mr. Creuzot addressed members of the Mexican American Bar Association of Dallas last night and vowed to work with the organization on streamlining a process for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to assist crime victims attempting to gain legal immigration status in the United States with the “U” Visa application.
“I personally want people to be protected, if they’re victims of crime, from being deported, “said Mr. Creuzot. “That should not be a reason that we now know who you are and we’re going to haul you off. And the case never gets resolved and the perpetrator gets to stay and hide and an innocent person gets sent back to whatever country. I don’t think it’s right. I think it’s morally wrong.”
The Federal Government created the “U” Visa for immigrant victims of serious crimes under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. The visa was implemented to allow foreign victims of crimes to remain in the U.S. so as to aid law enforcement officials in apprehending and prosecuting criminal offenders. Applicants must have their petition certified by a law enforcement official (police officer, prosecutor, or judge) that the person was in fact cooperative in the investigation or prosecution of a crime.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has not previously had a procedure in place to assist crime victims in certifying their U Visa applications. The issue was raised by Dallas immigration attorney and MABA Dallas member Susana Reyes.
“I run into victims of crime that are cooperating with the DA’s Office and women’s shelters. I’ve been practicing for 7 years in Dallas and I have never met a DA’s office that actually has a system in place for getting the [U Visa] applications certified,” said Ms. Reyes.
Mr. Creuzot was eager to tackles the issue with MABA’s help.
“Will y’all do me a favor? Give me what you think is a good U Visa Policy. If we haven’t had one, we need one,” said Mr. Creuzot.
The District Attorney began his address to MABA Dallas members by promoting his efforts to recruit more Spanish speaking attorneys to serve as prosecutors. Mr. Creuzot said he wants to keep increasing the diversity in the office to better serve the community.
Mr. Creuzot also promoted his highly touted campaign promise to end marijuana prosecution. He explained that he is meeting with police chiefs to address questions and planning before implementing a total overhaul.
The Mexican American Bar Association of Dallas is an organization for legal professionals to improve the opportunities for and promote the recognition of Hispanic/ LatinX attorneys and judges. MABA Dallas engages the Hispanic community of North Texas to grow its understanding of the legal profession and give voice to legal issues affecting the Hispanic/LatinX community.