National Survey of Service Providers on Police Response to Immigrant Crime Victims, U Visa Certification and Language Access

Natalia Lee, Daniel J. Quinones, Nawal Ammar & Leslye E. Orloff


The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project at American University Washington College of Law conducted a nationwide survey of immigrant victim’s advocates and attorneys to learn about the experiences of immigrant and Limited English Proficiency (“LEP”) victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other crimes have in their interactions with law enforcement.

The report presents findings from a survey conducted in March of 2013 in which 722 agencies responded from 50 jurisdictions, reporting on the experiences of over 22,000 immigrant crime victims. The survey focused on two main issues: U visa certification and access to police assistance for Limited English Proficient and immigrant clients. 

The first part of the report focuses on findings regarding application and implementation of the U visa. The responses highlight the need for increasing the U visa Cap;

  • Removing the supervisor certification requirement; and
  • Making changes to DHS policies and regulations to effectively help immigrant crime victims and
  • encourage their trust and use of the justice system protections

The second part of the report focuses on findings regarding language access for LEP crime victim clients. Some of the more concerning findings include:

  • Police used unqualified interpreters in 30% of reported cases;
  • The police spoke only with the perpetrator who spoke English in 8.1% of domestic violence cases and 10.7% of sexual assault cases; and
  • The police did not take reports in 9.6% of sexual assault cases; in 10.4% of domestic violence cases and 11.8% of human trafficking case involving immigrant crime victim clients.


The purpose of the report is to survey how various service providers – e.g. pro bono attorneys, domestic violence counselors – react to victims of crime who are classified as immigrants or Limited English proficiency individuals.