April 16, 2014

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Local Judge Helps Teenage Sexual Abuse Victim Get Immigrant Visa

WACO (December 14, 2012)—State District Judge Ralph Strother is helping a 13-year-old sexual abuse victim get an immigrant visa after McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna refused.

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported the girl's attorney approached Strother as a last resort.

The girl and her mother are seeking U-Visas, which are granted to immigrants who are victims of crimes.

Both the mother and the girl, who was brought here 12 years ago, are illegal immigrants.

But after the mother’s boyfriend abused the girl, the mother called authorities.

The boyfriend pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Strother said signing the visa paperwork was "the right thing to do."

Reyna took issue with the newspapers report.
In a posting on his Facebook page, Reyna said, "...while we advocate strongly for our victims, anytime you have a federal law that allows a person and family members who are in our country illegally to become legal residents and work based upon one family member’s status as a crime victim, then there is a great potential for abuse. We must be vigilant to ensure that abuse does not occur."

A U-Visa is for someone who is in the country illegally and who risks deportation for being cooperative with law enforcement on a case from start to finish. The Tribune Herald implies that it is meant as a reward for cooperation, but nothing could be further from the truth. The purpose of the U-Visa is to prevent deportation of a victim at different stages throughout the justice system. The U-Visa process also provides authority to different entities to sign off on the Law Enforcement certification portion."

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