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City Bar Justice Center Commends Public Advocate

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City Bar Justice Center Commends Public Advocate

April 2, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The City Bar Justice Center commends the Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, for raising awareness about the U Visa, which promotes the safety of all New Yorkers, not just immigrants. By creating a safe reporting system, serious crimes, including rape, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, prostitution, child abuse, human trafficking, kidnapping, murder and assault are brought to light, investigated and potentially prosecuted. The U Visa is an extremely important form of relief in particular for immigrant children and their families. The City Bar Justice Center's Immigrant Women and Children Project regularly encounters immigrant victims of family violence who hide in the shadows, feeling trapped by their abusers. The U Visa empowers these individuals to leave their abusers, report the crimes to authorities, obtain lawful status and establish a safe home without fear of deportation. The U Visa encourages cooperation with law enforcement and offers an incentive to witnesses for coming forward.

It is important to focus important law enforcement agencies, including the New York Police Department and the Administration of Children's Services, on this issue. We appreciate the work of the NYPD and the ACS in protecting all New Yorkers, and encourage them to learn more about this visa option and the public-safety benefits of coordinating with the immigrant and advocacy communities in this regard.