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Hastings International and Comparative Law Review

Abstract

This Note compares the forces behind the creation and the implementation of crime victim visa legislation in the United States and Canada. Both are recognized globally as important immigrant-receiving nations with long histories of reliance on immigrant populations for economic growth and expansion. Both states have crafted immigration policies in line with their economic needs and societal perceptions of immigrants in relation to the dominant culture mores. This Note analyzes the two nation's historical trends in relation to immigration as a stepping stone towards understanding the current realities of immigrant life in North America and delves in to the impacts of immigrant victimization on immigrant communities as a whole, and each government's response to this troubling phenomenon.

While Canada has taken what may be considered a more holistic approach to the problem of immigrant victimization, the only pathway to legal status it provides to undocumented individuals is through temporary resident permits for victims of trafficking. The U.S. Congress, on the other hand, has promulgated the U Visa - a comprehensive visa program providing legal status to immigrant crime victims who cooperate with police investigators and prosecutors.

Ultimately, this Note asks whether the U Visa can serve as a model for Canadian legislators by closely examining the U Visa's successes and perceived failures in both implementation and the question of law enforcement involvement. Taking into account the vast differences between the two nations, this Note gleans relevant lessons from the U.S. U Visa program while also looking towards other innovative strategies better suited towards Canada's cultural and legal frameworks.

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