Monday, January 23, 2023
Injustice Watch Investigation of U Visa Denials in Chicago
Injustice Watch reported on Chicago police denied scores of undocumented crime victims a path to citizenship.
An Injustice Watch investigation found that the department has denied hundreds of U visa certification requests from undocumented crime victims this year, many of them at odds with federal certification standards and some that appeared to violate state law.
Two Chicago police sergeants, Brandon Ternand and John Poulos, issued most of the denials reviewed by Injustice Watch. Both sergeants have fatally shot civilians and had serious questions raised by investigators about their credibility. Both also faced termination, but in 2018 the Chicago Police Board allowed them to keep their jobs. The city has paid out more than $3 million in settlements and judgments relating to the two sergeants.
Police watchdogs said the decision to designate Ternand and Poulos as U visa certifiers raises questions about CPD’s selection process for the job.
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[A]fter Injustice Watch started reporting this story and following weeks of complaints from immigration attorneys to officials in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office, sources said that CPD said it would revise its policies on U visa certifications. The most significant change will require the department’s Office of Legal Affairs to review all denials as well as handle appeals of previously denied requests.
The City Council is also considering calling for hearings on this issue seeking more transparency.