Child Protective Services Refusing to Help Child Crime Victims with Immigration Visas

The agency’s blanket ban on issuing certifications puts an already vulnerable group in a precarious situation.

News Story (Texas)

Laura Marie Thompson
Texas Observer
December 2, 2016

Tags: Crime Victims, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)


For the past eight months, Texas Child Protective Services has quietly rejected requests for help from undocumented children who are the victims of crime. In April, the agency abandoned its policy of providing certifications for special immigration visas that protect crime victims who are helping law enforcement in an investigation. Lawyers and advocates who file on behalf of child victims say they were given no explanation for the sudden policy change.

“There wasn’t an announcement or anything like that,” said Glenaan O’Neil, a regional director of immigrant victims services at the Texas Civil Rights Project. O’Neil said that she submitted a request for a young victim of domestic violence in May. “I was told, ‘Oh, we’re not going to do those anymore.’” She immediately started contacting colleagues at other advocacy organizations, and quickly learned they’d also been given the runaround by CPS.