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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Alleged Trafficking Victim Loses Bid for Visa

(CN) - An alleged trafficking victim from Mexico who claims he provided valuable information to immigration authorities isn't entitled to a special visa, the 6th Circuit ruled.

The three-judge panel in Cincinnati upheld a lower court's finding that the decision to grant a so-called "U-Visa," or visa for crime victims who help U.S. law enforcement, is discretionary and not mandatory.

Ronal Porfirio Ordonez Orosco demanded a U-Visa after he and his brother were smuggled into the United States and abandoned on a Texas ranch. After wandering three days, Ordonez's brother died of exhaustion, exposure to the elements or heat stroke.

Ordonez survived and was picked up by border agents, whom he told about his brother's death. He claimed that this was the kind of "valuable information" that mandated a U-Visa.

But local and federal officials refused to grant him one, so Ordonez sued.

The district court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction and standing, ruling that the decision to issue a U-Visa is discretionary.

The 6th Circuit affirmed.

"Whether or not an alien has been 'helpful' is not an objective determination that can be made ministerially," Judge William Garwood wrote. Such a decision is discretionary, he wrote, "since the decision to initiate (or to continue) an investigation or a prosecution is itself a classic example of a discretionary decision."

The court refused to compel immigration officials to grant Ordonez a U-Visa.

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