SF sheriff expands legal services for immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking 

The Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday that it will begin providing more assistance for undocumented immigrants in and out of custody when reporting, among other crimes, that they are victims of human trafficking or domestic violence.

Under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, the department said it will direct immigrant victims of certain crimes to the Survivor Restoration Program, where assistance is provided to obtain temporary legal status and to recover from trauma in safe and secure places.

"Having an immigration system that neglects or punishes victims of domestic violence and human trafficking only subverts public safety overall," Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said in a statement.

As of Wednesday, department staff is required to report to the Survivor Restoration Program any awareness or suspicion that a person in custody or in a postrelease program may be the victim of certain crimes, including human trafficking, domestic violence and felonious assault.

Through the program, victims could be eligible for a U visa, or temporary legal status, or a T visa, a nonimmigrant visa, for victims of severe forms of human trafficking.

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