INDIANAPOLIS- The Senate Homeland Security, Transportation, and Veteran Affairs Committee approved a proposal on Tuesday to require law enforcement agencies to enhance education on cultural diversity and U nonimmigrant Visas (U-Visas). Senate Bill (SB) 343, authored by Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D- Anderson), would benefit those who do not hold legal status in the United States and have been affected by violent crimes.

An understanding of the U-Visa process by law enforcement officers is important as certification of a victim’s cooperation by the officers is a prerequisite to a victim’s application for U-Visa status with the federal government.

“Regardless of your legal status, you should never have to be fearful of reporting a violent crime that has happened to you or a family member,” said Sen. Lanane. “By giving undocumented persons a means to work with law enforcement on cases of violent crime, we can hopefully cut down the number of these incidents.”

SB 343 would not serve as a shortcut to citizenship, but instead a vehicle of cooperation. Law enforcement agencies would be educated on the purpose of U-Visas and their role as an authorizer. Law enforcement officers would only be liable for indicating whether a victim was cooperative or are likely to be helpful in the future. The Law Enforcement Training Board would adopt rules for minimum standards for a course of cultural sensitivity and U-Visa training and sets forth provisions for continuing education.

The proposal was approved by the committee unanimously and now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 includes the portions of Madison and Delaware counties, including the City of Muncie and the southeastern portion of the City of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S25 .

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