INDIANAPOLIS- On Wednesday, the Indiana Senate gave final approval to a measure authored by Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) requiring law enforcement agencies to continue education on cultural diversity and U nonimmigrant Visas (U-Visa). Senate Bill (SB) 343 would benefit people who do not hold legal status in the United States and are victims of violent crimes.

An understanding of the U-Visa process by law enforcement officers is important as certification of a victim’s cooperation by an officer is a prerequisite to a victim’s application for U-Visa status with the federal government. Sen. Lanane notes these victims may be children or other persons brought into this county without their consent.

“It is fundamentally important for our law enforcement officials to have knowledge about cultural diversity and the benefits that the U-Visa provision will have in victim responsiveness,” said Sen. Lanane. “The justice system should never turn its back on a victim of a violent crime, regardless of legal status, and U-Visas will encourage these victims to speak up and help put criminals behind bars.”

Sen. Lanane emphasized that SB 343 would not serve as a shortcut to citizenship, but instead a vehicle for 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.

After gaining final passage from the Senate a vote of 40-9, SB 343 will now move to the governor for his 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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