The VOICES Act (Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Act)
What is the VOICES Act?
The Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Act, also known as the VOICES Act, was recently amended by the Illinois Way Forward Act (Public Act 102-0234). The VOICES Act allows “victims of qualifying criminal activity” to request a “certification form” or a law enforcement certification form or statement required by federal immigration law certifying that a person is a victim of qualifying criminal activity for use in applying for a U-Visa or T-Visa under the United States Code.
Click here to read The Illinois Way Forward Act (Public Act 102-0234)
Click here to read the Illinois VOICES ACT (5 ILCS 825/1)
Who is eligible to participate?
Those individuals who are identified as “victims of qualifying criminal activity” as defined in the act who were involved in an incident investigated by the Champaign Police Department.
“Victim of qualifying criminal activity” means a person described in Section 1101(a)(15)(U)(i)(I) of Title 8 of the United States Code, in the definition of “victim of a severe form of trafficking” in Section 7102(14) of Title 22 of the United States Code, or in any implementing federal regulations, supplementary information, guidance, and instructions.
“Qualifying criminal activity” means any activity, regardless of the stage of detection, investigation, or prosecution, designated in Section 1101(a)(15)(U)(iii) of Title 8 of the United States Code, any implementing federal regulations, supplementary information, guidance, and instructions.
How does someone apply?
Download the appropriate U-Visa or T Visa law enforcement certification form:
Complete Part 1 of the U-Visa or Part B of the T-Visa. Do not complete any other sections of the applications. Incorrectly completed forms may be rejected or may increase response time.
Send the completed U-Visa or T-Visa law enforcement certification form to:
Champaign Police Department
Deputy Chief Geoffrey Coon
Attn: VOICES Act
82 E. University Ave.
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Applications can also be emailed to Certifying Official, Deputy Chief Geoffrey Coon, at [email protected]
How long does it take to get a law enforcement certification response?
If the Certifying Official determines the requester of a U-Visa or T-Visa is a victim of qualifying criminal activity or human trafficking, the Certifying Official must complete the certification or declaration form and provide it to the requester within ninety (90) business days of receiving the request. However, if the person making the request is in federal immigration removal proceedings or detained, the Certifying Official must complete the certification or declaration form and provide it to the requester within twenty-one (21) business days. Shorter timeframes are provided for in the Act for the Certifying Official to respond to a request for cases involving reduced federal benefits for children, parents, or siblings of the requester.
Whom do I contact at the Champaign Police Department for more information?
Deputy Chief Geoffrey Coon is the Certifying Official designated by the Chief of Police to receive, review and respond to requests for completion of the certification form. You can reach him directly at 217-403-7030 or by email at [email protected]. Mail can also be directly addressed to him at 82 East University Avenue, Champaign, Illinois, 61820.