The ICE Victim-Centered Approach Directive

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The ICE Victim-Centered Approach Directive

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On August 10, 2021, ICE issued Directive 11005.3, “Using a Victim-Centered Approach with Noncitizen Crime Victims.”

For immigration attorneys, intricate knowledge of the complex web of immigration laws, regulations, and agency policies is crucial to advocating effectively for our clients. One such policy, Directive 11005.3, titled “Using a Victim-Centered Approach with Noncitizen Crime Victims,” brings significant implications for noncitizens who have been victims of crimes.

Overview of the Directive

Directive 11005.3 underscores the importance of victim-based immigration benefits in encouraging noncitizen victims to seek assistance and report crimes, irrespective of their immigration status. It aligns with federal law enforcement agencies’ victim-centered approach, prioritizing victim identification and stabilization while pursuing perpetrator deterrence and prosecution. The ultimate goal is to minimize harm and trauma to victims, thereby enhancing public safety and trust in the justice system.

Key Points from the Directive

Protection from Enforcement Actions: ICE will generally refrain from civil immigration enforcement actions, including arrest, detention or removal, against known beneficiaries of victim-based immigration relief or those with pending applications, except under exceptional circumstances.

Applications Covered: The directive applies to various victim-based applications, including T and U visas, VAWA petitions, and petitions for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).

Expedited Adjudication: ICE will coordinate with USCIS to expedite the adjudication of victim-based applications, returning the original A-File to facilitate the process.

Stay of Removal: Noncitizens with pending victim-based relief applications facing removal orders should generally be granted a stay of removal, except in exceptional circumstances.

Enforcement Actions: ICE will not take enforcement actions against victims and witnesses of crime during criminal investigations and prosecutions, except in exceptional circumstances requiring approval from Headquarters Responsible Officials.


Understanding and advocating for agency adherence to ICE’s victim-centered approach directive are powerful, essential tools for representation of noncitizen victims of crimes.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime, trafficking, or other abuse and would like to know if ICE Directive 11005.3 can provide protection, please don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule a consultation.

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