LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ — Teodora Cuevas Martinez never thought she would feel unsafe in her own home in Litchfield Park.
Police records show, about three years ago a man followed Teodora to her front yard, attempted to go inside her home, and attacked her husband with a deadly weapon.
“I went outside and confronted him and he admitted to following my wife and threatened me with a knife,” said Raymundo Jimenez-Feria.
Jimenez Feria says his wife came outside and dialed 911 which caused the assailant to try to attack Teodora.
“The moment I saw blood, I felt that’s it! It’s over.”
“I got on top of him and tried to take away the weapon from him to defend my wife and that’s when he stabbed me in the ear. The moment I saw blood I felt that’s it! it’s over” stated Jimenez-Feria.
These pictures show the aftermath of the attack.
Now three years later Jimenez-Feria carries more than trauma with him. He struggles to hear, loses balance, and can’t sleep due to the pain.
As a victim of a crime and because he helped police to arrest a dangerous person in the community, Jimenez-Feria qualifies for a U-visa. But the first step for the process is obtaining an immigration form signed by the police department responding to the scene.
It is not the approval of a U-visa, the signature basically certifies that Jimenez-Feria is a victim of a crime. Something Jimenez-Feria says he’s been trying to get for three years with the help of two different attorneys.
“It’s incredible that he hasn’t had the process signed because Phoenix, Glendale, most of the police departments have a really good process. I don’t think that more than 90 days go by before you get a positive or negative response,” stated immigration lawyer Ezequiel Hernandez.
Hernandez is representing the family now, he says they’re not arguing that his client should have the signature because police agencies are not obligated to follow, but they should at least get a response.
“It’s up to the police department or government entity, but we need a better process, if you’re going to deny it at least provide a letter."
U-visas were created by congress 20 years ago with the purpose of encouraging immigrants to report crimes and to offer them protection after helping with police investigations.
Hernandez says having victims like Jimenez-Feria waiting for this long sends the wrong message.
“For criminals to continue to prey upon individuals who don’t have documents and won’t call the police because even if they do they’re ignored.”
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, they’ve processed 49 U-visa forms this year. They say, 37 of those were approved with a signature and 10 were denied for various reasons. The rest of them were forwarded to the correct police agency.
They informed ABC15 that they were unable to locate Jimenez-Feria’s petition, but got in contact with his lawyer.
If you’re having issues submitting your U-Visa petition (I-918 Supplement B) to MCSO, the new process requires you to send it via email at: uvisas@mcso.Maricopa.gov.