The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) produced this report “Shining a Light on the “S” Visa: A Long History of Unfulfilled Promises and Bureaucratic Red Tape.” An S-visa, sometimes referred to as a “snitch visa,” offers temporary residency status to immigrants who “are willing to supply…critical reliable information” to U.S. law enforcement. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(S).
The NACDL report reveals how often the government uses the S-visa to entice immigrants into becoming informants, sometimes at great risk to themselves and their families, even though almost none ever actually receive the visa. The phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the immigration relief “dangle.” See also this story from the Intercept: “Federal Informants are Often Promised Visas. They Rarely Materialize.”