Cap quickly reached on visas for crime victims

McALLEN, Texas-- Less than 2 1/2 months into the fiscal year, the federal government has reached its cap on a special visa offered to victims of certain serious crimes.

The so-called U visas are a key instrument helping authorities investigate crimes, such as sexual assault and human trafficking, against those who do not have legal status in the country.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it's the fastest the statutory cap of 10,000 U visas has ever been reached. The government started issuing the visas in 2008. The agency announced the cap was reached Wednesday.

The agency continues accepting and reviewing petitions. Those deemed eligible are placed on a waiting list and will be in line to receive a U visa when next year's allotment is offered beginning Oct. 1.