Update on immigration reform after the government shutdown

The shutdown did not only stall reform progress, it also closed many immigration courts and affected thousands of applicants, particularly those seeking asylum.

The shutdown did not only stall reform progress, it also closed many immigration courts and affected thousands of applicants, particularly those seeking asylum.

President Obama and congressional Democrats are ready to move full speed ahead with “an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws including citizenship for the nation’s 12 million undocumented immigrants,[i]” according to a recent USA Today article.

At the White House on Thursday, President Obama said “the American people are completely fed up with Washington.[ii]

The recent government shutdown directly affected immigration reform efforts because congress had to shift focus to a budget agreement. People took notice and rallied for attention to the need for comprehensive immigration reform. 200 people rallied in a march in Washington last week and 300 small evangelical organizations in 30 states launched a nine-day prayer campaign for reform.[iii]

The shutdown did not only stall reform progress, it also closed many immigration courts and affected thousands of applicants, particularly those seeking asylum. In a recent blog we introduced you to Dr. Vakumba, a physician who sought asylum whose family has been away from him for several years. His child, sick with a brain tumor, will be allowed to come to the U.S. with the family for treatment, but the shutdown closed the court where the one remaining judge’s signature Vakumba needed.[iv]

Dr. Vakumba may be able to resume bringing his sick child to the U.S. for treatment with hopes nothing has gone stale. Similarly, many hope immigration reform efforts have not gone stale.

In order to pass immigration reform, the budgets are going to need trimming if hands will shake from across the aisle. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio was is quoted  as saying, “he is committed to advancing immigration legislation in this Congress but there is virtually no interest among GOP lawmakers to vote for the kind of sweeping bill that Democrats are seeking.[v]

Some GOP lawmakers suggest it may take more than a year to agree on how to accomplish reform. Sticking points mentioned include a majority of House Republicans opposed to allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship after being in the U.S. for 13 years (often referred to as “amnesty”).

Procedurally, there may be a ray of light shining on reform hopefuls, because according to the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Xavier Becerra, R-Calif,. “Boehner has violated the so-called ‘Hastert Rule’ – requiring support from a majority of the majority party in the House before a bill can come to the floor.[vi]” If what happened at Boehner’s direction on critical votes such as relief for Superstorm Sandy victims, by the same theory of a relaxed ‘Hastert Rule’ a vast majority of Democrats and small number of Republicans could accomplish immigration reform laws.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley interviewed about immigration reform and new immigration options

Chicago Immigration Attorney, KiKi M. Mosley was recently interviewed on the Law Talk Radio Internet radio podcast regarding immigration reform and new options for immigrants seeking legal status.

Immigration reform has been in the spotlight of several news programs, professional groups and several websites and social media pages devoted to the development of a United States immigration system that reflects present day values, politics and a mobile work force. Comprehensive reform remains a goal of many and today immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosely is our guest to share correct information about the status of immigration and reform today.

Immigration reform has been in the spotlight of several news programs, professional groups and several websites and social media pages devoted to the development of a United States immigration system that reflects present day values, politics and a mobile work force. Comprehensive reform remains a goal of many and today immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosely is our guest to share correct information about the status of immigration and reform today.

Attorney Mosley explained that comprehensive immigration reform is not yet the law in the United States. Rather, the proposed bill better known as “Boarder Security Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, also known as S744,” did pass the United States Senate but it failed in the House of Representatives.   Attorney Mosley further stated that she receives two to three calls per day from people seeking protection under what they believe is the new immigration reform law. Additionally, she suggests that what we may end up seeing in the way of reform could appear somewhat different from the currently proposed bill.

Is there a reason opponents to S744 dislike the bill or is this just partisan opposition?

The main sticking point according to Attorney Mosley is Southern border security, and many Republican oppose the current bill as written. The five main sections of the current bill are generally referred to as: Boarder Security; Immigrant Visas; Interior Enforcement (of current immigration laws); Reform to the Non-Immigrant Visa program; and Jobs for Youths.

Topics covered in the Law Talk Radio interview, (click/tap the title to listen) “About Immigration Reform and Options with KiKi M. Mosley” include the following: (1) The status of our immigration system today and the issues regarding reform; (2) What immigrants to the U.S. should know about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); (3) Provisional (Stateside) Waivers, who may apply for them and what is involved; (4) Additional advice for men, women and families desiring U.S. citizenship.

Highlights of this interview address immigration reform, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Provisional Waivers and immigration information, generally.

Everyone wants “the new law,” but again, things are still in the air until the House of Representatives votes to pass a version of the Act satisfying Southern Border Security concerns.

What is unique about the Bill as proposed are the five elements are tied together with a system of triggers and stages. By example, in order for the Registered Provisional Immigrant Status, to come into effect, which would allow undocumented immigrants “come online” and drive legally, and make steps to move closer to lawful permanent residence, this subsection may require agreement and accomplishment on Southern Border Security.

Attorney Mosley also opined that many of the members of the House of Representatives are not happy with the notion that several thousand undocumented immigrants who entered illegally may be rewarded with a Registered Provisional Immigrant Status. She identified a few bars to this status, such as drinking and driving violations, criminal convictions, domestic violence infractions and so forth.

Listen to the interview by clicking/tapping here to listen to further detail and explanations about the RPI program and more immigration reform issues including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Provisional (Stateside) Waivers.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.

Government shutdown: Many asylum courts are closed but USCIS is still processing applications and ICE is still making arrests.

Petitions for political asylum and non-emergency deportation cases are among the matters that could be delayed for months if the shutdown lasts more than a few days, according to immigration lawyers and advocates.

Petitions for political asylum and non-emergency deportation cases are among the matters that could be delayed for months if the shutdown lasts more than a few days, according to immigration lawyers and advocates.

Despite the temporary shutdown of the U.S. Government’s non-essential services, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is processing applications and ICE officers are still making immigration arrests. Having said that, a recent ABC News article contains a list of ways the shutdown will affect immigration agencies, including immigration paperwork, enforcement, guarding the border, processing visas and passports and immigration courts. What few people might know is that USCIS is “almost entirely self-funded.” The article further explains that, “The fees they charge cover 95 percent of their budget, according to spokesperson Christopher Bentley.[i]

While immigration courts remain partly open, political asylum cases delayed which adds insult to injury to people already in a bad place.

“The shutdown is monumental for my clients most in need. Those who are in removal proceedings are facing years of further delay because only detained dockets are active and the asylum offices are greatly affected. These are the most vulnerable people in the immigration system.” Attorney KiKi M. Mosley.

Backups in asylum courts already make it difficult for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. seeking asylum from persecution in their home country. Currently 16 immigration courts are closed and 42 are still open, and 23 of them handle only detained immigrants. Reported in a recent Washington Post article, “The asylum process, advocates in the Washington area and elsewhere said, is especially backed up, with about 350,000 cases pending before immigration judges.[ii]” The article continues to report that delays in securing trial dates for asylum hearings could be months or years.

A Los Angeles attorney who works with the Public Counsel agency has a client who is a prime example of those victimized by the system: Mr. Didier Vakumba, 43, “a medical doctor who fled his native Congo five years ago after he said police jailed and brutalized him for revealing human rights atrocities to foreign monitors.”

Dr. Vakumba’s family and sick child with a brain tumor are now in limbo because the final judge’s signature is unavailable because the court was suspended due to the shutdown.

Doctor Vakumba and his family have spent several years waiting for his asylum petition to “work its way through the system.” While he’s been in California, his wife and children have not been with him and are in another country in Africa where they sought refuge. Vakumba’s petitions, under dubious circumstances, were approved by the immigration court to bring his family to the U.S. so his child with a brain tumor could receive emergency medical care. The shutdown brought everything to a halt and, because he is missing one more judge’s signature, from a court that has been suspended, Vakumba’s progress has also been suspended. “I am happy because I finally won my case, but I am frustrated, too,” Vakumba said Tuesday afternoon, speaking a mixture of French and Spanish. “I have been waiting a very long time to see my family.”

While many people say they are not affected by the current shutdown, some families like Dr. Vakumba’s are decimated over the tragedies in which they find themselves, waiting for stubborn politicians to agree on matters to get the country back on track and restore the hopes and dreams of asylum seekers. If you would like more information about the shutdown and how it may affect your asylum case or know someone seeking refuge, please be in touch with the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.


[i] ABC News: Here’s How the Shutdown Affects Immigration Services. By Ted Hesson, Oct. 1, 2013.

[ii] The Washington Post: Immigration courts remain partly open but political asylum cases delayed. By Pam Constable, Oct. 1, 2013.