USCIS and U.S. Senators respond with measures pushing for relief for victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda

The massive devastation and lack of resources to clean up and start recovery makes the Philippines seem like a lost cause. Filipinos who might otherwise consider visiting their friends and family in the U.S. may today be considering moving in with them, at least on a temporary basis, until they can get back on their feet.

Filipinos may find relief in applying for temporary protected status (“TPS”).

Philippine nationals in the U.S. are also concerned about being deported to a country no longer able to receive them. In response, the “American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) and a growing list of lawmakers have been petitioning the federal government to grant TPS to Philippine nationals who are here on temporary visas or without legal status.[i]” The Department of Homeland Security designates TPS eligibility for countries when conditions prevent the safe return of their nationals. Conditions of this sort are ongoing wars, extraordinary conditions and natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan. The USCIS website[ii] contains a list of countries currently designated for TPS including: El Salvador; Haiti; Honduras; Nicaragua; Somalia; Sudan; South Sudan; and Syria.

Click/Tap (or copy and paste into your browser) the link to the petition page: Grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Filipinos in the US to Sustain the Flow of Yolanda/Haiyan Relief Support.

Twenty senators sent the Obama administration a letter urging the grant of TPS to Filipino nationals. The senators stated that the conditions make the victims of Typhoon Haiyan eligible for the TPS designation and they urge prompt action. The letter requests an automatic extension of visas in categories where feasible and the temporary suspension of deportations to the Philippines and the use of alternatives to detention[iii].

USCIS responds with offers of relief for eligible Filipinos.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) acted, within a week of the typhoon hitting the Philippines on the 7th of November. On the 15th of November, USCIS released its statement offering immigration relief for eligible and affected Filipino nationals. Below is the bullet point list of relief measures listed on the USCIS website[iv]:

  • Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • Extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS;
  • Extension of certain grants of advance parole, and expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs);
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate; and
  • Assistance to LPRs stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards). USCIS and the Department of State will coordinate on these matters when the LPR is stranded in a place that has no local USCIS office.

If you are a Filipino in the U.S. and/or are seeking TPS for yourself or a friend or family member you may contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley for assistance in reviewing your current status and to apply for whatever relief for which you may be eligible.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the States 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.

Diversity Immigrant Visa program “Green Card Lottery”

You can't win if you don't play!

You can’t win if you don’t play!

The proposed immigration reform bill, S 744 could has disrupted the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, the lottery for lawful permanent residence better known at the “Green Card Lottery.” Under the current program, United States Permanent Resident Cards are provided by the U.S. State Department according to the congressionally mandated lottery system.

How the Lottery Works

When a potential immigrant is selected in the lottery, they must be eligible and be interviewed. Eligibility requirements include a high school diploma, equivalent, or two years of work equivalence in an occupation requiring at least two years of training. Applicants are asked to provide additional information about their education levels, current country of residence, lack of criminal history, and general admissibility issues under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Many praise the current lottery system and argue it should be preserved to ensure the continued benefits of a diverse immigrant pool.

What few people know is the diversity immigrants come from all over the world, with no more than 7% of issued visas going to immigrants from any single country. The net effect is representation in the diversity immigrant pool from some of the countries less considered when people discuss immigration. Currently a large number of lottery winners are coming from Africa and Europe.

The Argument for Diversity

Some claim there are benefits to diversity in immigration. Cited in a recent article[i] a new paper by Alberto Alesina[ii] and colleagues from Harvard University suggests benefits of the visa lottery system that allows for a more diverse immigrant pool. “Building on previous studies suggesting companies with more diverse management gain higher market share and profits, the authors similarly find that countries with more diverse foreign-born populations have more patents granted each year and higher overall incomes.”

An example of a lottery winners are Yuri and Lyudmila, a Russian couple who lived in a tiny apartment outside Kiev. The college educated couple worked hard but were not able to find many opportunities until good news came one day when they won U.S. green cards in the lottery and would be headed to Seattle! “Yuri and Lyudmila weren’t tech wizards; neither had ever owned a computer, and they didn’t speak much English. But the lottery required only that they have high-school diplomas and wouldn’t need financial assistance from the U.S. government.[iii]

Now U.S. homeowners, Yuri is a bus driver and works at Trader Joes while Lyudmila works as a bookkeeper.

Some critics of the diversity visa lottery system complain that at random, highly skilled (H-1B and L-1 visas) workers may arrive and remain on temporary visas alongside others immigrants with little or no skills other than general labor. What critics might not consider is the scarce opportunities to gain specialized skills in less developed nations where obstacles to someone’s future are removed in the U.S. At the end of the day, someone who wins any lottery may feel empowered to do great things.

Immigrants to the U.S. contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley for assistance with their visa petitions and the lottery process. 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] Bloomberg Businessweek: The U.S. Can’t Afford to Scrap the Visa Lottery. By Charles Kenny, Nov. 4, 2013.

[ii] Harvard University website: Alberto Alesina, Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy.

[iii] Bloomberg Businessweek: The U.S. Needs Immigrant Bus Drivers and Bookkeepers, Too. By Carol Matlack, Nov. 4, 2013.

The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) issues before the U.S. Supreme Court

Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio. Set for argument on Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio. Set for argument on Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

To be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this December 10, 2013 is the question whether children included as derivative beneficiaries on petitions filed by U.S. citizens are covered under the protection extended by the Child Status Protection Act, 8 U.S.C. §1153(h)(3). Cueller de Osorio’s mother, a U.S. citizen filed a petition for a visa (for a married daughter of a citizen) for her daughter in 1998 and on the petition, Cueller’s then 13 year-old son was listed as a derivative beneficiary. By the time his mother’s (the primary beneficiary of the visa petition) priority date for visa eligibility became current, the son “aged out” (losing “child” status) and the issue before the Court involves derivative visa eligibility and priority dates.

Will the court agree with the 9th Circuit that the derivative beneficiary’s priority date should be retained for purposes of being considered a “child” in light of the Child Status Protection Act?

The eligibility and priority date (and priority date retention) issues before the court involve the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) and its rules for determining whether certain aliens qualify as “children” under the act for the purposes of obtaining visas or adjustments to their immigration status. The court may address and interpret the language of the law in determining what happens when a primary beneficiary (mom) by law, has a different priority date of eligibility than would the derivative beneficiary (son) whose immigration status could be affected based on the determination of the son’s visa eligibility.

The priority date is important to understanding the issues before the Court in this case. A limited amount of immigrant visas may be issued every year by law[i]. An immigrant visa number distributed by the U.S. Department of State is issued to visa applicants in limited numbers (226,000 per year for family sponsored preference categories and 140,000 per year for employment based preference categories) in order of the preference category and the individual’s priority date, used to determine their place in line, specifically stating the date upon which the individual can apply for an immigrant visa when one becomes available.  There are also per country limits that have led to backlogs that are sometimes over 20 years long for certain countries such as the Philippines, Mexico, China, and India.

Did the derivative beneficiary son properly “age out” or should he be given “child” status?

In this case, in 2005, the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied a request for priority date retention under the CSPA, holding that Cuellar de Osorio’s son, at age 21 was ineligible for a derivative visa, despite her son being 13 when he was listed on his mother’s visa petition in 1998 as a derivative beneficiary.

CSPA became law August 6, 2002, and prior to its inception, a beneficiary (an alien who is sponsored by a relative or business, or has self-petitioned for an immigration benefit[ii]) who turned 21 years old any time before receiving permanent residence would not be a “child” for immigration purposes, hence the term “aging out” which CSPA may prevent. Aging out is an issue since the processing times for immigration petitions can be excessive. For purposes of immigration, a “child[iii]” is unmarried and under the age of 21 (as opposed to a “son” or “daughter” married and/or age 21 and over).

Definitions of “child(ren)” and retention of priority dates in the INA.

The Immigration and Nationality Act, in Section 1153(h)(3)[iv] defines the qualifications for “children” for the purposes of obtaining visas or immigration status adjustments as derivative beneficiaries of sponsored family member immigrants. The law is clear that an alien may qualify as “child” derivative beneficiaries on the filing date a visa petition. What’s unclear is what should happen if the putative “child” is 21 years old by the time the visa becomes available to the primary beneficiary. The Supreme Court must decide whether the Board of Immigration Appeals properly interpreted the law.

Section 1153(h)(3), Retention of priority date, states in pertinent part as follows: “If the age of an alien is determined under paragraph (1) to be 21 years of age or older for purposes of subsections (a)(2)(A) and (d) of this section, the alien’s petition shall automatically be converted to the appropriate category and the alien shall retain the original priority date issued upon the receipt of the original petition.”

In immigration law, the intersection of laws in the U.S. Code and USCIS policies are complex. Many immigrants fail to obtain legal status when they do not understand the nuances of immigration law. At the Law Office of KiKi M. Mosley, clients seek petitions for visas seeking to include derivative beneficiaries. 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.

Good news for immigration reform and undocumented immigrant drivers in Illinois

"Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives ready to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill, but she may never get the chance to prove it if GOP Speaker John A. Boehner doesn't bring a vote in the Republican-lead House."

“Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives ready to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill, but she may never get the chance to prove it if GOP Speaker John A. Boehner doesn’t bring a vote in the Republican-lead House.”

Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and those wishing to visit and live in the states are closer to experiencing a reformed immigration system. Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi said this week that there are enough votes in congress to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill. On Facebook, Pelosi stated, “With 28 Republicans having publicly expressed support for a path to citizenship we believe the votes are there on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill…It’s just a question whether Speaker Boehner can muster the will to schedule a vote.[i]

Most people agree that immigration reform is necessary and important, a key bipartisan agenda.

As we have recently reported news stories about immigration reform, both Democrats and Republicans are agreeing that reform to the existing immigration systems is necessary. Nevertheless, there are some different viewpoints and demands. Southern border security, for example, is a Republican agenda item. Meanwhile, asylum and provisional status for illegal immigrants already in the U.S. is the aim of several Democrats.

Bringing the community to the discussion, Pelosi, making her statements, did so by using Facebook as a platform for questions and answers. Responding to questions posted on her Facebook page about immigration, Pelosi addressed posters who shared stories about how badly the current system of immigration laws have hurt them and their families. Many people oppose the current years-long waits for families and spouses to join newly documented immigrants. In response, Pelosi stated, “This is a perfect example of why we need comprehensive immigration reform. One of the key goals of our bipartisan bill is to reunite families. We do this by including provisions that reduce family visa backlogs.[ii]

The Secretary of State's office issues a Temporary Visitor Driver's License (TVDL) for non-citizens of the United States who have been granted temporary, legal entry into this country and are temporarily residing in the State of Illinois and ineligible for a Social Security number.

The Secretary of State’s office issues a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) for non-citizens of the United States who have been granted temporary, legal entry into this country and are temporarily residing in the State of Illinois and ineligible for a Social Security number.

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune reports that, “As many as 500,000 people could eventually apply for the special permits,[iii]” that will be issued to the first immigrants living illegally in Illinois this December. The Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office will start processing applications on December 3, 2013 on a limited basis as part of the pilot program. There are four designated offices where applicants can apply for the Temporary Visitor Drivers License (TVDL) and take necessary tests and complete required paperwork.

The TVDL program in Illinois is another bipartisan success where both parties agreed that allowing immigrants on the path to legal status to drive legally, after being tested, and with insurance, on Illinois roadways. The temporary license is only issued by the state for the purpose of driving and it is not an otherwise proper form of identification like a standard issue drivers license which can be used for identification to fly, vote or buy a gun.

There are requirements for qualification and fees to be paid. An appointment must be scheduled because walk-ins will not be served. The appointments may be conducted in various languages. To learn more you can visit the Illinois Secretary of State’s website. There can be complications in the application process and if the applicant has been cited for driving violations in the past there could be eligibility concerns. For more information about qualifying for a TVDL you can contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the States 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] The Washington Times: Pelosi: Votes are there to pass immigration reform. By Jacqueline Klimas, Oct. 29, 2013.

[ii] See Washington Times article.