Chinese asylum applicant gets a second chance after winning an appeal

Chang Qiang Zhu’s asylum was denied because he failed his “bible quiz” on the story of Paul the Apostle

Chang Qiang Zhu’s asylum was denied because he failed his “bible quiz” on the story of Paul the Apostle

A Chinese immigrant, seeking asylum in the U.S. from his claims of religious persecution, will have a second chance at pleading his case to an immigration judge. According to U.S. Department of Justice reports, there were 44,170[i] foreign nationals who applied for asylum in 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available. A granting of asylum would allow them to indefinitely remain, lawfully, on U.S. soil. After being present for one year, they may apply to become a legal permanent resident. The same report indicates that 10,985 (by far the largest percentage) of asylum seekers were from China. Another report by the Human Rights Watch organization explains, “Against a backdrop of rapid socio-economic change and modernization, China continues to be an authoritarian one-party state that imposes sharp curbs on freedom of expression, association, and religion; openly rejects judicial independence and press freedom; and arbitrarily restricts and suppresses human rights defenders and organizations, often through extra-judicial measures.[ii]

Chang Qiang Zhu’s asylum was denied because he failed his “bible quiz” on the story of Paul the Apostle[iii].

The asylum process may include a hearing in an immigration court. In Zhu’s case, the immigration judge quizzed him about the story of Paul the Apostle. Also known as Saint Paul, he is widely considered among the most important Christian apostles who is said to have taught the gospel of Christ in the first century. The immigration judge, Barbara Nelson, is reported to have not believed Zhu’s response to her request to tell her the story of Paul the Apostle, and that he was evasive. Was Zhu honest in his application for asylum and was he in fact a follower of Christian Faith?

Pervasive Christian Faith persecution by the Chinese, along with Zhu’s claims that he was beaten and imprisoned for attending a church not allowed by the Chinese government could, in most cases, be sufficient grounds to apply for asylum protection in the U.S.   To be eligible for asylum, the applicant must establish their reasonable fear of persecution based upon at least one of the following grounds:

–  Race/Ethnicity

–  Religion

–  Nationality

–  Political opinion

–  Membership in a Particular Social Group

Back to the story of Mr. Zhu and his asylum application – his attorney got him a second chance.

The immigration attorney representing Zhu filed an appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals arguing that the judge was wrong for finding that Mr. Zhu was not credible because he may have been unclear about one particular Biblical story. The attorney told a reporter from the NY Daily News, ““You don’t have to know every fact to be a devout Christian…You can be very devout and not know everything. And the Bible doesn’t mandate that you have to know everything.” [iv]” The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, vacated the denial of asylum and Zhu’s application will be reviewed by a new judge. The initial immigration judge in Zhu’s 2009 hearing not only misapplied the law, but she also demonstrated a lack of competence applying her version of the law with a “Bible quiz.”  Fortunately, Zhu had a competent immigration attorney advocating for his rights.

Immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently represents asylum applicants at Asylum offices and immigration courts and can help asylum applicants at any part of the immigration 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.

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Criminal conduct can lead to nonimmigrant visa revocation and removal from the U.S.

Once a nonimmigrant visa is revoked ICE may initiate removal proceedings to deport the individual if they otherwise do not voluntary leave the U.S.

Once a nonimmigrant visa is revoked ICE may initiate removal proceedings to deport the individual if they otherwise do not voluntary leave the U.S.

Justin Bieber’s recent arrest in Florida for DUI, street racing and resisting arrest without violence has people talking about immigration as the singer is not an American citizen.  Bieber is a Canadian residing in the U.S. on a performance visa known as an O-1 visa, described by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) as follows: “The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.[i]” If convicted on pending and possible charges from several recent incidents, Bieber could be deported, according to one Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agent quoted in the article, “Justin Bieber Drugs, Rehab and Deportation According to ICE Official.[ii]

Nonimmigrant visas can be revoked for several reasons including criminal conduct.

When a nonimmigrant visa applicant seeks a visa to come to the U.S. to work, they apply through a U.S. embassy consular office and that visa can be revoked if the visa holder becomes ineligible to maintain the nonimmigrant visa, which can occur for a variety of reasons. There are criminal and related grounds for visa ineligibility, among other additional reasons a visa can be revoked.  An excerpt from the statute containing grounds for visa revocation identifies criminal and related issues and states, “…any alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of (I) a crime involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offense) or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime, or (II) a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance…[iii]

What constitutes a crime of moral turpitude, for purposes of visa ineligibility, is a unique question best answered on a case-by-case basis, and a licensed immigration attorney may be necessary to represent the nonimmigrant. While it may not always be clear what constitutes a crime for moral turpitude, it is clear that multiple criminal convictions can trigger visa revocation and deportation. In addition to what is stated above, the ineligibility statute also states regarding multiple convictions, “Any alien convicted of 2 or more offenses (other than purely political offenses), regardless of whether the conviction was in a single trial or whether the offenses arose from a single scheme of misconduct and regardless of whether the offenses involved moral turpitude, for which the aggregate sentences to confinement were 5 years or more is inadmissible.” In other words, the combination of options that could trigger visa revocation can be complex.

What happens if a nonimmigrant visa is revoked as a result of criminal activity?

If revoked, the visa will be stamped “REVOKED” and if the visa holder is not present at the time of revocation (or the visa is not available) additional authorities may be notified, including airline personnel. Once a visa is revoked the holder will not be permitted to enter the U.S. and can be detained while traveling to the U.S. Once a nonimmigrant visa is revoked ICE may initiate removal proceedings to deport the individual if they otherwise do not voluntary leave the U.S. Note that ICE may use “prosecutorial discretion” in deciding whether to proceed with removal. Click/tap here to read more about prosecutorial discretion.

Removal proceedings can be challenged and a visa reinstatement may also be applied for by the nonimmigrant visa holder and/or their attorney. The complex immigration and criminal law rules are best followed with an experienced licensed immigration attorney who understands the effect of the options available in criminal courts and how they can affect nonimmigrant visa status.

If you or someone you know who holds a nonimmigrant visa is involved in police activity and is charged with an offense, which if convicted could trigger deportation, you can call the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley to learn what options are available to prevent being deported. 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.

Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement

What happens if an undocumented person is detained by ICE but poses no significant threat to safety or security?

What happens if an undocumented person is detained by ICE but poses no significant threat to safety or security?

A recent article in the L.A. Times highlighted a reported rise in the use of prosecutorial discretion in United States immigration system. There are many undocumented immigrants in the U.S., many of whom want nothing more than to reside in the U.S. legally in hope of eventually obtaining U.S. citizenship. ICE officers and their departments are under a directive to prioritize whom they prosecute under the current immigration laws for removal.  They are expected to target those with criminal backgrounds and those whom they otherwise believe pose a threat to national security.

The article on prosecutorial discretion suggests that, “Immigrants facing deportation are increasingly likely to have their cases dismissed because of mitigating factors such as having U.S. citizen children, according to an analysis by researchers at Syracuse University.”[i]  In reality, the use of prosecutorial discretion varies widely between jurisdictions and is often up to the attorney assigned to the case at that particular time by the Office of Chief Counsel for DSH/ICE.

Prosecutorial discretion in immigration means ICE should focus on national security and public safety.

In 2011, the director of ICE, Mr. John Morton, issued a memorandum directing that immigration officials review a few factors before making the decision to prosecute the individual and seek a removal order from the very busy immigration courts. Factors for consideration include how many years the person has been living in the U.S., how and when they arrived in the U.S. (as a child 10 years ago?), whether their family members served in the military, and also the person’s relationship to other family members who are U.S. citizens[ii].

The 2011 orders sent to ICE field office directors, special agents in charge and chief counsel focus on the civil immigration enforcement priorities. The memo states in its “Background” section that, “ICE must prioritize the use of its enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal assets to ensure that the aliens it removes represent, as much as reasonably possible, the agency’s enforcement priorities, namely the promotion of national security, border security, public safety, and the integrity of the immigration system.”

What happens if an undocumented person is detained by ICE but poses no significant threat to safety or security?

If an undocumented immigrant is arrested and detained on suspicion of being a threat to public safety, as ICE memorandums describe, an attorney can intervene and work to negotiate a release or dismissal of pending charges, as suggested in the Los Angeles Times article suggesting more frequently, ICE is using prosecutorial discretion and letting people go about their lives.  If you want to learn more about prosecutorial discretion or believe someone you know if being improperly detained and prosecuted you can call attorney KiKi M. Mosley to find out what options might be available to help.

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] Los Angeles Times: Prosecutorial discretion on the rise in immigration courts. By Cindy Chang. Jan. 15, 2014

[ii] U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum. By John Morton, June 17, 2011.

H-1B and other nonimmigrant work visas

There is a broad range of eligible professionals who make up the H-1B visa population.

There is a broad range of eligible professionals who make up the H-1B visa population.

Every year a limited number of nonimmigrant specialty workers have the opportunity to come to the U.S. on a temporary basis on employment-based visas.  Although these types of visas are geared towards professionals who hold a Bachelors degree or equivalent, information technology professionals account for a significant number of the beneficiaries of this type of temporary worker (H-1B) visas. The U.S. Department of State whose website contains more detailed explanations and resources issues fixed duration H-1B visas for eligible applicants[i]  who are outside the United States.  The USCIS website[ii] contains instructions and information on H-1B visas for professionals who seek to change their status from another nonimmigrant status or who seek to extend or amend their current H-1B status while they are in the U.S.

There is a broad range of eligible professionals who make up the H-1B visa population.

Eligible applicants for temporary worker visas must have the minimum of a have a Bachelor’s or equivalent.  Foreign degrees equivalent to the Bachelors and Masters should qualify for H-1B eligibility, however the degrees and work experience must be evaluated by an accredited evaluation service in the United States. The occupations in which foreign workers are engaged range from engineering and physical sciences to business, communication, and technologies. Service industry professionals including librarians, musicians, teachers, lawyers and judges may also enter the U.S. as nonimmigrants with H-1B visas in fixed duration and scope.

Limitations in temporary three-year periods of time and in limitations in the total number of new visas issued by the U.S. Department of State/USCIS each year differentiate the scope of H-1B visas from other temporary worker visas like the H-2A/B visas for temporary seasonal workers in agriculture or resorts, for example. There is also separate quota each year for Masters Degree holders that when reached allows Masters degree holders to be considered for visas initially allotted for Bachelor’s degree beneficiaries.  There are additional other types of work visas for unique circumstances and an experienced attorney should be consulted to ensure an application for the correct type of visa. Attorneys also help with soon to be expired visas, transfers, and applications for additional options to continue work, study or potential immigrant status in the U.S. based upon employment or family petitioners. 

H-1B visas are high competitive and applications are accepted annually beginning April 1st of each year for employment beginning October 1st of that same year.  In 2013, as we have seen in years previous, H-1B visa quotas were reached in one (1) week.  It is therefore essential to for companies to begin preparing immediately for their temporary worker needs.  To obtain an H-1B visa a petitioning company is legally obligated to pay for any and all filing fees and attorney’s fees as well as pay, at minimum, a federally determined prevailing wage as set by the Department of Labor. 

Families of H-1B workers may also apply to enter the U.S. with the H-4 visa, which has a separate process for approving applications, separate of the H-1B process. Family of worker visa recipients can be obtained from U.S. consulate offices in the originating country or USCIS processed as a change of status. Family members in the U.S. on H-4 visas may study at any university in the U.S. but they may not work in the U.S. under any circumstance. While in the U.S., an H-4 dependent must apply to change their immigration status and if they wish to work in the U.S., they can even apply to change to an H-1B visa, just like their originally eligible family member.

Immigration attorneys represent clients with the complex worker visa application process.

Applications for visas take several steps and must occur in proper order in accordance with the rules at the U.S. embassy where you apply. Experienced immigration attorneys know how to navigate the procedures involved in the application process, including the visa documentation and interview requirements, what a client should do to prepare, and what they can expect to happen. Additional information can be demanded during the processing period. Visa wait and processing times can be long and attorneys help with applications to expedite processing when it is appropriate.

Nonimmigrant professionals and their families who wish to enter the U.S. with temporary worker and family visas may contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley for assistance with their worker visa applications. 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. Ms. Mosley has worked extensively with companies to provide for their H-1B visas, L-1 visas, and PERM needs.  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] U.S. Department of State website: Temporary Worker Visas

[ii] U.S. Customs and Immigration Services: Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers

Visa waivers and travel to and within the U.S. without a generally required visa

Participating Visa Waiver Countries

Participating Visa Waiver Countries

Non-citizens of the United States are welcome to travel to the U.S. with the traditional visitor (B) visa for specific purposes not including study for credit, employment, foreign press/media/journalism, or permanent residence in the U.S. The alternative to traveling a B visa is the visa waiver accompanied by a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (“ESTA”). The rules for visa waivers are strict and require compliance with the elements and processes for authorized travel to and within the U.S. without the traditionally required visa[i].

The elements and requirements for visa waivers can be complex and you may call the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley with any questions.

First, to be eligible to travel to the U.S. on a visa waiver, the applicant must be a citizen of one of the 37 visa waiver participant countries, most of which are developed countries with whom the U.S. communicates well with respect to nationalization and travel matters. Second, before applying for a visa waiver, the applicant must obtain a valid ESTA status to travel. The ESTA web page explains this web-based system used to determine eligibility to travel to the U.S.[ii] Third, the individual who wants to travel to the U.S. must do so by an approved air or sea carrier on a round trip ticket issued with a return date to the foreign nation within 90 days of arrival on U.S. soil if all the other requirements are met.

Permitted reasons for travel are generally business or traditional visitor and tourist activity. Business activities include consulting with business associates or negotiating contracts. Additionally, a business traveler might come to the U.S. on a visa waiver to attend a business industry conference or for the purposes of short term training, so long as it is not paid by a U.S. source because employment is not allowed on a visa waiver. Tourists and visitors may apply to travel on a visa waiver to see friends and relatives, for a U.S. vacation, to attend social events, attend sports or music events and even to obtain medical treatment. Short-term education courses can also be a basis to travel to the U.S., so long as they are not courses offering credit towards a degree. For your specific reason for travel and to make sure you do not make any mistakes, consulting with an attorney can help you make sure the desired travel is lawful and does not cause a future problem with travel to and with the U.S.

The U.S. Department of State and Homeland Security require strict compliance with all rules and processes, often requiring the assistance of a licensed immigration attorney.

Anyone traveling to the U.S. under any type of lawful permission such as a visa or visa waiver should be concerned about full compliance with U.S. law. If, for example, a previous visa application was denied, a subsequent application may be denied based on the first denial. Likewise, if an applicant previously traveled legally to the U.S. and experienced a compliance issue, that may be used to deny a later application to obtain a visa to travel to the U.S. The correct valid type of passport from another issuing country is also important in the visa and waiver application processes. If an applicant only has one chance at getting the application approved it makes sense to hire an immigration attorney to review an application and advise the individual. Taking the extra effort to travel properly is important.

If you are planning a trip to the U.S. and think the visa waiver might be a good option, please inquire directly for more information. 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 and can help with the process of applying for and maintaining student visas. 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] U.S. Department of State: Visa Waiver Program website

[ii] U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Electronic System for Travel Authorization website