More immigration lawyers are serving undocumented immigrants than ever before according to recent reports

Over the past five years, the number of undocumented immigrants in the court system who hire lawyers increased by 20 percent.

Over the past five years, the number of undocumented immigrants in the court system who hire lawyers increased by 20 percent.

Undocumented immigrants are hiring lawyers much more frequently now than just as recent as five years ago.   Many immigration attorneys serve clients who might fall through the cracks in the system.  What may seem like a simple application or petition can easily turn into a nightmare if it is not perfectly prepared and timely submitted, to keep it from being rejected, denied, or causing the initiation of removal proceedings.

Additional funding allows more attorneys to help undocumented immigrants.

In the process of deportation/removal, attorneys may be available for those who cannot afford them through pro bono programs which are also increasing in number. Third party groups are funded in some cases by government money. For example, Health and Human services funds organizations that help juveniles in need legal representation in immigration court. Here is a link to a catalog published several years ago, but demonstrating the number of options for funding: Federal Funds for Organizations That Help Those In Need.

Over the past five years, the number of undocumented immigrants in the court system who hire lawyers increased by 20 percent. According to recent figures from the 2013 statistical yearbook,[1] “In 2013, 59 percent of those in immigration proceedings had legal representation…in 2009, just 39 percent had lawyers.[2]” As the debates in Washington continue over comprehensive immigration reform, more undocumented immigrants being held in detention centers, and in removal proceedings, are speaking up and capturing the attention of the media and lawmakers. The harsh realities of the outdated system are becoming more widely known and this additional exposure helps more lawyers get involved in representing undocumented immigrants in courts.

Getting it wrong can be tragic and immigrants facing removal benefit from having an immigration attorney.

The system is so complex and it is nearly impossible for anyone not trained in immigration law to navigate immigration courts without an attorney. Over the past few years, many of the options for immigration relief come from executive actions and administrative policy decisions. So, where the general rule of law may state one position, an executive order may indicate certain situations where the rule of law will not be enforced or there could be a deferral to enforcement.

More immigrants have lawyers and more are winning their cases according to analysis by Syracuse University, “The US government has been losing more deportation cases each year since 2009, according to the Transaction Records Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which collects and studies federal prosecution records.[3]” The same study also notes that the overall number of removal proceedings has decreased which is good news giving hope to more undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. To learn more about how Attorney KiKi M. Mosley helps undocumented immigrants facing removal, please contact the law firm using the links below.

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 including applications for temporary immigration relief, deportation defense, and adjustments of status. For more information about the law firm, please visitwww.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm onFacebook and “Follow” onTwitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[1] Executive Office for Immigration Reform, 2013 statistical yearbook.

[2] National Law Journal: Undocumented Immigrants Are Lawyering Up. By Elahe Izadi, Apr.21, 2014.

[3] The Christian Science Monitor: Immigration reform: More and more deportations are defeated in court. By Alicia Caldwell (AP), Feb. 13, 2014.

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients can apply for DACA renewals as soon as late May

Contact your immigration attorney and get moving quickly so you do not lose your deferred status.

Contact your immigration attorney and get moving quickly so you do not lose your deferred status.

Over half a million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program recipients will have the opportunity to apply to renew their applications for Deferred Action. DACA was signed by President Obama on June 15, 2012 and became effective August 15, 2012 to defer removal action and give protection to undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and have actively sought an education or served in the armed forces. The opportunity to apply for DACA renewal will be available late in late May as explained in the April 9, 2014 notice published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process.

DACA program recipients DO NOT receive automatic renewals.

The DACA renewal form will be available late May 2014. Part of the renewal process requires applicants to submit evidence regarding any criminal histories or proceedings as well as any removal proceedings in which the applicant may be involved. The processing time for DACA renewals should be 120 days[1] according to USCIS. In its update, which is preliminary and subject to change, USCIS acknowledges that the number of applicants is significant and therefore it recommends DACA renewal applicants submit their applications between 120 and 150 days before their DACA expiration date.

The DACA program and policies are ripe for inclusion in comprehensive immigration reform. For example, the current policy does not include automatic renewal. It might be a good practice to allow conditional automatic renewals with a window of time for the applicant to submit their evidence of a lack of removal proceeding or criminal histories. As for now, there is no automatic renewal, which puts some DACA recipients at risk. It is possible the processing time exceeds expectation, some renewal applicants’ deferrals will expire, and those applicants will become unlawfully present which can lead to problems including loss of work authorizations.

Contact your immigration attorney and get moving quickly so you do not lose your deferred status.

Since there is a risk of losing deferred status, it is important that DACA renewal applicants act quickly to obtain all necessary information to help their attorney properly prepare and file the renewal form with required documentation. A lapse in legal status can cause significant problems for undocumented immigrants and it is strongly recommended that DACA renewal applicants seek advice and representation by an experienced licensed immigration attorney who has significant experience with complex immigration law and policy.

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley closely follows updates in the DACA program and will share the final details regarding DACA renewals when the application is released by USCIS in late May. 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 including applications for temporary immigration relief and adjustments of immigration status. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[1] American Immigration Council, Immigration Impact: USCIS Releases Information About DACA Renewal Process. By Patrick Turel, Apr. 10, 2014.

Victims of crimes and their families can get legal immigration status with the U visa program

The U visa program creates the special exception and opportunity for legal status, encouraging undocumented immigrants to work with law enforcement to solve crimes and prosecute offenders.

The U visa program creates the special exception and opportunity for legal status, encouraging undocumented immigrants to work with law enforcement to solve crimes and prosecute offenders.

The victims of certain crimes face so many challenges in getting back to “normal,” which can be even more difficult for an undocumented immigrant living in the U.S. There may be hope, however, for some immigrants who offer their assistance to law enforcement officers in exchange for the opportunity to apply for legal immigration status through the U visa program. There are some limitations and the applicants for U visas must meet qualifying requirements. Under the U visa program, the qualifying family members of the applicant may in certain circumstances, also receive legal status.

Law enforcement investigating human trafficking, sex crimes and domestic violence frequently investigate crimes where victims, aggressors and witnesses may be undocumented immigrants. Knowing they are not lawfully present on U.S. soil, an immigrant is not likely to speak with or be anywhere near law enforcement personnel for fear they will be arrested and deported. The U visa program creates the special exception and opportunity for legal status, encouraging undocumented immigrants to work with law enforcement to solve crimes and prosecute offenders.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley comments on the value of U Visas:

“I think that U visas offer an avenue for victims of certain crimes to have access to lawful status, where they would not otherwise under the current immigration law.  Specifically, individuals brought in as young children who have suffered abuse or are victims of one or more of the qualifying crimes who otherwise have no other options may have a path to permanent residency and eventually citizenship.  Sadly, perpetrators of some of the most violent crimes prey upon victims whom they know to be undocumented as they are terrified of encountering law enforcement and are therefore hesitant to file charges and/or pursue prosecution.” Attorney KiKi M. Mosley plays an active role in advocating for immigrants in need of legal relief for a variety of reasons. She also takes part in the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago (“LAF”)’s DACA/U-Visa pro bono program.

Only 10,000 U visas are available every year and since the U visa program began in 2008, almost 90,000 U visas have been issued to qualifying applicants and their family members according to a recent report.[1] The beneficiaries of the U visa program receive four years of legal status and an employment authorization. Legal status may be extended where necessary and permanent residency may be available for the beneficiary and their family members where appropriate.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services lists U nonimmigrant visa eligibility[2] on their website:

  • You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
  • You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
  • You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf (see glossary for definition of ‘next friend’).
  • You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
  • The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
  • You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a waiver on a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant.

The qualifications for U visas and the list of potential roadblocks can be challenging. Because the benefits are great, there is a concern for fraudulent applications, and a skilled immigration attorney is recommended to nonimmigrants seeking U visas in connection with their cooperation with law enforcement when they are victims of qualifying crimes. Attorneys advocate for applicants who are not otherwise able to navigate the complex system and processes required to obtain a U visa.

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 including applications for temporary immigration relief and adjustments of immigration status. For more information about the law firm, please visitwww.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[1] Global Nation, Inquirer.net, U visas available for out-of-status immigrants in US who are victims of certain crimes. By Mary Carmen Madrid-Crost, Apr. 9, 2014.

[2] USCIS website: Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status.

Annual H-1B Fiscal Year Cap Season: Many who play this “lottery” will not win.

Many employers and economists value the benefit of the H-1B visa program to the U.S. economy.

Many employers and economists value the benefit of the H-1B visa program to the U.S. economy.

April 1st commences the H-1B temporary worker application season in immigration when employers file their H-1B visa applications with the two federal processing facilities located in Vermont and California. Many U.S. businesses, particularly in technology, use the H-1B visa program to hire high-skilled foreign workers, many with advanced degrees, in specialty occupations. The “lottery” system limits the number of temporary worker visas by a 65,000 regular cap amount and a 20,000 masters exemption cap on H-1B workers with advanced degrees[i]. Half of the applications will be kicked out by a random computer-generated lottery system. Applications are accepted for five days and then the lottery begins. Congress limits the limitation of annual H-1Bs approved and that limit has been set since 1990 – many agree that the “lottery” system is broken.

Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (an independent non-partisan office) reported, “a modest increase in H-1B visas and green cards for high-skilled workers would reduce budget deficits by $110 billion over the next 10 years.[ii]” Despite the projected economic benefit, the H-1B program remains inflexibly stuck in the past pending immigration reform.

Many employers and economists value the benefit of the H-1B visa program to the U.S. economy.

Why should Congress increase the H-1B limit? Simply, the demand exists and it is good for business and our U.S. economy. The technology industry needs workers with specialized research and engineering skills. General Counsel for Microsoft, Brad Smith, told NPR in a recent article, “We need to continue to attract some of the best and brightest people in the world to come and join us in world-leading [research and development] efforts.[iii]” The NPR article highlights the number of consulting companies using H-1B contract workers and the cost savings to American companies.

Close to half of the H-1B visas issued go to offshore outsource companies, according to Ron Hira, professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. According to Hira, “What these firms have done is exploit the loopholes in the H-1B program to bring in on-site workers to learn the jobs [of] the Americans to then ship it back offshore,” he says. “And also to bring in on-site workers who are chapter on the H-1B and undercut American workers right here.”

The H-1B temporary worker program is a component of much needed immigration reform.

Whether you are for or against some of the ways temporary worker visas are used by companies, the argument for reform of the H-1B program and Comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”) is compelling. The CIR that passed the Senate would increase the H-1B visa cap from 65,000 to 110,000 per year and included several provisions to benefit highly skilled workers and individuals with extraordinary abilities, especially in research, education and business. Click the link to view the Summary of H-1B Visa Changes, Green Card, Startup Visa in 2013 Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

In her April 1, 2014 editorial, Eleanor Pelta, American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) Past President pokes fun at the foolishness (pun-intended) of the failure to fix the limited lottery system. “It is foolish to place artificial limits on the number of smart and highly educated professionals who can come here to work for U.S. employers, when it is obvious that the number of H-1B applications filed each year is well regulated by market demand,[iv]” says Pelta. From the supply and demand model underlying our economy, her statement makes sense and businesses should be able to be competitive and hire the best talent and satisfy job demands.

If you are hiring an H-1B visa worker or if you are an immigrant in the U.S. on a temporary worker visa and need to adjust your immigration status, Attorney KiKi M. Mosley can help answer questions and represent you in the 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 including PIP and adjustments of immigration status. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i][i] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Cap Season.

[ii] The Hill: Immigration lottery limits US employers. By Lynden Melmed. Apr. 1, 2014.

[iii] NPR blogs: Who’s Hiring H-1B Visa Workers? It’s Not Who You Might Think. By Martin Kaste, Apr. 3, 2013.

[iv] AILA Leadership Blog: America’s April Fools’ Lottery Is No Laughing Matter. By Eleanor Pelta, Apr. 1, 2014.