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 The harsh realities of the outdated system are becoming more widely known and this additional exposure helps more lawyers get involved in representing undocumented immigrants in courts.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.

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.

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

About student visas and opportunities to study in the U.S.

"Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. You must have a student visa to study in the United States." U.S. Department of State

“Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. You must have a student visa to study in the United States.” U.S. Department of State

High school students who grow up in prospering, yet still developing countries, have many choices to make when they consider their options for college. Many more of these students now consider colleges and universities in the U.S. Current social media enhances these families ability to explore what the United States has to offer, educationally.   The U.S. Department of State issues student visas, often known as F-1 and M-1 visas, allowing a citizen of a foreign country to enter the U.S. to study at an approved school. The F-1 visa is the most commonly issued visa covering most forms of study, most commonly high school, college, and private elementary schools (often used by the children of foreign workers living in the U.S.), while the M-1 visa is specifically reserved for vocational and technical schools[i]. There are several visa options that match the duration and type of education program involved.

Before applying for a visa, the student must first be accepted to an approved school.

If students first apply and are accepted to approved schools, they are then able to apply for the proper student visa through a U.S. embassy or consulate.  Some student visa applicants are already in the U.S. under other types of visas and applications to transfer to a student visa can be difficult and immigration attorneys help students and their families with the application processes.

Recipients of student visas often find that they have a need, during or at the conclusion of their tenure as a student, to transition to an employment-based visa or perhaps a family-based upon.  It is important that students know their legal options well ahead of graduation as these processes can often take a great deal of time and planning.

The process of obtaining a visa and transferring to a new visa is complex and it is best to work with an immigration attorney.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley work with student visa applicants and can explain the process and what a student visa applicant can expect. It is important to be careful and be aware of “notarios” and/or “immigration consultants” who are not attorneys and are not allowed to represent student visa applicants. Anyone considering applying for a student visa should ask many questions and be assured they and their families understand 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 and can help with the process of applying for and maintaining student visas.  Ms. Mosley can practice immigration law in any of the 50 United States, U.S. territories, and consulates abroad.   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.

Coming to study in the U.S. can be a big decision not to take lightly.

Finally, anyone considering coming to the U.S. to study should think about the impact on friends, families and employers. Some students come to the U.S. to study and intend to move back to their home country immediately after graduation. What happens if you come to the U.S. and fall in love and get married. Will you still return to your home country? Will you stay in the U.S. and get married? If so, will your mother, sister or brother want to come to the U.S. to share in adventure? There are so many questions we can all ask when thinking about student visas and immigration. Please feel free to contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley to ask any questions you may have about student visas and immigration.


[i] U.S. Department of State website: Student visas