Decreases in deportation: less enforcement is not immigration reform, but appreciate the policy effort.

If ICE officials have more choices in enforcing immigration laws, who is not being deported?

If ICE officials have more choices in enforcing immigration laws, who is not being deported?

Under President Obama’s oversight, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is deporting less undocumented immigrants in connection with its new policy limiting enforcement resources on, ““public safety, national security and border security,” said ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzales.[i]” “ICE has been vocal about the shift in our immigration-enforcement strategy,” she said. “Our removal numbers illustrate this.” The Center for Immigration Studies published their report in October 2013, titled, “Deportation Numbers Unwrapped. Raw Statistics Reveal the Real Story of ICE Enforcement in Decline,” and as to the source of information, CIS states, “This report examines data from a collection of mostly unpublished internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE statistics, to provide an alternative evaluation of the administration’s record on immigration enforcement that is based on raw statistics rather than pre-packaged press kits.[ii]

If ICE officials have more choices in enforcing immigration laws, who is not being deported?

Central to the disagreement among Democrats and Republican lawmakers are many of the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants who may, for all intents and purposes, live among U.S. citizens day to day without any call to consider their immigration or citizenship status. As indicated in the CIS report, a 2011 ICE memorandum directed officers, “not to arrest certain broad categories of illegal aliens, including minor criminals, long-time residents, students, parents, caregivers, and a long list of other excepted categories for whom there was otherwise no statutory basis for special treatment.” Despite a policy decreasing the number of new arrests and detentions, there are still thousands of the same people stuck in the immigration court system, waiting for asylum hearings, waiting in detention facilities, and waiting to move forward with life.

How will ICE officers determine who should be targeted for arrest and detention?

A policy directive suggesting ICE officers not arrest and detain the less threatening illegal immigrants to the U.S. does not guarantee any sense of safety for undocumented residents living in fear. Imagine you are driving around on a suspended drivers license and fear all it would take is for another driver to hit you to expose your illegal presence to a law enforcement officer. No, you probably should not drive on a suspended drivers license, but many do, and have little choice. The necessity to get yourself and family members to work or school, for instance, can create fear in undocumented immigrants who may wonder when their luck may run out and they are arrested and detained for not being present in the U.S. with a lawful immigration status.

President Obama said during his (re)election campaign(s) that he would work to provide undocumented residents with a pathway to citizenship. The decrease in the number of ICE arrests and deportations must give some people a feeling of safety. Meanwhile, critics of immigration reform must argue that an effort to reduce enforcement of out-of-date laws does not cure the underlying problem that those old laws do not reflect the spirit of the will of the people in the United States.

In the event you, a friend or family member is arrested and detained by ICE officers, you should immediately contact an attorney to learn what, if any, rights you or the detained person has, and how the detention and removal processes work and how the attorney can help.

The Law Office of KiKi M. Mosley, works to counsel and represent detained immigrants and file the proper petitions with immigration courts necessary to protect an undocumented man, woman or child. 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: Deportations Drop as Obama Pushes for New Immigration Law. By Michael C. Bender, Dec. 17, 2013.

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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.