President Obama to reduce refugee allotments for Central Americans but calls for alternative program to benefit foreign applicants

The new programs President Obama wants would allow eligible people to apply for refugee status from other countries before they arrive on U.S. soil.

The new programs President Obama wants would allow eligible people to apply for refugee status from other countries before they arrive on U.S. soil.

There is a limit on the number of foreign individuals allowed to apply for refugee relief and resettlement assistance in the U.S. under special humanitarian concern. Last week President Obama reduced the limit for Central American refugees, despite the recent increase in arrivals from the Central American countries where crime and gang violence drove more than 60,000 families from their homes; the overall refugee admissions limit for fiscal year 2015 is the same as 2014, at 70,000. President Obama announced his interest in new programs for asylum seekers. In connection therewith, the allotment for people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador is 4,000 down from the allotment of 5,000 for the current fiscal year.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) website contains general information about refugee and asylum status. The current allotment reduction for Central Americans concerns refugee status, defined by USCIS as, “A form of protection that may be granted to people who meet the definition of refugee and who are special humanitarian concern to the United States. Refugees are generally people outside of their country who are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear serious harm.[i]

The serious harm people often fear is that they will be or have been persecuted for reasons of t heir political opinion, membership in certain groups, sex, nationality, race and origin, to name a few. A variety of factors contributes to the balance of serious harm to people and humanitarian factors. Often major events, including weather catastrophes like a tsunami causing massive destruction can influence the allotments of admission to the refugee relief programs.

Here is a list of the new allotments[ii]:

  • Africa 17,000
  • East Asia 13,000
  • Europe and Central Asia 1,000
  • Latin America and Caribbean 4,000
  • Near East and South Asia 33,000
  • Unallocated Reserve 2,000

The new programs President Obama wants would allow eligible people to apply for refugee status from other countries before they arrive on U.S. soil. Specifically, the programs the president wants developed would allow Central Americans to apply for refugee status from within their own countries.[iii] In Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, people could benefit from a program that would give them greater security when seeking to apply for immigration relief, rather than risk detention for unlawful presence and experiencing rough conditions in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security residential facilities for undocumented immigrants arriving on U.S. soil.

There are several options President Obama may have in ordering the establishment of a refugee program of this kind and Chicago immigration attorney KiKi M. Mosley will follow the progress of this type of immigration reform effort to keep clients and colleagues up to date as the Obama administration works towards solving problems in the broken U.S. immigration system.

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 and related options for undocumented immigrants seeking immigration relief. 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] USCIS website: Refugees & Asylum

[ii] The White House Office of the Press Secretary: Presidential Memorandum – – FY 2015 Refugee Admissions

[iii] Immigration Impact, Proposed Refugee Program Limited in Central American Impact, by Amy Grenier, Oct. 3, 2014.

Immigration judges in Denver to take on asylum cases while reports of due process violations against women and children detainees

The conditions and reports of the court process in Artesia are reported as appalling.

The conditions and reports of the court process in Artesia are reported as appalling.

More than 600 women with their children and unaccompanied children are detained in an ICE facility in southeast New Mexico in the desert town of Artesia. The detention center was opened to help house newly arriving Central American refugees. One ICE official spoke out confidentially and said, “The goal is to process the immigrants and have them deported within 10 to 15 days to send a message back to their home countries that there are consequences for illegal immigration.[i]

The conditions and reports of the court process in Artesia are reported as appalling.

Volunteer attorneys representing asylum seekers frequently speak out about the conditions in which they find immigrant women and children. Several professionals involved report that mothers are directed to testify before an immigration judge, right in front of their children, and detail the physical, emotional and other abuses committed against them to prove the credibility of their pleas for asylum.

Only 38 percent of asylum seekers are granted relief in Artesia, significantly less than other facilities. Laura Lichter, a lawyer from Colorado who has been making volunteer trips to represent women and children in Artesia recently told reporters that, the living conditions there are like a “hellhole” and the way court cases are being handled is “appalling.[ii]” Many agree with the criticisms of what has been happening in Artesia, which led to a lawsuit filed against the U.S. by several human rights advocacy groups.

New Denver Immigration Judges are taking over some of the asylum docket for video hearings.

Video hearings for asylum seekers are being transferred from Immigration Judges in Arlington, VA to their colleagues in Denver. In the same time zone, as one proponent noted, the immigration judges in Denver are expected to more fairly uphold due process of law while engaged in the expedited review of immigrant asylum cases. Of course, the spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Justice, Kathryn Mattingly states the decision to reassign cases to the Denver judges had nothing to do with complaints about the Artesia facility or the pending lawsuit.[iii]

Two of the Denver immigration judges will be taken off the current Denver immigration court docket, leaving the third judge to manage a staggering 8,000 plus cases with hearing dates set out as far as 2018. Local attorneys practicing before the Denver Immigration Judges have mixed feelings about the transfer. “The general feeling is that we are really happy to have these [asylum] cases in Denver,” said Denver immigration attorney Byron Large, who also lamented the increased backlog of other immigration cases.

To learn more about volunteer attorneys and the need for their services, please read our article, “More than 60,000 unaccompanied minors need immigration lawyers and volunteer organizations need pro bono 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 including and related options for undocumented immigrants seeking immigration relief. 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] Denver Post, Feds: Immigrant center to expedite deportations, by Juan Carlos Llorea, Associated Press, Jun. 26, 2014.

[ii] Denver Post, Backlogged Denver immigration courts will take on glut of asylum cases, by Nancy Lofholm, Sept. 22, 2014.

[iii] Denver Post article at HNii above.

Millions of immigrants again on hold: More political moves delay immigration reform as deportations continue.

President Obama announced a delay of his executive action until after the mid-term elections in November, irritating many who anticipated immigration relief.

President Obama announced a delay of his executive action until after the mid-term elections in November, irritating many who anticipated immigration relief.

Children at recess used to play a game called “Red Light, Green Light,” where the one child faces away from the other children who start behind a line, saying “green light,” so the children behind the line can creep closer and tag them before they quickly turn around and say, “red light.” Is this the real strategy on immigration reform on Capitol Hill?

Reporting news and updates on immigration reform and the problems caused by inaction seems futile when people make promises and do not keep them. More often, people say they will make every effort at taking action, the political version of a promise. Both sides of the political aisle are frustrated with the failure to make meaningful reform to our badly outdated immigration system. As President Obama, the Democrats and Republicans in Congress continue sparring, the human casualties are mounting.

President Obama announced a delay of his executive action until after the mid-term elections in November, irritating many who anticipated immigration relief.

Earlier this summer, President Obama asked Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to hold off on releasing the results of a review of the immigration system, so House Republicans could get together necessary votes to pass a reform bill. It never happened. When Congress adjourned for summer break, the President reported he was working on his own plan for relief through executive orders, something the House Republicans first criticized him for doing, and then suggested he take executive action after all. Meanwhile, the mid-term elections scheduled for November are the latest roadblock to reform. On Saturday September 6, The Associated Press tweeted, “BREAKING: White House officials: Obama to delay immigration action until after November election.”

Result: “Millions of immigrants will face at least 60 more days under the threat of deportation[i]

The human cost of this delay is significant. As the quote from the article indicates, millions of undocumented immigrants who anticipated relief from deportation now fear the worst. Of the millions of immigrants waiting for relief, advocates estimate that an actual 60,000 immigrants will be deported within the next 60 days.

DHS is still stating that they are, “using “prosecutorial discretion” so that resident, law-abiding unauthorized immigrants don’t get deported.[ii]” Instead, they claim, “high priority” immigrants, “those who have committed crimes, have recently entered the country, or were deported and then came back,” are the focus of current deportation activity.[iii]

The message sent by the U.S., likely heard worldwide, is that immigrants are marginalized.

Wouldn’t you feel alienated and awkward coming to a country in political turmoil over what to do about your arrival and presence? From one political party who embraces policies helping people suffering violence and injustice in their home countries, to another who would like to catapult them back to their home countries, it must be terrible not knowing who they can trust. Some compassion for people who likely are not thrilled about leaving their home countries would make for a stronger immigration stance and the current ping-pong games make U.S. leaders look foolish.

While likely feeling marginalized by a seemingly unfair political struggle, the undocumented immigrants who made it safely to the U.S. can only hope for positive change and relief, through President Obama or Congress, whoever is able to make a meaningful difference. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley also hopes for positive change in U.S. immigration policy. She will continue to offer updates and available immigration news.

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 and related options for undocumented immigrants seeking immigration relief. 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] Vox, The human cost of Obama’s delay on immigration action, by Dara Lind, Sept. 8, 2014.

[ii] See, Vox article above (HNi)

[iii] See, Vox article above (HNi)

Executive orders in immigration: President Obama to follow past presidents in executive action

A history of executive orders.

A history of executive orders.

President Obama, backed into a corner by Congress, must fix immigration with a pen and phone. The New York Times reports that the President, behind closed doors, is working on executive actions to overhaul immigration. An arduous task at best, the President has much work to do, meeting with lobbyists and members of interest groups and advisors. It is noteworthy that the executive branch of government may use executive orders to accomplish goals, despite the lack of an organized system for executive action. Congress, however, is by design, the branch of government best structured to conduct hearings, sort information and create laws. Without the meaningful assistance of Congress, President Obama is now expected to follow previous presidents who affected immigration using executive action.[i]

Everyone is affected by systemic problems in U.S. immigration but politics creates a permanent block to progress.

House Democrats want amnesty for individuals seeking asylum and immigration relief. House Republicans want southern border security and an efficient deportation process. With increased awareness of terror groups and rampant criminal action in the streets, many people living in violent and insecure countries are learning how they can come to the U.S., but they don’t know how to navigate the system to come legally, and follow in line with others making a run to U.S. borders. The immigration problems in the U.S. are not getting better and they will likely only grow worse. In the past, U.S. presidents, from both political parties, used executive orders to solve pressing immigration problems.

President Obama, like his predecessors, has executive order options he can use to overhaul immigration.

The way you hear House Republicans attacking and suing President Obama for signing executive orders in once instance, and criticizing him for failing to write immigration reform may be confusing to many. In fact, President Obama has only issued 185 executive orders as of August 5, 2014[ii]; According to Newsweek, his number, “Is Lower Than Any President in 130 Years.[iii]” In a recent report prepared by a political research organization, Executive Actions Speak Louder Than Words[iv], other recent presidents signed many more orders than President Obama:

  1. Barack Obama – 185 executive orders between 2009 and 2014;
  2. George W. Bush – 291 executive orders during two terms in office;
  3. Bill Clinton – 364 executive orders during two terms in office;
  4. George H.W. Bush – 166 executive orders during one term in office;
  5. Ronald Reagan – 381 executive orders during two terms in office;
  6. Jimmy Carter – 320 executive orders during one term in office.

Past presidents, including Reagan and both Bush presidents used executive action to address immigration.

Important executive orders have been used in recent history to address compelling civil rights problems. While so many people are quick to judge a current president’s record, it is easy to forget that this is not a new method to cure immigration problems in the U.S. Here is a summary of some notable executive actions in immigration, taken by recent U.S. presidents[v]:

  • 1987 – President Reagan eased immigration standards for 200,000 Nicaraguan exiles in the U.S.;
  • 1990 – President Bush Sr. protected Chinese students fearing persecution if sent back to China;
  • 1991 – President Bush Sr. delayed deportation for hundreds of Kuwaiti residents for four years;
  • 1992 – President Bush Sr. made repatriation “automatic” for Haitians coming to the U.S., including those with “potentially valid claim to refugee status”;
  • 1993 – President Clinton granted 18-month extension of the Deferred Enforcement Departure Program, giving 200,000 Salvadorans the right to legally live and work in the U.S.;
  • 1997 – President Clinton again used executive authority to give exemptions to up to 20,000 Haitians for an additional year, from strict new deportation rules;
  • 1998 – President Clinton temporarily suspended deportation to hurricane-ravaged countries;
  • 2001 – President Bush Jr. gave temporary protected status to up to 150,000 Salvadorans;
  • 2002 – President Bush Jr. expedited naturalization for green card holders enlisted in the military.

Obviously, the use of executive actions by U.S. presidents, in immigration, is a common practice. Despite House Representatives, who refuse to take meaningful action in immigration reform, the President can and apparently will sign one or a series of executive orders to address current immigration crises, including some 57,000 recent migrant individuals fleeing from Central America.

KiKi M. Mosley keeps pace with the immigration roller coaster on Capitol Hill because real people need immigration reform today.

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 DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. 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] New York Times, Behind Closed Doors, Obama Crafts Executive Actions, by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Aug. 18, 2014.

[ii] Federal Register, Executive Orders website.

[iii] Newsweek, An Embarrassing Hole in Boehner’s Plan to Sue ‘King’ Obama, by Leah McGrath Goodman, Jun. 27, 2014.

[iv] American Bridge, Executive Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Aug. 8, 2014.

[v] See American Bridge report (HNiv) for specific article sources.

More than 60,000 unaccompanied minors need immigration lawyers and volunteer organizations need pro bono help

There are resources for immigrants seeking free legal counsel and for attorneys who want to volunteer their time on immigration cases.

There are resources for immigrants seeking free legal counsel and for attorneys who want to volunteer their time on immigration cases.

Congress who failed to take serious action to address an epic immigration crisis left 60,000 unaccompanied minors in the dust. Meanwhile, there are plenty of people with legal talent and non-profits with experience and commitment to volunteer initiatives to help children in need. Advocates for the children who fled from violence and instability in their home countries are working hard to train talented attorneys in immigration law, which is a large undertaking when immigration law and policy is complex and not intuitive.

Video: Vice President Joe Biden offers his candid comments about the need for more pro bono immigration lawyers.

The problems with unaccompanied child immigrants start when the children who do not know the law, have no idea how to ask for help. Many of these children might be able to qualify for asylum and could obtain relief to stay in the U.S., but the nine-page application is only available in English and without learning how to seek asylum in the first place, most remain helpless.

Instead of getting the help they need, the children will likely end up with denied asylum applications and face a federal prosecutor seeking deportation in immigration court. This presents a nearly impossible situation, says one immigration attorney quoted in a recent article about asylum for unaccompanied minors, “If you have an unrepresented child, their actual ability to do any of this as a pro se from my perspective is zero.[i]

To learn more about the challenges unaccompanied minors face in navigating our courts, read our article, Thousands of unaccompanied minor immigrant children need comprehensive immigration reform.

In response to the children’s crisis, bar associations and legal aid groups are eager to meet the children’s’ need, “”Every single immigration lawyers’ bar association across the country is scrambling to try to find people to even take the first little tiny hearing for these cases,” said Laura Lichter, a Colorado-based immigration attorney and the former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.[ii]

There are resources for immigrants seeking free legal counsel and for attorneys who want to volunteer their time on immigration cases.

There are several places attorneys can volunteer their time on pro bono immigration cases. The American Immigration Lawyers Association, (“AILA”) has pro bono programs[iii] and an immigration lawyer search tool available for members of the public looking for an immigration lawyer to volunteer some of their time to pro bono cases. Another fine organization, the National Immigrant Justice Center serves Chicago’s immigrant communities and they have pro bono resources and information about training for lawyers and educational opportunities.

Chicago-based immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley dedicates at least 10 percent of her law practice to pro bono cases. She can also direct people interested in more information, to the right people and organizations offering aid.

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 DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. 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] National Journal, Here’s How Hard It Is for Unaccompanied Minors to Get Asylum. By Rachel Roubein, Jul. 15, 2014.

[ii] CBS News, For unaccompanied immigrant children, a shortage of lawyers. By Rebecca Kaplan, Aug. 7, 2014.

[iii] American Immigration Lawyers Association website, Pro Bono.

President Obama’s $3.7B funding request is not on the calendar but other proposals are scheduled for hearings before summer break

Despite inaction on the President’s funding request, some other immigration proposals are on the schedule, courtesy of several House Republicans.

Despite inaction on the President’s funding request, some other immigration proposals are on the schedule, courtesy of several House Republicans.

As the final days and hours of the current legislative session wind down, it looks like there may not be any action on President Obama’s request for funding. The House will finish the current session on Friday, July 31, at which time members will be on summer break. The House of Representatives online schedule currently does not list any scheduled hearing next week on the President’s request for $3.7B border request. House Speaker, John Boehner, says he does not believe the funding request will go anywhere in the remaining time, “I would certainly hope so, but I don’t have as much optimism as I would like to have.” Boehner added, “There’s just been some comments made by our colleagues across the aisle that are going to make this much more difficult to deal with.[i]

Summary of President Obama’s $3.7B funding request:

The Washington Post published a graphic summary of President Obama’s request of $3.7 billion for “deterrence, enforcement, repatriation, public information campaigns and efforts to address the root causes of migration,” according to the article linked above.

Departments to receive funding under the current request for emergency relief:

  • Health and Human Services – $1.8B – care for unaccompanied children and refugee services;
  • Homeland Security – $1.536B – detention and removal, transportation, ICE enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol employee funding, border security task force programs and increased drone surveillance;
  • State Department – $300M – repair and strengthening of the borders and media campaigns in Mexico and Central America;
  • Justice Department – $64M – additional judges, expanded orientation program, legal representation of immigrants, immigration litigation lawyers for federal agencies.

Despite inaction on the President’s funding request, some other immigration proposals are on the schedule, courtesy of several House Republicans.

On Wednesday, July 29, the House Judiciary Committee, lead by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) will host hearings on a proposed bill, (H.R. 5137), the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, to end several of the current immigration policies enacted under President Obama’s administration, under the assumption that those policies are attracting undocumented immigrants to U.S. borders, according to a press release issued on July 17[ii].

A video on the House Judiciary Committee website claims President Obama has not taken sufficient action and that his plan to address the border crisis is nothing but smoke and mirrors: Watch Video. Whether there is enough bipartisan support for H.R. 5137 as a proposed solution to current and future immigration and border problems remains to be seen and it will likely be covered in the media next week.

Another currently scheduled hearing[iii] to take place on Friday, July 31, will be hosted by the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology. The hearing will focus on the technology that may be needed to secure U.S. borders.

Cable news shows love talking about all the legislative proposals, often regardless of the chances they will get enough votes to pass.

As members of Congress lend their support to the variety of proposed bills, you may wonder if they are making a good faith effort to pass legislation, or whether some of the bills simply provide an opportunity for debate and dialogue, which unfortunately turns into political gamesmanship and attack.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx), for example, would like to see the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program terminated, to send a message to people in Central America, “making it clear that we won’t give amnesty to those who are here illegally.[iv]

Beware of political chatter blaming current immigration problems on current policies.

Cruz may be errant in his statement however, in the sense that DACA does not apply to the people currently arriving on U.S. soil, fleeing grave danger in their home countries. To learn more about misconceptions about immigration law and policies and the current border surge, you may read our article, Immigration law and policy is complex and there are frequent misunderstandings on both sides of the fence. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley works diligently to follow the latest news on immigration reform and share valuable information.

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 including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. 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] PBS.org, Recess looming, lawmakers appear stuck on Obama’s immigration funding request, By Rachel Wellford, Jul. 22, 2014.

[ii] U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Chaffetz and Goodlatte Introduce Bill to Stop the Border Crisis, Jul. 17, 2014.

[iii] U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

[iv] See PBS.org article (FNi) above.

Immigration law and policy is complex and there are frequent misunderstandings on both sides of the fence

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently hears misconceptions about immigration law and policy and she works diligently to inform the public about the real law and policy available to applicants for immigration relief.

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently hears misconceptions about immigration law and policy and she works diligently to inform the public about the real law and policy available to applicants for immigration relief.

Many people are misinformed and confused about U.S. immigration law and policy. Misunderstandings among large numbers of people may contribute to the recent increase of undocumented children, and families arriving on U.S. soil primarily from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Some of the people crossing the border are fleeing deadly conditions in their native countries and have little expectation other than survival once arriving in the U.S. Other people may incorrectly believe false propaganda about immigration law and policy in the U.S.  American Citizens watching the news may be just as confused as politicians play the blame game, pointing fingers at one another for failing to pass immigration reform and for allegedly encouraging the influx of recent children arriving on U.S. soil. Common misconceptions about the complex immigration system involve the policy of Prosecutorial Discretion; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Asylum, Withholding of Removal and Protection under the Convention Against Torture (“Asylum”), and a lesser-known option called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

Many people falsely believe the policy of “Prosecutorial Discretion” gives new arrivals a safe haven.

Prosecutorial Discretion is a policy, not a law, that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced, which directs Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to focus on arresting and detaining undocumented immigrants charged with serious crimes and who generally pose a security risk. The purpose of the policy is to encourage general law-abiding individuals to participate in a path to legal status and/or citizenship without fear of leaving the house because ICE might deport them. What is important to understand is that prosecutorial discretion is a policy, and ICE may still detain and deport any individual who is not in the U.S. legally. Prosecutorial discretion is not a policy designed to protect the recently arriving immigrants from Central America. To learn more, read our article, Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) is not available to recently arriving immigrants.

The word on the street among people, who are somewhat familiar with immigration law and policy, is that the DACA policy will apply to children arriving on U.S. soil on any given day. This is not the law. DACA guidelines under the current law and policy as listed below, DO NOT APPLY to currently arriving undocumented immigrants. For more information about DACA, please read our article, USCIS announces DACA renewal process: First time applications are also accepted.

The guidelines for requesting DACA are as follows[i]:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The Special Immigrant Juveniles (“SIJ”) Status is a limited program for children.

Foreign children in the U.S., who are victims of abuse and neglect, and worse, abandonment, may qualify for a green card. Critics of immigration policies often incorrectly assume that children apply for legal status and green cards solely for bringing the rest of the family to the U.S. Some people even suggest some applicants for relief lie about their life status or condition to get an approval for the benefit of their other family members. The SIJS program, however, excludes parents and siblings. This is another example of immigration relief that is limited in scope. If an individual obtains a green card through SIJS, they would only be able to petition for a green card for brothers and sisters if the SIJ participant becomes a U.S. citizen[ii].

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently hears misconceptions about immigration law and policy and she works diligently to inform the public about the real law and policy available to applicants for immigration relief.

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 DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. 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] USCIS website: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

[ii] USCIS website: Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ) Status.