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.

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.

Major U.S. cities, counties and states refuse to cooperate with ICE and the number is growing

Not everyone is happy about Philadelphia’s actions thwarting the feds, particularly ICE officials.

Not everyone is happy about Philadelphia’s actions thwarting the feds, particularly ICE officials.

Refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) may be the step in the right direction to signal to Congress that we need to move forward and pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”). If ICE does not have the cooperation of local police to hold “immigration detainees,” Congress may have to wake up and fix the underlying problems with our terribly out of date and broken system. Residents of cities and states all over the U.S. are standing up and saying NO!

City officials in several cities like Philadelphia are telling ICE they will no longer cooperate.

In response to local pressure to respond to the increase in immigrant arrivals cities like Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., Cook County (Chicago, IL) and in California launched ICE non-cooperation policies. This spring, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order[i] ending the city’s cooperation with ICE and ending the practice of municipalities holding suspected immigration offenders for periods of time while they await transfer to federal facilities. Nutter explained that their police officers could not adequately conduct investigations of crimes, protect, and serve its communities when undocumented residents are scared to talk to the police.

In response to Mayor Nutter’s order, Philadelphia Council member, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, strongly praised the announcement and stated, “This victory is so huge, not only for the city of Philadelphia, but for the rest of the country…and for those of you who do immigrant work and know the faces behind the stories, the people who suffered that we couldn’t save before.[ii]

Not everyone is happy about Philadelphia’s actions thwarting the feds, particularly ICE officials.

The lack of municipal locations to keep immigrants does not seem to bother ICE whose representatives say they will continue detaining undocumented immigrants. “The release of serious criminal offenders to the streets in a community, rather than to ICE custody, undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and impedes us from enforcing the nation’s immigration laws,[iii]” according to a spokesperson Nicole Navas.

The trend is spreading among cities, counties and states from coast to coast.

More municipal jurisdictions have adopted similar orders and ICE non-cooperation plans alongside their neighbors as the public servants listen to constituents who are fed up with revenue and resources being spent acting on the request and behalf of the federal government and the ICE who lack the facilities to house all the suspects of immigration violations.

The conversation continues in several communities of people demanding that Congress take responsibility for the problem and pass CIR which remains stuck in the House of Representatives with a pack of GOP objectors who are now lead by a tea party house majority leader after he beat Eric Cantor, one Republican who many thought would be able to help pass a reform deal.

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley closely follows news and policy in immigration that affects everyone affected by our failed 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 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] Newsworks.org, Philly police will no longer hold immigrants on behalf of ICE, by Emma Jacobs, Apr. 16, 2014.

[ii] NPR, More Municipalities Deny Federal Requests, Won’t Detain Immigrants, by Emma Jacobs, Jul. 5, 2014.

[iii] See Jacobs NPR article FNii

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.