Monday, December 24, 2012

Record Number of Deportations in 2012

The Obama Administration set a new record in 2012, deporting more illegal aliens than in any prior year. While ICE's  (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) policy is to deport only those who've committed serious crimes, nothing could be further from the truth, as the agency still detains and deports those who've committed minor criminal violations, such as driving without a license. ICE Director John Morton issued a "memo" in 2011 directing his attorneys to exercise "prosecutorial discretion" when determining whether to proceed with removal (deportation) hearings.  However, in my experience, the use of prosecutorial discretion has and continues to be used inconsistently, and varies by each ICE field office. It can be frustrating to deal with, but with Comprehensive Immigration Reform around the corner, things are certainly looking brighter.

To read more about the record number of deportations in 2012, click on the link below.

And if you know of someone who is in removal (deportation) proceedings, contact this firm to see how we can provide valuable assistance for deportation-related matters. Visit for more information or call 949-440-3240.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Around the Corner

All indications point to comprehensive immigration reform topping the President's agenda for 2013. "Fiscal Cliff" matters aside, leading pundits expect the President and Congress to begin lengthy negotiations on comprehensive immigration reform bill addressing the nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. Leading Republicans including Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and most recently, former President George Bush, have all called for addressing the current immigration problems facing the country.

As we ring in the New Year, expect swift action and prioritization of immigration reform from both sides of the aisle. What the bill will contain is anyone's guess, but leading authorities on immigration law believe a path to Citizenship is essential and near mandatory for the law to take effect.

As a practitioner of immigration law, I am excited to see what developments come out of Washington, DC in the coming months, stay tuned!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Proposed Republican Immigration Bill - Dead on Arrival?

Republican Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) are taking the first steps toward their vision of immigration reform with the proposed "ACHIEVE Act" that would grant permanent residency to undocumented immigrants who pursue higher education or the military. What the "ACHIEVE Act" would not do is a grant a path to citizenship, a key criteria of many seeking immigration reform. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has indicated their disapproval of the bill saying it would "not achieve the DREAM" and it would be essentially granting "second-class legal status." A Democratic Senator dubbed the bill "dead on arrival." Under the proposed legislation, to be eligible for benefits under the "ACHIEVE Act", an applicant must have lived in the US for the past 5 years, entered the US before turning 14, be no older than 28, and have no criminal record.

While this is an interesting move by the Congressional Republicans, it is evident that the bill will not muster enough support from the Democrats in order to be viable. At least this is a small step in the right direction (lest we forget the past four years) toward comprehensive immigration reform.

"ACHIEVE Act" aside, Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals is alive and well; however, many of those eligible have not elected to apply for this program (perhaps fearing a Romney win in the Presidential Elections would doom the program). When the new numbers for "DACA" come out, it will interesting to see whether there has been an uptick in applications post-November 6.

And if you would like to learn more about the Deferred Action program (and still commonly referred to as the "DREAM Act", please visit or call 949-440-3240.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Comprehensive Immigration Reform - is Now the Time?

No sooner than the networks declared President Obama the victor in last week's Presidential Election, did we begin hearing renewed calls for immigration reform. However, this time it was a little different. This time it wasn't the progressives, liberals, or Latinos we normally hear from (although we did hear it from them too). What marked this watershed moment, was that the calls were coming from the Republicans this time too. A chorus of voices from the right including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), House Speaker John Boehner, and none other than conservative TV pundit Sean Hannity, all were calling in unison for comprehensive immigration reform - reform that includes a pathway to Citizenship for the estimated 12 million people living illegally in the United States, as well as stronger border security and tighter workforce regulation of undocumented immigrants.

This is a breakthrough moment for millions of undocumented people - a moment that hopefully will see broad bipartisan support for a problem that has thus far eluded many a Congress. Reports are saying that this agenda is right at the top for President Obama, alongside tackling the growing deficit problem. If all this talk of immigration reform sounds familiar, it is because it is. We heard this groundswell of support before in 2007, led by Senators Kennedy (D-MA) and McCain (R-AZ). However, as we are all aware, the measure sputtered and died in the Senate.

For the prosperity, security, and future of the United States, I for one hope that comprehensive immigration reform is passed into law by Congress and the President...time will only tell, stay tuned...

If you have an immigration matter you need assistance with, contact immigration attorney Kapesh Patel. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

President Obama's Reelection

Yesterday, President Obama won his second term as President of the United States, beating his challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, 303-206. From an immigration standpoint, this is historic and "game changing". Deferred Action, colloquially known as "The Dream Act" is in all likelihood to stay, but that is just a small piece of the picture.

Pundits are already pointing fingers as to why Mitt Romney lost. One of the more prevalent theories floating around is that Mitt Romney and the GOP have alienated Latino voters. The proof is in the pudding too, as 66% of Latino voters sided with the President. Many senior members of the Republican party have publicly stated that change is needed in the GOP - they can no longer advocate policies that turn-off the crucial Latino vote. And one of those policies is the party's stance on immigration reform and illegal immigration in general.

Looking forward into Obama's second term, it is safe to say that comprehensive immigration reform will more than likely happen. It has to happen, both for the Democrats, and now for the Republicans. The President promised immigration reform when he was campaigning for his first term, his legacy will now depend upon it to an extent. And if the Republicans want to take back the White House in 2016, they must work with the President and Congressional Democrats on real immigration reform. They can no longer alienate a large and growing part of the electorate.

For the millions of illegal immigrants living and working in the US, the future is looking just a little brighter today. Let's hope both sides can come together, and once and for all, put an end to the immigration debate by passing comprehensive immigration reform.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Retroactivity of Padilla vs. Kentucky

Most immigration attorneys are keenly aware of of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Padilla vs. Kentucky, which held that defendant's attorneys need to advise their clients of the immigration consequences of pleading guilty to particular crimes, or else face ineffective assistance of counsel claims.  Many clients come to me as a consequence of not knowing they would be subject to deportation (technically removal) when they pled guilty to relatively minor criminal violations.

The next big issue facing the Court is whether the holding in Padilla vs. Kentucky is "retroactive", meaning whether the ruling in that case can apply to cases that became final before the ruling in Padilla. The case is Chaidez vs. United States and a ruling is expected soon from the Court.

This could have enormous ramifications for those individuals in removal proceedings, as well as future detainees. Stay tuned for the ruling and take a moment to read this article for more information.

And if you need help with an immigration matter, please visit for more information.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reverse Migration

Great piece from the LA Times reporting on the relatively unknown plights of US Citizen children who accompany deported family members back to Mexico.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dilemmas that challenge employers of undocumented workers

"To acknowledge or not acknowledge" that you hired undocumented workers? This New York Times article highlights the difficult choices employers face and the dilemmas posed when asked to "verify" employment of an undocumented worker for Deferred Action purposes. By verifying such employment, an employer also acknowledges that they "hired" an undocumented worker, which is illegal under federal law. Check out the full article here: And if you have any questions or concerns, please contact this office for further help.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Only 72,000 DACA/"Dream Act" Applications?

There was a lot of hoopla regarding the start date of the "Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) program in the media. I saw endless clips of people lining up in Los Angeles at immigrant help centers, newspaper coverage, and truth be told, my phone wouldn't stop ringing. Now, after a month, it was recently reported that the USCIS has only received 72,000 applications for DACA. Numerous theories abound as to why such a low figure (and it is low considering USCIS estimates almost 1-1.5 million people are eligible) have decided to take advantage of this groundbreaking program. But one unfortunate theory seems to be universal: people are just plain scared. They're scared that the USCIS will get ICE to come knocking on the door. Scared that they used "fake" social security numbers. Scared that they might be targeted for removal if a Mitt Romney presidency comes into fruition.

Whatever the reasons, the number of applications is surprisingly and startling low. Which is why a lawyer's advice can come in helpful. A licensed immigration attorney can make all the difference. I've turned down numerous prospective clients upon discovering potentially damaging information. These are the fortunate ones; the less fortunate may have submitted applications that MAY be forwarded onto ICE. Further, a licensed immigration attorney (well a good one!) is likely to deliver a persuasive DACA application package (complete with cross-referenced exhibits, binding, "Notice of Appearance as Attorney..."), that will probably increase the likelihood of approval. If you are scared of applying for DACA and want to talk to a professional, please visit my website at or call 949-440-3240.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sitting in on the USCIS conference call with Director Mayorkas regarding Deferred Action. The forms will be released today and those forms are I-821D (Consideration of Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals), I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Document (EAD), I-765WS (worksheet for economic necessity) and the total USCIS fees will be $465. It is important to remember that Deferred Action DOES NOT CONFER LEGAL STATUS. What Deferred Action does do is provide relief from deportation/removal proceedings for a period of two years and is subject to renewal thereafter. Applicants who are granted this relief will also be able to apply for Employment Authorization. A key development that I learned of today is that USCIS will not share information about family members with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for removal proceedings UNLESS there is criminal implications or national security concerns.

Last, this program will handle all applicants on a case by case basis. The USCIS may request further evidence or schedule additional interviews if they need more information on an applicant. Visit or call 949-440-3240 if you need more information.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Dream Act"/Deferred Action

The web is buzzing about the government's highly anticipated program, officially called "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals", but known to most who will apply for it as the "Dream Act" (even though it is not technically THE Dream Act, because Congress has yet to take action). Basically, if you came to the United States before age 16, have not committed any serious crimes, are under the age of 31, are in school/have graduated from school/are a veteran, and have lived continuously in the United States since June 2007, then you are eligible for the program.

Now people need to understand that this is not a path to Citizenship, nor will you become a Lawful Permanent Resident (i.e. get a "green card"). What is this program then, amnesty? Well, sort of. According to the USCIS, "Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion". In plain English, if you qualify for this program and your application is approved by the USCIS, you will not be subject to deportation for two years. Please note that this program is renewable (i.e. you will be able to re-apply for another two years). Also keep in mind that Deferred Action is discretionary, it is up to the USCIS and them only, as to whether you qualify for this initiative and also remember, there is no "appeals" process if you are denied.

Accordingly, it cannot be more emphasized that you retain the services of a qualified immigration lawyer to give your application the best possible chance of approval. With so much on the line, it is inadvisable to handle such a serious matter on your own. Even the slightest error could result in a denial.  Contact me at or visit my website for additional details on this program and to schedule a free consultation.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My firm's site is now live and we are open for new clients! Please take a look at and schedule a free consultation if you need to speak to an immigration lawyer.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Welcome to the Law Offices of Kapesh V. Patel's blog. It is my desire to provide you with the latest news relating to US immigration laws. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be commenting on the latest US immigration laws, agency decisions and interpretations, and providing general commentary on US immigration law. Feel free to leave feedback and become an active participant on this blog. Feel free to visit my website at for further resources or if you would like to contact me.

Disclaimer: Nothing contained within this website is intended to provide legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship. The information and responses on this website are intended to be of a general nature and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. If you need legal advice, you should consult with a licensed attorney.