US Citizenship and Immigration Services to Begin Sending Victims of Violent Crimes to Deportation Proceedings, and

Presidential Proclamation Changes the Rules for Asylum Seekers at the Southern Border

November 13, 2018

According to a new policy announced last week by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, undocumented immigrants who have been victims of certain crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and sex trafficking and then apply for legal status in the United States will now be placed into deportation proceedings if their petitions are denied. On June 28, 2018, a new policy memo was issued greatly expanding the list of people USCIS would refer for deportation proceedings if their application for an immigrant benefit was denied. Starting November 19, 2018, the list will include the most vulnerable class of immigration applicants – victims of violent and felonious crimes.

In addition, on November 9, 2018, President Trump issued a proclamation barring individuals who enter the United States from Mexico between ports of entry from seeking asylum. The proclamation will remain effective for 90 days, subject to extension. This proclamation conflicts with current asylum laws which allow all persons arriving in the United States, whether at or between ports of entry to seek asylum.

The Clinic is outraged by the new policies and we will continue to monitor the situation and support our current and future clients and their families.

For questions regarding this statement please contact Lia Hyunji Kim-Yi at or 847.737.4042.

Highland Park- Highwood Legal Aid Clinic Urges DACA Renewal as Soon as Possible

June 28th, 2018

With the pending litigation in Texas regarding the future of DACA, we urge current DACA holders to renew your DACA status, regardless of expiration, as soon as possible. The Clinic can help. Please contact us to make an appointment to renew your DACA. To read more about the current status of DACA you can click here.

For questions regarding this statement please contact Lia Hyunji Kim-Yi at or 847.737.4042.

Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order on Family Separation at Border

June 20th, 2018

Today, June 20, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order ending the family separation policy at the southern border of the United States. According to the Executive Order, families will remain together in detention during the pendency of any criminal or immigration proceedings. However, an alien child will not be detained together with the child’s alien parent if there is a concern that the detention of the child and parent would post a risk to the child’s welfare.

While we are relived to learn of the end of this cruel policy, there are thousands of children who have already been separated from their parents, and reunification may take weeks or months.  We will continue to monitor the situation.

For action items re: separation of families at the border, please click here.

June 19th, 2018

Chicago Sun Times Releases Comprehensive List of Potential Laws in Illinois that would Provide Relief to Immigrants

June 14th, 2018

The Chicago Sun Times Editorial Board has identified several potential laws in a recent editorial on providing relief to immigrants in Illinois. Listed below are the laws outlined in the editorial as well as blurbs taken directly from the article explaining what each law would do. To read the article in its entirety you can click here.

Immigrant Tenant Protection Act: “It prohibits landlords from intimidating, harassing or retaliating against immigrant tenants. A landlord could still evict a tenant for lease violations but couldn’t extort someone for higher rent, kick out a tenant or threaten to turn a family over to immigration authorities because of immigration status. Current laws don’t clearly offer these protections to immigrants”

Professional Licensing Amendment: “The state oversees licensing for dozens of professions, from medical fields to cosmetology. Currently, young undocumented immigrants can become licensed professionals in many fields — as long as they are allowed to work by the federal government. This bill would give uniformity in allowing undocumented immigrants to be licensed in all fields no matter their immigration status.”

Voices Act: “Undocumented immigrants who are victims of certain crimes, such as sexual assault or domestic violence, receive consideration for special visas to live legally in the U.S. — if they assist in the investigation of the crimes or prosecutions. An application for the visa is evaluated by the federal government only if a local law enforcement agency certifies the victim cooperated with cops or prosecutors.”

Immigration Safe Zones Act: “This bill would require the Illinois attorney general to come up with rules on how public schools, hospitals, libraries and courthouses could limit assistance to immigration authorities without breaking federal and state laws.Also under this law, state agencies, as well as public schools and universities, would be banned from asking about citizenship or immigration status unless required by law or court order.”

Anti-registry Program Act: “This bill says Illinois would never take part in an effort to register groups based on religion, race, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or military status.”

Consequences of guilty pleas: “This bill says immigrant defendants would have two years to withdraw a guilty plea if courts fail to advise them of potential consequences to their immigration status (i.e. the possibility of deportation or revocation of a green card).”

If Signed ‘The Voices Act’ Could Protect Undocumented Immigrants who are Sexual Assault Survivors

June 13th, 2018

In the wake of AG Jeff Sessions announcement that victims of domestic violence crimes perpetrated by private, non-governmental actors do not generally qualify for asylum, immigrants’ rights advocates still have hope. Advocates are optimistic that The Voices Act will be signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner soon. If signed, The Voices Act will help undocumented immigrants earn temporary status and protection. To learn more click here. If you want to make your support for The Voices Act known you can reach out to Gov. Rauner by clicking here.

Statement on the Trump Administration’s Decision To Restrict Asylum Access For Victims of Gang and Domestic Violence

June 11th, 2018

The Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic stands in support of domestic violence victims seeking asylum in the United States and has issued the following statement with regard to the recent ruling by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on June 11, 2018 announcing that domestic violence victims and other victims of crimes perpetrated by private, non-governmental actors do not generally qualify for asylum:

“With this single decision, AG Sessions has erased an important and heavily relied upon asylum development, a process that took almost 20 years. This decision, Matter of A-B- is detrimental to women seeking asylum from horrific forms of domestic violence in their home countries unable or unwilling to protect them. In addition, this decision could have more far-reaching implications for anyone who is the victim of violence committed by a private actor, such as violence targeting  LGBTQ individuals and individuals fleeing gangs and drug trafficking organizations. Moreover, this is not only an immigration issue, but also a humanitarian and women’s rights issues. Violence against women is an epidemic around the world, and to deny these victims protection from their perpetrators goes against the core of asylum law. The Clinic will continue to support our immigrant community, and we will closely monitor immigration policies and procedures in the United States.”

AG Sessions, as the head of the Department of Justice, oversees all immigration courts and has the power to overrule decisions of judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals and to set precedents. He has the authority to rewrite asylum law. This decision, Matter of A-B-, overturns the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision that a Salvadoran woman should receive asylum based on abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband and the police’s lack of action to stop it. Sessions’ decision has implication beyond A-B- herself. he also overturned a 2014 precedent from the Board of Immigration Appeals in a separate case that has been cited in numerous asylum cases of women who suffered domestic violence.

For questions regarding this statement please contact Lia Hyunji Kim-Yi at or 847.737.4042.


Immigrant Families Seeking Asylum Separated at the Border

June 6th, 2018

Immigrant families seek asylum in the U.S. because they are fleeing violence in their home countries.  Instead of safety, immigrant parents are met at the border by DHS agents, and then are separated from their children.  To read more about this heartless and excessive policy click here: Hundreds of Immigrant Children Have Been Taken From Parents at U.S. Border.

Senators Durbin and Duckworth are working to stop it. Watch Senator Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor here, and if you want to take action please reach out to them by clicking here.


Statement on “Chain Migration” and Trump Administration Immigration Proposal

January 30th, 2018

During President Trump’s State of the Union address, he unveiled his approach to immigration reform. He stated the “fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.” This statement is false and misleading.

The following provides the Clinic’s response:

“The Highland Park – Highwood Legal Aid Clinic opposes the use of the term ‘Chain Migration’ and is working vigorously to educate the public regarding the immigration process and encouraging the public to use the proper terms of Family Reunification or Family Based Immigrant Visas.

The term ‘Chain Migration’ was originally a neutral phrase used by academics to describe the immigration process of how immigrants are more likely to move to where people they know live. This term has taken on a completely different and negative connotation by those wishing to drastically cut legal immigration.

Some, including President Trump, are making the false statement that immigrants can bring over their entire families once they are in the United States, without any control of the United States government. This is false. There are strict guidelines for family-based immigration. Individuals have reported waiting decades to immigrate to the United States after a full security check and providing financial evidence that they will not be a public charge.

Trump’s immigration proposal is damaging. It would have a chilling effect on the economy and bring an end to family reunification.”

Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic Available to Assist with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 

January 15th, 2018

On January 13, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they will resume accepting requests to renew a grant of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before the program was rescinded on September 5, 2017.  The Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic is available to assist with applications.

This policy may change at anytime; we urge those eligible to file as soon as possible. Regardless of where you live or work, to learn about eligibility or for assistance with an application, the Clinic will assist.

Guidelines adapted from the USCIS are as follows:

  • Individuals who were previously granted DACA may request renewal by filing the proper forms, with the filing fee or fee waiver to the designated filing location. The forms are now back on the USCIS website. 
  • If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request.  
  • If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before September 5, 2016, or your DACA was terminated at any time, you cannot request DACA as a renewal, but MAY FILE A NEW initial DACA request. 
  • USCIS is NOT accepting requests from individuals who have NEVER before been granted DACA. 
  • USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients. 

For questions regarding eligibility, assistance with an application or any other immigration need please contact Lia Kim-Yi, Director of Immigration Law Practice at or 847-737-4042.

USCIS Will Accept DACA Application That Were Rejected Because of USPS Error

November 10th, 2017

If you mailed your DACA renewal and you believe that your renewal did not make it to USCIS by the October 5th, 2017 deadline due to USPS error, you may be able to resubmit your renewal request. According to the most recent guidance from USCIS:

  • DHS has directed USCIS to accept DACA renewal requests from individuals who resubmit their DACA renewal request with:
    • individualized proof that the request was originally mailed in a timely manner;
    • and that the cause for receipt after the Oct. 5, 2017, deadline was the result of USPS mail service error.
  • Affected DACA requestors who do not have such proof may contact USPS, which will review the cases on an individual basis and provide a letter if appropriate.
  • USCIS will not accept requests that do not include individualized proof that the request was originally mailed in a timely manner to be received by the October 5 deadline, and that the cause for receipt after the Oct. 5, 2017, deadline was the result of USPS mail service error.

For the complete statement from USCIS, click here.

If you believe this may have happened to you, please contact the Clinic at or 847-926-1867.

USCIS Aceptará Las Aplicaciones de DACA Que Fueron Rechazadas por un Error de USPS

Si envió por correo su renovación de DACA y cree que su renovación no llegó a USCIS antes del 5 de octubre de 2017 debido a un error de USPS, es posible que pueda volver a enviar su solicitud de renovación. De acuerdo con la guía más reciente de USCIS:

  • DHS ha ordenado a USCIS que acepte solicitudes de renovación de DACA de personas que vuelven a presentar su solicitud de renovación de DACA con:
    • prueba individualizada de que la solicitud se envió originalmente de manera oportuna;
    • y que la causa de que se haya recibido después de la fecha límite del 5 de Octubre de 2017, fue resultado del error del servicio de correo de USPS.
  • Los solicitantes de DACA afectados que no tengan dicha prueba pueden ponerse en contacto con USPS, que revisará los casos de forma individual y proporcionará una carta, si corresponde.
  • USCIS no aceptará solicitudes que no incluyan pruebas individualizadas de que la solicitud se envió originalmente de manera oportuna para ser recibida antes de la fecha límite del 5 de octubre, y que la causa para la recepción después de la fecha límite del 5 de octubre de 2017 fue el resultado del error de servicio de correo USPS.

Para obtener la declaración completa de USCIS, haga clic en

Si cree que esto le puede haber sucedido, comuníquese con la Clínica a o al 847-926-1867.