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Welcome to my blog, Immigration Matters.


This blog will give you up-to-date information about immigration issues and about Blackwell Law Group.


Blackwell Law Group is an immigration law firm specializing in family-based immigration, waivers of inadmissibility, removal proceedings and naturalization.

By Sarah E Blackwell, Jan 12 2019 11:19PM

Last night, I phoned my best friend. I have known her for almost 40 years. Not long into the conversation, she says to me, "There's something I don't understand. Why aren't Democrats using their leverage to demand a path to citizenship for Dreamers?"

"Hah!" I said. "Good question. But why stop at Dreamers? Why not give a path to citizenship to all undocumented? After alll, 80% of them have been here for more than 10 years, and we can't deport them all without trashing the U.S. economy. Just look at the state of the immigration courts! There are about 800,000 cases pending. I can't get a trial date fo r a client in less than 3 years, and ofthen those dates get cancelled. I've got a couple who have already been waiting six years and their trial date just got cancelled. I'll be lucky if I get a new trial date before 2022. It's insane. And all at taxpayere expense. Do you no how much a path to citizenshp would cost taxpayers?"

"How much?"

"Nothing!! USCIS is funded completely with filing fees. And probably 80% of cases pending in the immigration court would get dismissed. Then, finally, the immigration courts would once again be efficient."

Then I told that I had written a letter in late November 2018 to every member of the Appropriations Committees for both the House and the Senate and to every member of the Immigration SubCommittees of both the House and the Senate suggesting just that, i.e. a path to citizenship for the 10 million people in the US who are undocumented. I said that the path should have a penalty of $5,000 and that the amount was not unreasonable because all my clients who are eligible for a green card under current laws are paying more than that. Plus, the fine could be paid off over a period of time, perhaps 5 years.

"How much money do you think that would generate?" I said. Then I answered the question for her : "$50 billion. Now, put that money into a trust fund and use it to pay for The Walll as well as other things like foreign aid to Central America and programs to help immigrants integrate into American society, e.g. English classes, scholarships, start-up funds for businesses, etc. All without using taxpayer dollars."

"Did you hear back from anyone?" she says.

"Senator Baldwin. She said she didn't agree with using taxpayer dollars to fund The Wall."

"So she completely missed your point."

"Sadly, yes."

"If you and I can talk like this, why can't Congress?"

"Who knows? But it's really disheartening."

By Sarah E Blackwell, Jan 11 2019 09:07PM

Government shutdown continues with no end in sight. How does this affect people with immigration cases? That depends on what kind of immigration case someone has or wants to start.

Immigration Courts

Ironically, the shutdown has almost completely closed immigration courts across the country. The only immigration courts that are open are those handling cases of people who are being held in detention. Detained cases represent a minority of immigration court cases.

For people who are in removal proceedings but not in detention, the immigration court is still accepting filings (applications for relief, motions, etc) but will not be making decisions until the court re-opens unless there is a specific urgency, e.g. a stay of removal to prevent deportation.

People scheduled to appear in court in the next week will have their court appearances re-scheduled. For those who were scheduled for a trial, this could set your trial date back by 2-3 years because of the current backlog.


USCIS is open for business as usual because it is not funded with taxpayer dollars. It is funded through the filing fees that people pay when they submit their applications.

If you are thinking about filing an application, there is no need to delay.

Although USCIS will remain operational, there may be delays in making decisions. This will occur when a particular application requires input from another government agency that IS affected by the shutdown. The best example is the criminal background checks done for USCIS by the FBI.

US Consulates

The US consulates are part of the Department of State. The shutdown may lead to delays with issuing visas (both immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas).

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Immigration Matters