On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing 300,000 people. Because of the devastation, 50,000 Haitians residing in the United States were provided Temporary Protective Status (TPS)—a designation that comes with certain privileges granted by the United States Customs and Immigrations Service (USCIS). The new administration is considering allowing Haiti’s TPS to expire, supposedly to cut costs. However, the amount of potential savings is minimal compared to the economic impact of disrupting the lives of thousands of people and their place in the United States workforce.
It was with a heavy heart that I had to miss the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) Lobby Day this year. Having attended for two years in a row, I know the impact my colleagues at AILA have when meeting with representatives and senators—and how fulfilling the day can be to all the participants. With the new administration has come new enforcement policies that have captured the attention of the world. But while Americans with foreign ties were grappling to understand the hastily put together travel ban and its successor, the problem of unaccompanied minors, or unaccompanied alien children (UAC) as referred to by Immigration, continues to grow.
Frequently, and most recently, immigrants have been relating that they are fearful about what to do if ICE goes to their home. In this blog, I share advice from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) about what to do if ICE knocks on your door.
- If any officers come to your door, keep the door closed and ask if they are from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or if they are immigration agents. If they are, ask them why they are there. Although opening the door does not give the agents permission to come inside, it still is safer to speak to ICE through the door. If the agents do not speak your language, you can ask for an interpreter.
With the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the Immigration community is left wondering which, if any, of his proposed policy changes will come to fruition. One issue that has the support of several key congressional leaders is restricting H1-B visas. The H1-B visa is specifically for foreign workers in “specialty occupations” which require “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor.”
It is with great difficulty that I write this blog after the election of November 8th. What we were told was good news for many Americans who felt left out of the economic recovery, is causing considerable anxiety in the immigration community. And rightly so. Immediately after claiming victory, Trump reaffirmed his hardline stance on immigration, pledging to deport three million people who are in this country without legal authorization.
It may be too late to vote in the presidential election if you have not yet applied to become a United States Citizen, but as an immigrant and Green Card Holder you should nonetheless pursue your US citizenship with urgency, and here’s why:
- US citizens are free to leave the country for as much time as they see fit; permanent residents forfeit their Green Cards if they have been out of the US for more than a year.
It is an unfortunate fact that violence against women occurs all over the world—but many may find some protection in the United States. Originally passed in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides a wide range of protection and remedies for women and men who have been the victim of abuse at the hands of their spouse. Included in the bill was the creation of a self-petitioning visa by filing the form I-360—sometimes referred to as the “VAWA visa” or the “domestic violence green card.”
The United States Supreme Court recently issued a ruling in the controversial United States v. Texas case. The Court split 4-4, declining to hear further on the case and sending the case back to the lower court, the very same court which blocked the President’s immigration Executive Actions, and thus their ruling will remain in place for the time being. Once there is a full nine-member Supreme Court, perhaps the matter will be brought back. Or hopefully, a new administration and new Congress will implement Global Immigration Reform once and for all!
As an attorney who performs transactions for people buying and selling their homes or commercial properties, I am extremely conscious of the many homeless people in the area. The official numbers say that there are 900 families in Jersey City who don’t know where they will sleep on any given night — but many advocates contend that this is a gross underestimate because many people fall under the radar, if not under the tressels. In response to this home-grown humanitarian crisis, I have begun working with an interfaith-based community action group in Jersey City called Jersey City Together.
Winograd and Schwartz, PC, would like to wish each of you a peaceful and healthy holiday season. These are certainly troubling times. As Americans, we value the power of the vote – democracy at work. This year’s presidential race is proving a challenge to the mind and our country. Along with the repercussions of Citizens United, money in politics has taken on a new meaning. And with his own bankroll of his campaign,
The images pouring out of the Middle East right now are heartbreaking. Men, women and children are fleeing war by piling into rafts that are not seaworthy and often sink. For a brief moment, it looked like the world was waking up to the reality of this nightmare when little Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body was photographed face-down and sinking into the sands of a Turkish beach. Aylan had been the victim of a capsized raft. Gone, too, were his mother and brother, leaving his father as the only member of his family left alive. And the world did react, with Europe opening its borders ever so slightly only to shut them a week later. Canada joined effort, taking in thousands of refugees as did Syria’s neighbor, Jordan. In the United States, President Obama committed to accepting 10,000 refugees – only to be greeted by howls of protest.
What do you have to do to qualify for bankruptcy?
To be eligible to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you must meet several criteria. Your income cannot be over a certain amount, depending on your place of residence and other specifics in the statutorily determined “means test.” You will be denied if you have previously filed bankruptcy within the past eight years.
In order for a bankruptcy lawyer to determine your eligibility, she will need to closely examine the following:
Income – earned or received by you and your spouse in the last 6 months
On July 10th, President Barack Obama’s Executive Orders on deferred action for undocumented immigrants were argued before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Both Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, (DAPA) are being challenged by a group of 26 states that assert Obama overstepped his authority with these Executive Orders.
Awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision, one cannot help but wonder: What if gay and lesbian couples will soon have the right to marry in all 50 states?
Hopefully, a few weeks from now, the following best case scenario will become a reality:
National headlines will read: The U.S. Supreme Court Ruled Today in Favor of Equality in Marriage.
The landmark 5-4 decision was announced earlier today with United States Supreme Court Justice Kennedy writing the opinion stating,
The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) established by President Obama’s Executive Order last November remains on temporary hold. The ruling, which halted Obama’s immigration program, was filed by a Federal court judge in the Southern District of Texas in February. The Texas court’s ruling was based on a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas and 25 other states. It opposed the President’s executive action which would have granted work permits and protection from deportation to millions of immigrants who have United States Citizen children.
As the marriage equality tsunami swept through the federal judiciary last year, it certainly was confusing every time a ruling was announced. Sixth Circuit, 1st District appellate, State Courts. This year the stage is set for even more people to be confused as the various “religious freedom” or “right to discriminate” laws percolate through the legal system. Below is a simplified guide to the maze of our federal judiciary: It’s not who you sue, but why you are suing There are 2 separate issues when challenging a law:
When you meet with your immigration attorney, you will be asked to provide certain information. Although some questions may seem intrusive and unnecessary, full disclosure of your criminal history and past immigration history is essential. Criminal History If you have a criminal background, have ever been fingerprinted by authorities, had a mugshot, or just taken to the police station for questioning, you need to tell your immigration lawyer. An arrest does not mean that you will be barred from becoming a Legal Permanent Resident
Think you are paying too much for property taxes? The good news is that you may be able to obtain a reduction. There are ways to have your property taxes lowered, but there are strict deadlines and other requirements to do so. Here is what you need to know: Tax appeals are a timely event: In New Jersey, all appeals must be filed before April 1st. Document what your neighbors are paying: The way to prove that your house is assessed
When applying for a mortgage, what does “pre-approval” mean?
To begin the process of purchasing a home with a mortgage, the lender will typically provide a pre-approval letter before looking deeper into your financial situation. You first submit a short application to ascertain if you have sufficient funds to meet your monthly expenses including the mortgage, insurance and taxes, as well as other monthly charges.
If you entered the United States legally but have overstayed your visa, you may be able to have your status adjusted and become a green card holder by having your citizen-spouse sponsor you. Here are some of the things you should know about the process:
- You may apply for Legal Permanent Residence (Green Card) based on your marriage to a U.S. Citizen and be approved on a conditional basis for 2 years
Recently, President Obama courageously took action, after Congress refused to do so, in an effort to effect meaningful immigration reform.
The president was forced to act by Executive Order. We hope this will push the House of Representatives to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will affect more people and will not be subject to reversal by another President’s Executive Order. The Executive Order is granting deferred action, a long-standing administrative mechanism used for decades to enable certain individuals to obtain certain privileges and rights without the possibility of deportation. The deferred action means the person’s removal will be deferred.
Thursday night, President Obama courageously took action after the Congress refused to do so, in an effort to effect meaningful immigration reform.
The next day, November 21st, I was interviewed about this by The Jersey Journal; click here to read that article.
The president was forced to act by Executive Order. We hope this will push the House of Representatives to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will affect more people and will not be subject to reversal by another President’s Executive Order.
If you find yourself falling far behind on paying your debts, bankruptcy is one possible solution to consider. The long time solution of bankruptcy has always been available to help someone in economic trouble obtain a fresh start on their financial life. By filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an individual is allowed to keep certain property, which is considered “exempt.” If your assets qualify for these exemptions, after Chapter 7 is filed and discharged you will be able to retain title or ownership of these properties.
Despite the Democrats’ loss of the Senate, the President has announced he will press on with his plan to issue an executive order regarding immigration. He had previously delayed taking action during the influx of immigrants from Latin America this summer – as we waited for time to pass and people continued to live in the United States without permission to work.
The plan has been rumored to consist of a “deferred action for adults” type of law which would allow many immigrants who reside in the United States without permission currently to gain some tangible form of legal status. As with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), there would be specific standards each applicant must meet, such as proving residence in the U.S.for a certain minimum amount of time and no criminal history.
Naturalization is the process by which a Permanent Legal Resident (green card holder) may become a citizen of the United States.If you are a green card holder and you are interested in applying for citizenship, you must meet the following requirements:
Advocates for same sex marriage may be running into the first sign of resistance from local and state courts. The recent decision in Borman v. Piles-Borman, written by 9th Circuit Judge Russell Simmons, held that Tennessee does not have to recognize the marriage of two male Tennessee residents who had legally tied the knot in Iowa.
This decision seems to fly in the face of the dozens of other decisions which recently have been handed down all over the country.Since the Supreme Court issued its decision in United States v. Windsor last year, courts in many states have been giving same sex couples reason to celebrate.
On August 20, 2014 the Supreme Court of The United States rained on the wedding day plans of thousands of people from Virginia.Each Supreme Court Justice handles emergency appeals from a certain geographical part of the United States. Virginia is under the jurisdiction of the Chief Justice John Roberts. After a lower court had ruled Virginia’s marriage equality ban to be unconstitutional – and did not delay the enforcement of its ruling – Chief Justice Roberts was petitioned to put a stay on the ruling, which he did on Wednesday.
For those foreign nationals looking to come to the United States, an investor visa may be an option worth considering. The most popular of these are the E-2 visa and the EB-5 visa. Each come with their own pros and cons, and anyone contemplating such a decision should carefully consider these.
Benefits of the E-2 visa:
- Allows foreign investors from all eligible countries to establish a business in the U.S. and to move here to oversee its operations.
- There is no specific minimum level of investment required. The regulations state only that the investment must be sufficient to develop a successful and profitable business.
- The E-2 investor’s spouse and minor children (under age 21) will be issued E-2 dependent visas.
“I just hate how all these illegal kids are coming over the border. They should send them all back.”
I was dumbfounded, recently, when approached by an acquaintance who said these very words to me.
Besides the fact that I cringe when hearing human beings referred to as ‘illegal,’ the woman I was talking to was an immigrant herself. She was fortunate to be an adult when she fled persecution in Russia, coming to this country only after paying fees and waiting 3 months – “Why”, she asks, “should someone else be allowed to skip the burden I endured?”
Immigrants in the United States, who are unable to return to their home countries due to unsafe conditions there, may apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) if their country has been designated for TPS by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Countries approved for this status include those experiencing ongoing armed conflicts, environmental or natural disasters (such as hurricanes or earthquakes), or outbreaks of serious disease.