Articles Tagged with Immigration

Last week, Representative Benjamin Quayle (R-AZ) introduced the Prohibiting Back-door Amnesty Act. The Act seeks to nullify President Obama’s recent immigration policy change by rescinding various memoranda and directives that call for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in not pursuing undocumented children.

A separate bill introduced by Representative Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) seeks to prohibit the Secretary of Homeland Security from granting work authorizations to aliens unlawfully present in the United States.

Last week, President Obama announced a change in his administration’s immigration policy regarding undocumented children. With an appeal to fairness and financial considerations, President Obama directed the Department of Homeland Security to focus its efforts to deport those who pose a threat to public safety or national security instead of talented young people.

Candidates for Prosecutorial Discretion

From Secretary Napolitano’s memorandum, an individual eligible for prosecutorial discretion will have met the following qualifications:

  • Age. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen and is not above the age of thirty.
  • Residence. Has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  • Education or National Service. Is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Criminal Background. Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety.

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2010 was a busy legal year, especially for free law advocates.  Here are some of Justia’s legal predictions for 2011:

  • Lawyers and legal professionals will continue to embrace free law as fast as our movement friends can crank it out.  Free law will continue its dramatic growth, and Justia remains proud to support the efforts of Carl Malamud’s work at Public.Resource.Org, along with Google, Fastcase, LII and other friends.
  • SCOTUS will grant certiorari after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit renders a decision either affirming or denying a lower court ruling that California’s ban against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

OnGuard Online, a website by the Federal Trade Commission, urges people to exercise discretion when using social networking sites. While their advice is targeted towards parents of young children, it applies equally to people of all ages.

In general, the FTC cautions people to only post information to social networking sites that they are comfortable with others seeing. While the FTC recommends the use of privacy settings to restrict access to your social networking profile, we would add that once you send an e-mail or post a message or photo on your social networking page, this information can easily be viewed by or forwarded to persons outside of your intended network, regardless of your privacy settings.

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Steve Elias Hi Friends,

As most of us know, is the best Website for consumer and small business USA legal information. Nolo’s lawyers-writers-editors are the best. covers everything from starting a business, employment, real estate, intellectual property, immigration, family law, tax, estate planning, bankruptcy, credit law and foreclosures.

Well… as our country slowly quickly moves into economic tough times, I thought I would blog on a new book, The Foreclosure Survival Guide written by my friend Steve Elias.

Steve Elias has been writing about legal and consumer financial issues for for nearly thirty years. He has been covering the recent legal and ecomomic changes that folks face, including credit, bankruptcy and foreclosure issues. Steve is currently blogging (with Albin Renauer – Go Blue!) on Nolo’s Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Blog, covering the latest issues, as well as legislation on bankruptcy and foreclosure. He also blogs on The Law Reform Soapbox.

The Foreclosure Survival Guide also has put together the Property & Money Resource Center with loads of legal and consumer content from Steve and the other Nolo editors. This resource center includes specific sections with articles & FAQs on Foreclosure, Credit Repair & Debt, Bankruptcy and Social Security & Retirement. The Property & Money Resource Center is constantly being updated with the latest information.

Steve has written a new book on foreclosures, appropriately called the The Foreclosure Survival Guide (on the book costs $14.99, and the immediately downloadable ebook pdf costs $12.99, you can also get the book on Amazon and The Foreclosure Survival Guide has information on mortgages, including adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), short sales, deeds in lieu of foreclosure, judicial and non-judicial foreclosure, credit counseling, liens, and using bankruptcy to deal with foreclosure.

Steve goes into much more detail in his book, but here is some information from his book about nonprofit counselors that may be able to help:

Nonprofit Housing Counselors (from Chapter 10 – Resources Beyond the Book)

I strongly suggest that you find a nonprofit housing counseling agency. The counselors there can help you assess your mortgage situation and, if possible, negotiate a solution with your lender that will keep you in your house. Lenders–which suffer economically from foreclosures and benefit if something can be worked out–are the main source of funds for these agencies. (see Ch. 4 [of The Foreclosure Survival Guide] for an in-depth discussion of finding and working with a nonprofit housing counselor.)

The foreclosure problems have been going on for a while and could get much worse if something is not done by the lenders and government (who will soon own large stakes in the lenders). As it is in the best interest of the lenders and the neighborhoods to try to keep people in their homes to reduce the number of foreclosures and vacant units, there needs to be something done to revalue some of these loans. We will see what Congress, President Bush and then President ??? do. And then there is the US and world economy as a whole… we will see.

For those facing credit issues, foreclosure or possible bankruptcy, check out Nolo’s Property & Money Resource Center for very helpful consumer information. For those facing foreclosure, falling behind on their payments, or just need help with paying their mortgages, check out The Foreclosure Survival Guide. The table of contents of The Foreclosure Survival Guide is in the extended entry of this post.



iTunes :: Tangerine, Led Zeppelin III by Led Zeppelin

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Federal regulations affect the practices of a broad spectrum of lawyers. For corporate counsel, federal regulations may directly touch on their company’s core business, or they may impose additional general compliance requirements, such as in human resources, as an example. Attorneys in both private practice and public interest law face a similar impact whether they practice labor and employment, immigration, criminal law or in a completely different area.

Here are some federal regulations that attorneys in the corresponding practice areas or industries may find of interest:

Regulatory Agency Practice Areas / Industry
US Citizenship and Immigration Services Immigration, Employment
Internal Revenue Service Estate Planning, Tax
Patent and Trademark Office Intellectual Property
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Energy, Government Relations
Food and Drug Administration Personal Injury, Pharmaceutical, Government Relations
Department of State International Law, Immigration
Thrift Supervision Office Financial Services
Securities and Exchange Commission Financial Services, Securities, Consumer Law
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Labor and Employment, Employee Benefits
DOJ Antitrust Division Antitrust, Business, Consumer Law

If you practice in an area affected by federal regulations, you probably already recognize that keeping abreast of new regulatory developments is essential. To assist you, Justia has released the free Justia Regulations Tracker, found at (currently in beta). Justia Regulations Tracker allows a user to focus on regulations originating from a specific federal agency and subscribe to an RSS feed of those regulations.

Better yet, you can further refine the RSS feed by specifying the type of regulation or stage in the regulation making process (i.e., rules, administrative orders, notices, proposed rules, executive orders, and proclamations) or even defining certain search terms, such as all regulations that mention bovine spongiform encephalitis.

If you aren’t already on the RSS bandwagon, now is a great time hop aboard. RSS feeds allow you to take a particular set of data and view it using your RSS reader. So, instead of opening a print newspaper and reading the articles that the editors have selected for you, and RSS reader allows you create your own custom news and information source from data sources that you select. For lawyers, this means reading the federal regulations, court filings, legal commentary and other resources that you decide are worth tracking. Enjoy!

Justia Regulation Tracker

Justia Regulation Tracker

Yesterday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposed a “new fee structure” to fund a modernized immigration service. Of course, in governmentspeak, a new fee structure can only mean higher fees. 🙂

Actually, USCIS did propose waiving the current $270 fee for T Nonimmigrant Status applicants, who are victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons. However, other than that, the proposed fees for all other applications are higher than the current fees.

With the new fee structure, USCIS contends that it will be able to improve its facilities, upgrade its data systems, expand online services and reduce application processing times.

In the table below, I have itemized some of the changes for the more popular immigration application forms.

Form No. Description Current Fee Proposed Fee Difference ($) Difference (%)
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card $190 $290 $100 53%
I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $190 $320 $130 68%
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative $190 $355 $165 87%
I-131 Application for Travel Document $170 $305 $135 79%
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $195 $475 $280 144%
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status $325 $905 $580 178%
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status $200 $300 $100 50%
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence $205 $465 $260 127%
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization $180 $340 $160 89%
N-400 Application for Naturalization $330 $595 $265 80%

Predictably, some politicians and immigrant advocate groups have condemned the increased fees. I can understand some of their criticism because the only guaranteed aspect to this proposal is higher fees. Particularly, where government services are concerned, increased funding doesn’t necessarily result in better service.

So, I’m offering the USCIS five ways to win over their critics:

  1. Keep the Current Fee Structure. For those applicants who are satisfied with the current level of service provided by the USCIS, let them pay the existing price. If someone doesn’t mind waiting from six months to one year or longer, then reward their patience with the lower price.
  2. Offer Expedited Service for a Higher Fee. However, if an applicant wants to upgrade to a faster level of service, allow the applicant to pay an express processing fee. Some applicants will find a higher fee worth the expense if they know that their application will be processed within a 2–3 month timeframe. Currently, USCIS offers premium processing for Forms I-129 and I-140. Open premium processing to all applicants.
  3. Offer True Online Tracking for a Higher Fee. If FedEx can tell me the location of a package in transit, surely the USCIS can offer a more illuminating case status search than it currently offers. Right now, someone with a pending application may see the following cryptic message: “Case received and pending.” Really, this is pretty embarrassing. Pending could mean anything from your file is sitting in a queue behind 70,000 other files to someone is actively processing your application. Give the applicant some substantive information. How far along is the review process? And, whatever information that USCIS shares with the applicant humanizes the process immensely instead of making the applicant feel like they are dealing with an impenetrable bureaucracy.
  4. Offer Personal Estimated Completion Dates. The phone company offers its customers a 4 hour service window for repairs. FedEx offers an estimated arrival date for packages shipped through them. USCIS should offer applicants an estimated completion date. On the USCIS website, applicants can look up processing dates, but this is just general guidance that is not particular to an applicant’s individual case. USCIS should be able to calculate when a decision will be made based on where an application is in the queue and what items remain outstanding. A simple “USCIS will complete its review of your application within X weeks” will probably be a welcome gesture.
  5. Earn It or Return It. Back up a pledge of faster service with a money back guarantee. If USCIS cannot review an application within a promised timeframe, then return the premium processing fee. This then becomes a no-lose situation for applicants. If you’re going to charge a premium, then either earn it if you deliver or return it if you fail.

Hi Friends,

Nolo, Justia friend and our main content provider, has relaunched their Web site with a new design that focuses on users’ legal needs. The new Nolo site is segmented into six legal issues channels, leading to a much better user interface. The interface is much cleaner, with everything visible above fold on the home page.

New Web site

As one can see, the Web site is in consumer friendly yellow 🙂