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New York Legal Blog

Will the health care requirement make immigration harder?

Moving to New York is often an opportunity for immigrants to improve their lives in a number of ways, including financially. However, an executive order from the president could make it harder for many immigrants to achieve those goals. The new immigration rule will require people to prove that they can afford health insurance, which is notoriously expensive in the United States.

A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation already shows that noncitizens are more likely to not have insurance coverage than citizens. This does not mean that immigrants who have legal status do not have any type of coverage. In fact, 77% -- a majority of those individuals -- are currently covered by some type of insurance policy.

Is Green Day's music causing car accidents?

Whether running a quick errand or hitting the pavement for a road trip, many drivers have the perfect playlist ready to go. While most people may think that listening to music while driving is normal and safe behavior, doing so is much more dangerous than it may seem. New York drivers who listen to certain music behind the wheel may actually be more likely to end up causing car accidents.

When studying the link between music and driving habits, researchers selected 10 popular songs from a number of different genres. These scientists then had study participants navigate a simulated six-lane road while listening to music or in silence. In an average 70-minute period, drivers changed lanes 20 times. When listening to music with at least 120 BPM, drivers changed lanes almost twice as much.

How can you prove negligence caused your car accident?

If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you may be wondering how you can ever pick up the pieces and move forward. Even a seemingly minor car accident can result in significant financial loss, damage to your personal property, painful injuries and medical bills you may not be able to pay on your own. This is overwhelming, but there could be legal options available to you.

You could have grounds to file a civil claim if your accident was the result of negligence. Through this process, you may be able to claim compensation for your losses. Victims of negligent driving do not have to suffer alone, but they can take immediate action to start building a case and gathering what they need to validate their claims of negligence. 

Real estate: Legally rejecting an offer to buy

A house is often much more than just four walls -- it is a home. Because of this, people in New York who are selling their homes may feel very strongly about finding buyers who value the properties just as much as they do. While this is understandable, real estate law prevents sellers from refusing to sell a home for a number of reasons. Here are examples of both legitimate and illegal reasons for turning down an offer.

It is perfectly acceptable to refuse an offer for a number of different reasons. For example, a seller can reject a buyer's offer if he or she believes it is too low. This is often done in hopes of getting a higher offer that the seller believes reflects the value of the house more accurately. A seller can also reject an offer if he or she suspects that the buyer may not be able to secure a loan. A homeowner can also reject an offer if he or she decides to keep the home instead of selling it.

ICE in charge of medical deferrals after new immigration policy

Immigrants often choose to live in New York so they can receive necessary medical care. However, sometimes a person's visa may be set to expire before he or she can complete necessary treatment for a serious illness. These individuals can apply for medical deferrals, which would allow them to stay in the United States to complete their treatment plans. Although many of these requests were routinely approved in the past, it seems as if they are now being denied more frequently because of a change to immigration policy.

If approved, the medical deferred action program lets immigrants stay in the country for an additional two years if they require treatment because of an extreme medical need. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service -- USCIS -- used to be in charge of reviewing medical deferral requests, but that job was recently taken over by a different agency. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- ICE -- is the agency that is now in charge of making decisions for this program.

Could a workplace injury lead to something worse?

Employees have rights regarding workplace injury. All workers are eligible to have their medical expenses covered for on-the-job injuries. For some people, the process may be complex.

Injuries happen frequently in industries that require physical labor. Regardless of your immigration status, you should receive medical treatment and insurance coverage if necessary.

Will the revised citizenship test affect the immigration process?

Becoming a naturalized citizen is the dream of many lawful permanent residents who are living in New York. However, it is not enough to be a lawful resident who is of the right age and good moral character. Although people who are applying for citizenship must meet these requirements, they also have to pass the citizenship test administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

In 2018, there was a 90% pass rate for the citizenship test. Around 750,000 people successfully passed, marking the highest rate over the past five years. In order to successfully pass the test, a person must correctly answer six of 10 questions that are randomly generated. There are 100 questions in total which address things like American history, government, geography, holidays and symbols. Even though applicants only have to know the answer to six questions, a wide range of knowledge on these various topics is necessary.

Understanding immigration rights when dealing with ICE

Both documented and undocumented immigrants in New York are facing an enormous amount of uncertainty at the moment. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency seems to be stepping up efforts to locate and arrest immigrants who it believes qualify for removal. However, many ICE agents are apparently overstepping their bounds and misrepresenting the law, either intentionally or otherwise. For these reasons, immigrants and citizens alike should understand their rights under the law.

According to reports, ICE is currently looking for approximately 2,000 immigrants who have orders for deportation. However, from Jan. 2016 to Sept. 2018, around 85% of the immigrants that ICE deported either had not been convicted for serious or violent crimes, or had no criminal convictions whatsoever. Additionally, 27,540 legal residents and citizens were interviewed, screened and sometimes even detained in 2018. In 2016, only 5,490 legal residents or citizens went through this process.

Family law: Can I minimize my post-divorce taxes?

It is not uncommon for a person to pay spousal support to his or her ex-spouse after a divorce. Indeed, spousal support is very important to the financial security of a spouse who either earned less or stayed home to care for children. Unfortunately, recent changes to the tax laws affected family law and created a situation where payers might end up paying less while receiving fewer tax benefits. Those tax benefits can be found elsewhere in certain situations.

A New York couple who receives significant gains from investments may already be familiar with the associated tax rates. Gains of $39,475 or less are not taxed at all, and gains from that amount up to $200,000 are only taxed at 15%. Rather than take on monthly alimony payments and the associated taxes, a couple may agree to a lump sum alimony paid by the investment gains.

Immigration processing times affect international students' plans

College classes require a significant amount of time, focus and energy from students. When taking a full class load, many students in New York find that it is impossible to work during the school year. The summer break is an opportune time to find part-time work or to participate in an internship, but some international students were not able to follow through on those plans. Ongoing delays with the immigration process mean that these students were forced to make difficult decisions regarding their summer plans.

The Optional Practical Training program gives international students the opportunity to work in fields related to their studies for up to one year. Students must already have already secured a job or internship before applying for the program, and they can only file 90 days before their scheduled start dates. In the past, this three month waiting period did not pose any problems. The average application took less than 60 days for approval.

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