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New York Legal Blog

New rules change refugee demographics

Traditionally, the United States takes in more refugees than all other countries combined. The U.S. has accepted more than 3 million refugees since 1975. This includes almost a million since 2003 alone. But new administration policies aim to curb the number of refugees the U.S. resettles. The number of refugees resettled in the U.S. has fallen sharply in recent years.

After accepting a record 108,197 refugees in 2016, the U.S. has resettled less than 30,000 refugees each year since – a ceiling set by the current administration. The U.S. has accepted only 12,151 refugees halfway through the 2019 fiscal year. If this trend continues the U.S. will accept the fewest refugees since 2004.

New immigration rule calls for social media information

With the rise of portable technology and affordable internet, social media has become an everyday part of many people's lives. But is social media usage an accurate reflection of who the average person in New York is? The U.S. Department of State apparently thinks so, which is why immigration applications will now ask for social media information.

The Department of State proposed screening applicants' social media accounts in March 2018. According to the DOS, looking at the content of social media accounts will improve the screening process for visas while facilitating legitimate travel. Looking through an applicant's social media is not exactly a new practice, though. Before the changes, the DOS identified approximately 65,000 applicants every year that required enhanced screening through old emails and social media.

How do criminal convictions affect your immigration process?

Although noncitizens are less likely to commit crimes than those who are, there are important things to know when facing a criminal charge when it comes to immigration status. The outcome of criminal charges often leads to a non citizen entering removal proceedings which is sometimes due to lack of effective counsel. This is important because entering intoremoval proceedings often times leads to deportation. 

Are changes coming to family immigration?

A new proposal could change how new immigrants make their way to New York. While the current immigration system prioritizes those who already have familial ties in the United States, the proposed changes would get rid of family immigration as most people know it. Instead, a point-based system would emphasize those with certain background levels or specialized skills.

Sponsoring a family member to come to the United States is a significant perk of being a citizen or green card holder, but President Trump thinks that the process should have less to do with family ties. His recently released proposal states that factors such as employability should be considered more important. In the points system the likelihood of not just having a job but also the potential to create new jobs in the United States would also be important.

Are my family members eligible for green cards?

For many around the globe, living and working in the United States is a dream. Generations of immigrants have arrived with the hope of starting a new life.

But once you begin your American journey, soon you may want your family members to join. If you have become a citizen of the U.S. or a permanent resident, there may be pathways in which your family can gain green cards as well.

Overstaying visas: An invisible immigration issue

Coming to the United States as an undocumented immigrant is a difficult experience, particularly for those who feel as if they have no options for reprieve. However, much of the recent focus has been on those who have crossed the border illegally. While these individuals face an enormous amount of uncertainty, another group of undocumented immigrants are largely overlooked during discussions of immigration -- those who overstay their visas.

Over each of the last seven years, undocumented immigrants who stayed past their visa expiration dates have outpaced the number of those who crossed the border illegally. The Center for Migration Studies reported that of the 515,000 people who arrived illegally in 2016, 320,000 had simply overstayed their visas. This means that there is a significant number of people who may be feeling confused or even worried about their options for staying in New York.

How do women fare in family law matters like divorce?

One of the biggest issues women worry about after divorce is their finances. This is a valid concern that can make it difficult for some women in New York to pursue divorce, even when it is otherwise the best option for their situation. However, no one should put off ending an unhappy marriage because of financial worries. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with this sensitive family law matter.

While there are always exceptions to the rule, women generally earn less than men. During 2018's fourth quarter, men employed full-time or on salary earned an average of $991 per week. Women in the same situation earned only $796. As such, women tend to see a far greater reduction in household income than men do. Debt is another complicating factor when it comes to post-divorce finances.

How can I stop a deportation under immigration law?

Immigrants in New York who are facing deportation may be feeling overwhelming confusion and sadness about their futures. Many of these individuals wish to stay in the United States but are unaware of their options for doing so. Here are just a few ways that immigration law addresses avoiding removal.

In some cases, qualifying lawful permanent residents or nonpermanent residents can apply for a cancellation of removal. An application for a cancellation of removal must be made during a hearing in front of an immigration judge. It is then up to the judge's discretion to adjust the applicant's status from being listed as deportable to lawfully admitted.

Gang involvement need not be proven to affect immigration

Many people who are living in America but are not yet citizens would likely agree that immigration is a complex matter. Your process of getting into the United States may have been long and complicated. And now that you reside in the States, you probably will do everything within your power to remain.

However, many noncitizen New Yorkers face trouble with immigration authorities. This might include being accused of gang membership. Especially for those seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), such allegations could significantly alter the course of kids' lives.

Multitasking drivers at risk of causing personal injury accidents

New York drivers tend to be in a hurry. With a lot of things to accomplish in a short amount of time, many of these people are multitasking most of the day, even when they are behind the wheel. Unfortunately, it is not possible to safely multitask and drive, and distracted drivers place everyone on the road at an elevated risk of suffering injuries in a personal injury accident. 

Distracted driving is often associated with cellphone use, including talking or texting. However, there are many things that can distract a person while he or she is behind the wheel, including eating, talking to a passenger, trying to reach something or even adjusting the radio. Any behavior besides giving full attention to the road is not necessary. 

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