Friday, April 7, 2017

USCIS Reaches FY 2018 H-1B Cap

USCIS Reaches FY 2018 H-1B Cap

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.  However, please keep in mind USCIS suspended premium processing     April 3 for up to six months for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require specialized knowledge.

If you are interested in learning about Getting A Green Card Through Employment, please register for our FREE seminar at:  goo.gl/qtvxWj

Campaign to End Racial Profiling




Campaign to End Racial Profiling


Unless you have been living under a rock, we’ve all heard the saying, “Driving While Black”. Deborah Jacobs, in her capacity as Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey, once said, “We want to send a message to the victims about their rights, and to the state about its obligations. We need real police reform and we need to answer the suffering of the many victims of the New Jersey Turnpike."
 A few years ago, "Getting the State of New Jersey to stop racial profiling is like pulling teeth," headlined a new advertisement unveiled at a press conference in Newark. 
The ad featured Orange, NJ dentist Dr. Elmo Randolph, an African-American man who was pulled over approximately 100 times over a five-year period without ever receiving a ticket. In the ad, Dr. Randolph describes his experience with the police, stating that, "The police searched my car and I had to prove to the troopers that being an African-American man in a nice car doesn't mean that I am a drug dealer or car thief." Flash forward to 2017, not much has changed. 
According to Civil Rights attorney, Brian Figeroux, of Figeroux & Associates, the Campaign to End Racial Profiling, failed because Congress, President Bush, Jr. and President Obama, for “national security” purposes needed the cover of law to “target” Muslims; consequently, African Americans, Hispanics, other minorities suffered.  Congress and the President need to end racial profiling not ban Muslims. 
What is Racial Profiling?
The term “racial profiling” means the practice of a law enforcement agent or agency relying, to any degree, on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation in selecting which individual to subject to routine or spontaneous investigatory activities or in deciding upon the scope and substance of law enforcement activity following the initial investigatory procedure, except when there is trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and timeframe, that links a person with a particular characteristic described in this paragraph to an identified criminal incident or scheme. – H. R. 1933 (End Racial Profiling Act of 2015)
 According to One America (www.OneAmerica.org), a civil rights organization, these communities regularly experience the injustices of racial profiling:
•Members of African American, Native American and Latino (Hispanic) communities are stopped and searched more often, for example, when driving while black or brown, than whites;
•Since September 11, 2001, members of Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities have increasingly been searched, interrogated and detained in the name of national security, oftentimes labeled terrorism suspects when in reality many were only charged with misdemeanors or minor immigration violations, if they were charged at all.
One America, as a civil rights organization, “advances the fundamental principles of democracy and justice at the local, state and national levels by building power within immigrant communities in collaboration with key allies.” 
The following is an email interview with Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica.org, concerning his organization’s advocacy supporting the End Racial Profiling Act, Revising the 2003 DOJ guide on racial profiling and eliminating the DHS programs.
1) Were the changes you recommended under the Obama administration ever implemented?
The Department of Justice issued a revised profiling guidance in 2014, and that guidance responded to the majority of our recommendations.  However, the guidance excluded the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which raised significant concerns over what accountability would apply to DHS and its various sub-agencies.
2) If those changes were implemented, what is their current status under the Trump administration? 
The guidance is still official policy for non-DHS agencies, at least until the new Attorney General decides to rescind or change it.  There are additional profiling guidances that agencies like Customs & Border Protection did adopt.  We are concerned, however, that the executive orders recently announced under the Trump Administration contradict the existing guidance.
3) Does your organization recommend the same policy advice to the Trump administration? If so, what lobbying efforts are you currently working on?
Our recommendations have not changed. From our perspective, profiling is not only unconstitutional but it’s poor law enforcement practice.  We will continue to advocate for reforms at DHS and its element agencies, but the leadership of these agencies have either been less open to these discussions, or there are still positions not yet filled.  Our other venue is Congress, where these issues can be raised in the context of oversight and confirmation hearings.  Finally, we anticipate that members of Congress will be introducing the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act, which will be a vehicle to build coalitions and advocacy against profiling in Congress and in the broader community.  The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is an excellent resource that provide more detailed information on the content of that legislation.
End Racial Profiling Act of 2015
Prohibits any law enforcement agent or agency from engaging in racial profiling. Grants the United States or an individual injured by racial profiling, the right to obtain declaratory or injunctive relief.
   Requires federal law enforcement agencies to maintain adequate policies and procedures to eliminate racial profiling and to cease existing practices that permit racial profiling.
   Requires state or local governmental entities or state, local or tribal law enforcement agencies that apply for grants under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and the Cops on the Beat Program to certify that they maintain adequate policies and procedures for eliminating racial profiling and have eliminated any existing practices that permit or encourage racial profiling.
   Authorizes the Attorney General to award grants and contracts for the collection of data relating to racial profiling and for the development of best practices and systems to eliminate racial profiling. Requires the Attorney General to issue regulations for the collection and compilation of data on racial profiling and for the implementation of this Act. 
End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017
This bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) on February 16, 2017.
As stated by the Human Rights Watch:
The End Racial and Religious Profiling Act would prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from targeting a person based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation without trustworthy information that is relevant to linking a person to a crime. The bill would require law enforcement to maintain adequate policies and procedures designed to eliminate profiling, including increased data collection in order to accurately assess the extent of the problem. The bill would also require training for law enforcement officials on issues of profiling and mandates the creation of procedures for receiving, investigating and responding to complaints of alleged profiling.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Dangers of Winter Weather

Dangers of Winter Weather




There are a number of different ways that winter storms can impact a region and the people who live there. Winter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are not directly related to the storm itself. People could get in an automobile accident on icy roads,
have a heart attack while shoveling snow, or suffer frostbite
or hypothermia from prolonged exposure to the cold.

Wind
Some winter storms have extremely strong winds that can create blizzard conditions with blinding, wind driven snow, drifting, and
dangerous wind chills. These intense winds can bring down trees and poles, and can also cause damage to homes and other buildings.

Snow
Heavy snow accumulations can immobilize a region and paralyze a city, strand motorists, stop the flow of supplies, and disrupt emergency services. Buildings may collapse, and trees and power lines can be destroyed from heavy snow. In rural regions, homes and farms may be isolated for days, and livestock could be lost.

Ice
Heavy ice accumulations can bring down objects like trees, utility poles and lines, and communication towers. Power can be disrupted or lost for days while utility companies repair the damage. Even a small amount of ice can cause hazardous conditions for motorists and pedestrians.

Cold
Extremely cold temperatures can accompany winter storms and be left in their wake. Infants and the elderly are most susceptible to prolonged exposure to the cold, which can cause potentially life-threatening conditions such as hypothermia and frostbite. Below freezing temperatures can damage vegetation and cause pipes to freeze and burst inside homes. Exposure to cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and become life-threatening. What constitutes extreme cold varies in different parts of the country. In the South, near freezing temperatures are considered extreme cold. In the North, extreme cold means temperatures well below zero. Freezing temperatures can cause severe damage to citrus fruit crops and other vegetation. Pipes may freeze and burst in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat. 



Source: http://www.crh.noaa.gov

Be safe. Be careful. stay warm.

If you are in an auto or slip and fall accident, please call us at 855-868-8845. We will get the maximum settlement for you. 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Eligible for the H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

USCIS Announces Addition of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Eligible Countries for the H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, have added St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs for the coming year. The notice listing the eligible countries was published on Oct. 26, 2016 in the Federal Register. DHS reserves the right to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at any time DHS determines that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation.
   The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. Typically, USCIS only approves H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. USCIS, however, may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the United States.

For a FREE consultation, call 855-768-8845.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Considering a Spring Home Sale? Learn How to Appraise Your Selling Chances Like a Pro


The springtime is known to be one of the best times to put your home up for sale.  However, if you're not necessarily planning on engaging a real estate agent, it's important to be prepared for all of the hard work involved in putting your home up for sale. Whether you're new to the market or you've never sold a home on your own before, here are some questions to ask yourself so you're prepared for selling in the coming season.


Do You Know the Market?
The neighborhood you live in and the buying market you're dealing with are important factors in how your home is going to sell, so you'll need to know a little about both when determining your ideal price. By looking through the listings in the area and seeing what homes like yours have sold for, you may be able to give yourself a range for the offers you can expect.

How Will You Sell It?
One of the added benefits of social media is that you can use sites like Facebook and Twitter to announce your home sale and even highlight its best features. While this may make selling seem much easier, you'll still need to make sure you have good photography that captures your home and a website where home buyers can learn more details. Be aware that while these items may seem easy enough, it can take a lot of time to manage these details on your own. 

Are You Prepared to Negotiate?
It's a good feeling to get an offer on your home, but in all likelihood it will be less than what you're expecting and this means engaging in the art of negotiation. According to the National Association of Realtors, those who sell their home generally get 10-20% less than those who utilize an agent, so it's important to be comfortable negotiating before you dive in. If you're confident in your acumen, you may want to go it alone, but if you have doubts, it can be a better financial decision to engage the help of an agent.
   Before you decide to sell your home on your own, it's worth appraising your skills to determine if it will be worth the time and effort you'll have to put in. If you've come to the conclusion that you'd like to utilize an agent after all, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information. Schedule an appointment today. Call 888-670-6791
not necessarily planning on engaging a real estate agent, it's important to be prepared for all of the hard work involved in putting your home up for sale. Whether you're new to the market or you've never sold a home on your own before, here are some questions to ask yourself so you're prepared for selling in the coming season.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

If Stopped by ICE Agents: Know Your Rights


If you are stopped by police officers, immigration agents or other public authorities, you have rights. It does not matter if you entered the country by crossing the border in Mexico, if you are an overstay, green card holder or citizen. As long as you are within the borders of the United States, you have rights. Know them. Use them.

   The first step is to call your immigration law and deportation defense attorneys at Figeroux & Associates. The Law Firm team has represented clients across the United States and has a 24/7 emergency line, 855-768-8845. It does not matter what day or time it is — pulled over or stopped by Immigration Authorities, call Figeroux & Associates today.  Here’s what to do if you’re stopped by ICE Agents:

1) No ICE officer should stop anybody based on appearance alone; regardless of your ethnicity, the color of your skin, the way you dress or talk or the language you’re speaking. It’s the law.

2) If an immigration officer asks for proof that you are a legal resident of the United States and wants to see some identification, you have the right to refuse to give them your ID. You can also refuse to answer any of their questions. Unless they have a warrant, you have no obligation to interact with them at all. You can ask, “Am I arrested?” If the answer is no, you do not need to give them any information regarding your legal status in the U.S. Showing them ID is totally optional.

3) If you are being interrogated do not give false information, and do not give them false documentation. You can be charged with identity theft if you show them forged documents, or someone else’s documents, even if you have legal status. Remember that everything you say or do can be used against you.

4) If immigration officials (ICE) begin to knock on your door, you have the right not to open the door. They only have the right to enter to your home if they have a warrant from a judge.

5) If you are arrested in an immigration detention center and you don’t want to return to your home country, you have the right to request a meeting with an immigration officer.

6) Do not sign anything you don’t understand. You might be signing a voluntary deportation order.

7) Some cases can be resolved with the help of an immigration attorney. The lawyer can request for a court date to meet with an immigration judge and help solve your case. You don’t have the right to an attorney provided by the state, but you do have the right to see your own attorney. Call the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates, at 855-768-8845.

8) Who should you call: Your family member to contact an immigration lawyer. When you enter an immigration center, they will assign you an A#, which is your alien number. Make sure you give your A# to the people you talk to on the outside helping with your case. If you have no one else to call you should call the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates at 855-768-8845.


THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. CONSULT AN ATTORNEY. CALL 855-768-8845.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Uncontested Divorce Means that You Agree 100%

If a couple pursues an uncontested divorce, they must agree on the many complicated issues presented by their divorce. They each sign the divorce papers and it is complete. Though uncontested divorce may be a quick way out, there are many ways that it can backfire.


If you feel there is nothing to argue about right now, you might get burned in the long run. Talk to an attorney at Figeroux & Associates before pursuing an uncontested divorce. Contact our attorneys in Brooklyn, New York, at 1-855-678-8845 for a consultation. Don't get burned in an uncontested divorce.

The Drawbacks of Uncontested Divorce
Though uncontested divorce has a reputation for being free or low cost, many times this is not the case. The two main ways that an uncontested divorce fails are as follows:

  1. An agreement blows up once the two spouses begin to discuss plans in detail
  2. Someone finds out too late that their former spouse did not disclose all assets
Both of these scenarios can be avoided by seeking proper legal representation from a skilled attorney from day one.

Protect Your Future
When making important life decisions such as divorce and child custody arrangements, why leave yourself unprotected? A knowledgeable attorney can guide you and provide advice to protect your future.


At Figeroux & Associates, we will carefully assess the circumstances of your situation and advise you on how to proceed. Call 855-768-8845. 

Divorce your spouse; not your money or kids.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Facing Foreclosure?



The possibility of losing your home because you can’t make the mortgage payments, can be terrifying. Perhaps you’re having trouble making ends meet because you or a family member lost a job, or you’re having other financial problems. Or maybe you’re one of the many consumers who took out a mortgage that had a fixed rate for the first two or three years and then had an adjustable rate – and you want to know what your payments will be and whether you’ll be able to make them.
   Regardless of the reason for your mortgage anxiety, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know how to help save your home, and how to recognize and avoid foreclosure scams.

Know Your Mortgage
Do you know what kind of mortgage you have? Do you know whether your payments are going to increase? If you can’t tell by reading the mortgage documents you received at settlement, contact your loan servicer and ask. A loan servicer is responsible for collecting your monthly loan payments and crediting your account.

If You’re Behind on Your Payments

If you are having trouble making your payments, contact your loan servicer to discuss your options as early as you can. The longer you wait to call, the fewer options you will have.
   Many loan servicers are expanding the options available to borrowers – it’s worth calling your servicer even if your request has been turned down before. Servicers are getting lots of calls: Be patient, and be persistent if you don’t reach your servicer on the first try.

Avoiding Default and Foreclosure
If you have fallen behind on your payments, consider discussing the following foreclosure prevention options with your loan provider:
  • Reinstatement
  • Repayment Plan
  • Forbearance
  • Selling Your Home
  • Loan Modification

Bankruptcy
Personal bankruptcy generally is considered the debt management option of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far-reaching. A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, and can make it difficult to get credit, buy another home, get life insurance, or sometimes, get a job. Still, it is a legal procedure that can offer a fresh start for people who can’t satisfy their debts.
   If you and your loan servicer cannot agree on a repayment plan or other remedy, you may want to investigate filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you have a regular income, Chapter 13 may allow you to keep property, like a mortgaged house or car, that you might otherwise lose. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income toward payment of your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender the property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of certain debts.

Call 855-768-8845 for a FREE, no obligation legal consultation.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Understanding Real Estate Contracts and What You Can Expect to Find




There are a lot of things that go into the successful sale of your home, but many people are unfamiliar with the intricacies of the contract. Whether you consult with your real estate agent or plan on diving in on your own, it's important to be clear on the terms. If you're wondering what you can expect when it comes to the contract, here are some pointers on what to watch out for.

Real Estate Jargon
A real estate contract would not be complete without the professional terminology, so you'll see words like amortization, price-to-income ratio and title that may impact the meaning of your contract. Instead of going it blind, search the Internet for terms or consult with your real estate agent to provide a clear explanation.

Specifics On The Sale
Information regarding the specifics of your property will be present in the contract, and it's important to check this information before signing on the dotted line. While the address and location of your home are important, it's also critical to verify the purchase price that has been decided upon, the closing date on the property and any other items that have been negotiated and agreed upon.

Be Aware Of Withdrawal Terms
It can be easy to be taken away by excitement once you've received the perfect offer on your home, but it's important not to lose sight of everything that's required before the sale has been finalized. One of the most important parts of the contract is the withdrawal terms that are laid out, so be certain you're aware of what your rights are if you or the home buyer decides to withdraw from the process.

Watch For Seller's Responsibilities
If you, as a seller, do not remain committed to the terms of the contract this can be a deal breaker, so ensure that you've familiarized yourself with exactly what's required of you. This may include everything from the maintenance on the property to offer negotiations, so it's important to comply with these terms.

Dealing with a real estate contract can be confusing for the layman, so it's worth your while to have a trusted real estate agent around who will be able to explain it. From withdrawal terms to seller responsibilities, there are plenty of things you should be aware of before sealing the deal. If you're currently embarking on selling your home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Looking to buy or sell? Call us first at 888-670-8845.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What to do if you’re questioned or detained by ICE:




1) No ICE officer should stop anybody based on appearance alone; regardless of your ethnicity, the color of your skin, the way you dress or talk or the language you’re speaking. It’s the law.
2) If an immigration officer asks for proof that you are a legal resident of the United States and wants to see some identification, you have the right to refuse to give them your ID. You can also refuse to answer any of their questions. Unless they have a warrant, you have no obligation to interact with them at all. You can ask “Am I arrested?” If the answer is no, you do not need to give them any information regarding your legal status in the U.S. Showing them ID is totally optional.
3) If you are being interrogated do not give false information, and do not give them false documentation. You can be charged with identity theft if you show them forged documents, or someone else’s documents, even if you have legal status. Remember that everything you say or do can be used against you.
4) If immigration officials (ICE) begin to knock on your door you have the right not to open the door. They only have the right to enter to your home if they have a warrant from a judge.
5) If you are arrested in an immigration detention center and you don’t want to return to your home country, you have the right to request a meeting with an immigration officer.
6) Do not sign anything you don’t understand. You might be signing a voluntary deportation order.
7) Some cases can be resolved with the help of an immigration attorney. The lawyer can request for a court date to meet with an immigration judge and help solve your case. You don’t have the right to an attorney provided by the state, but you do have the right to see your own attorney. Call the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates, at 855-768-8845
8) Who should you call: Your family member to contact an immigration lawyer. When you enter an immigration center, they will assign you an A#, which is you’re alien number. Make sure you give your A# to the people you talk to on the outside helping with your case. If you have no one else to call you should call the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates at 855-768-8845.

THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE - CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.