Blog Authors

Latest from Ana Mencini Blog

A recent decision by a Texas federal judge has dealt a blow to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the United States, which currently provides protection for hundreds of thousands of immigrants. With the judge’s ruling that the program is illegal, the program will no longer be accepting new applicants, and the status of those who are currently in the program could also come into question. The DACA Program In 2012, then-President Obama created the DACA program in order to provide a reprieve from deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. Many…
Illinois and the rest of the country are gradually returning to “normal” after 15 months of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. One area that is preparing for that return is the Illinois criminal court system. When the pandemic hit and the state began shutting down, the Illinois Supreme Court entered blanket orders tolling speedy trials on all criminal cases. Last week, the court put out the “open sign” for all courts, issuing two orders that lift tolling on statutory time restrictions and relax or eliminate social distancing requirements. However, these new orders are leaving the courts themselves facing an avalanche…
In January, the Biden administration announced plans for the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 with the goal of implementing significant immigration reform. The bill was formally introduced in both the House and the Senate in February and is currently working its way through the legislative process in both chambers. The bill contains hundreds of pages of legalese, as most congressional bills do. The goal of the bill is much more direct: “To provide an earned path to citizenship, to address the root causes of migration and responsibly manage the southern border, and to reform the immigrant visa system, and for…
There is no doubt that domestic violence is a very real problem in Illinois and throughout the country. However, not all accusations of domestic violence are founded on truth. If you have been accused of domestic battery or another form of violence against a household or family member, you may be unsure of how to handle the situation. The state of Illinois takes domestic violence very seriously. Penalties for domestic battery may include heavy fines and jail time. It is important to take steps to protect your rights and avoid worsening the situation you are in. Remain Calm and Do…
President Biden has announced that his administration will be limiting the number of immigration arrests that take place at courthouses. According to the new policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will no longer have the authorization to carry out routine arrests at courthouses. ICE agents will still be able to arrest individuals in cases in which matters of national security are at risk or the individual poses a threat to public safety. They will also be able to arrest an individual who is the subject of an active pursuit or if there is suspicion the individual may destroy evidence.…
Widespread drug and alcohol addiction is an alarming problem in Northern Illinois and throughout the country.  It is estimated that 20.4 million adults suffered from substance use disorder in 2019 and over 70,000 individuals died from a drug overdose. Drug addiction destroys careers, fractures families, and creates a heavy burden on the U.S. criminal justice system. Criminal penalties for drug possession often include heavy penalties and long prison sentences. Proponents of House Bill 3447 say that individuals who are addicted to illicit drugs need treatment, not jail time. Criminal Consequences for Drug Possession in Illinois Most people know at least…
With registration for H-1B visas approaching in March, it is important to understand eligibility requirements and the process for obtaining them. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the H-1B is a visa in the United States that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Typically, these jobs require specialized knowledge and a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience. The average duration is three years, but they can be extended to six years in some cases, after which the visa holder may need to reapply. Immigration laws limit the number of H-1B visas that are issued each…
Laws are put in place to deter people from committing crimes that could harm others, themselves, or property. Depending on the nature of the offense, the criminal charges and subsequent penalties can be significant. In particular, violent crimes are treated differently than other criminal offenses, often carrying more severe punishments. However, in some cases, people may not even realize that certain actions constitute a crime, thus inadvertently committing them. For instance, “reckless conduct” is considered a violent crime in Illinois, but some may not even understand what actions can result in this type of criminal charge.     How Is Reckless Conduct…
A federal court recently ordered full reinstatement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was created under the Obama administration, which protects undocumented immigrants who are brought to the United States as children from deportation. This ruling reverses the decision of the outgoing Trump administration, and it will help many people, including a large number of Indian immigrants. President Trump’s administration tried ending DACA in 2017, but the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the attempt. DACA allows those individuals with unlawful presence in the United States after being brought to the country as children to defer deportation for…
You may have heard the terms manslaughter, homicide, and murder used simultaneously. However, they are actually separate criminal offenses in most states. According to Illinois law, involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another person. It results when an individual acts recklessly and that conduct leads to someone’s death. This is different than first-degree murder charges, which result from the intentional or knowing act that creates a strong probability of death or great bodily harm. Proving one’s mental state at the time of the crime requires a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can help avoid a conviction.  What Are Considered…
After being passed by Congress and signed by the President on October 1, 2020, a new law will make USCIS’s Premium Processing service more efficient for those who are going through the U.S. immigration system. Previously, employers and individuals could experience long and unpredictable processing times before receiving USCIS benefits. This expedited processing service allows an applicant to pay an additional fee and receive expedited processing of the petition within a designated timeline. Under the new legislation, USCIS will make Premium Processing available for almost all employment-based immigration and non-immigrant petitions, as well as petitions for their dependents, and petitions…
Many different acts constitute criminal offenses in Illinois. In order to convict someone of a crime, however, there must be evidence that proves he or she committed the act. This proof often comes from items, fingerprints, or photographs taken at the scene of the alleged crime. The most common reason why evidence is suppressed, and charges are reduced or dismissed altogether, is due to an illegal search and seizure by police. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine if the evidence in your case was obtained through a legal search warrant.  Different Types of Search Warrants  The Federal…
The path to U.S. citizenship can be complicated for someone coming from another country, especially when a language barrier is involved. There are various legal steps that must be taken to ensure legal entry to the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that oversees the country’s immigration and naturalization process. Obtaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status means an immigrant will receive what is called a Green Card. This is an important step in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization. Grounds for Deportation The U.S. government…
Coronavirus has affected millions of people all over the world. The global pandemic caused many non-essential businesses to temporarily shut down in states’ efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Here in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order that has been in effect for the past several months. As a result, the typically congested Chicagoland area roads have been much emptier. However, despite fewer people commuting to work or for extracurricular activities, there has been an increase in the number of traffic accidents. Studies show there may be various reasons for these statistics, namely traffic violations.   Illinois…
People across the globe dream of immigrating to the United States for a better life. In some cases, they may have family members who are already in the country and want to join them. For some, seeking asylum here offers freedom from persecution. In other scenarios, individuals may come to America specifically for employment reasons. Regardless of the reasons, once an immigrant lawfully enters this country, he or she will likely need to find a job to support himself or herself. If someone has a family, it may be even more critical to find work. Building a new life in…
Unfortunately, not every married couple lives happily ever after. Life can present its fair share of challenges, such as a job loss or the death of a close friend or relative, and these issues can put a significant strain on a relationship. Some spouses may turn to alcohol or drugs as a means of coping with stress. When controlled substances are added into the mix, arguments can escalate and even lead to physical confrontations in certain situations. According to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in three women and one in four men in the United…