Latest from Ana Mencini Blog - Page 2

Laws are put in place at the local, state, and federal levels in an effort to protect society. As technology continues to advance, existing laws may need to be amended to remain relevant and effective. More than 200 new laws went into effect in Illinois at the start of the new year, impacting a number of different areas. Some of this new legislation affects the fines and penalties for various traffic violations. If motorists choose to disregard or disobey any traffic law, they may be subject to criminal charges, depending on the circumstances.   Punishment for Violating Scott’s Law  Scott’s…
When does the New Public Charge Rule take effect? Adjustment of Status Applications filed on or after Monday, February 24, 2020 will be subject to the new rule. Is this a new rule? No, public charge determinations have been part of immigration law since 1882. However, this new rule is more restrictive than in the past and requires that a totality of the circumstances test be applied to make a prospective, forward-looking determination of whether Intending Immigrants are likely to become public charges at any time after admission to the United States. Who is subject to the new rule? All…
On Monday, February 24, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is mandating the implementation of its new Public Charge Rule across the United States. History It has been part of immigration law since 1882 that those coming to the United States could not become a public charge, meaning that one emigrating to the United States could not expect the U.S. government to provide financial support to the intending immigrant. The term initially used was “professional beggars.” Although the immigration law does not specifically state how to determine whether an intending immigrant is to become a public charge, the…
The U.S. immigration process can be a confusing and time-consuming endeavor. However, regulations, policies, and procedures are put in place to protect the country and its citizens from harm. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that governs how a citizen of a foreign country can legally live and work in the United States or become a naturalized U.S. citizen. A foreign national who seeks to enter the United States must first obtain a U.S. visa. There are various visas available depending on a person’s circumstances and intentions.  Opportunities Through Employment  There are two main…
There are many acts that constitute a criminal offense in the United States. However, not everyone might know that certain actions that can result in an arrest, and they may be unaware of the potential punishments. In Illinois, a property crime is defined as the theft or destruction of another person’s property. Depending on the circumstances, the charges can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, with varying penalties if someone is convicted. It is important to note that property is not just limited to a piece of land or a personal possession, such as a house, a vehicle, or…
The phrase “violent crimes” can refer to various types of criminal offenses. Under Illinois law, violent crimes involve harm or the threat of harm to another person. One of the most serious of these offenses is homicide. Illinois law distinguishes between the types or “levels” of homicide as follows: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and involuntary manslaughter/reckless homicide. The main difference between the crimes is the state of mind of the alleged offender at the time of the killing. Generally, this means one act may be intentional or premeditated, while another may be accidental. This key distinction can be…
The answer is maybe. There is a rule called cross-chargeability, which might help. Cross-chargeability allows the beneficiary of a preference category visa petition to be assigned to a country other than that of his or her birth for visa bulletin purposes. This rule allows cross-chargeability between one spouse to another spouse, from parents to their children, and on rare occasions based on the place of habitual residence. Note that children may derive alternative chargeability through their parents, but parents cannot derive from children. The reason to allow children and/or spouses with different birth countries to use cross-chargeability is to avoid…
As we all know, if you are the beneficiary of a preference category family-based immigrant petition, the wait can be long. It can be very long. And life goes on. However, no one wants to lose their place in line for eventual immigration to the United States and understanding the Visa Bulletin is key to maintaining your place in line. First, knowing what categories are available is important. Note, however, those spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens are considered Immediate Relatives and are not subject to wait for an available visa. This…
Every month around the 10th of the month, the Department of State publishes the monthly Visa Bulletin, which lists the availability of preference-based visas for family- and employment-based categories. You might have noticed that there are two tables for each category—Final Action Dates and Dates for Filing. USCIS will indicate every month which chart can be used. But first, what does each chart mean? The Final Action Dates Chart indicates that visas are unavailable for Priority Dates equal to or greater than the date listed in the bulletin. For example, if your Priority Date is April 15, 2017 and the…
These days, people often marry individuals who are not from the same country as them. The ease of travel and increase of students studying abroad has provided Americans with the opportunity to meet friends and possible life partners outside of U.S. borders. Marrying someone from a different culture can lead to an exciting life. Not only are you merging two cultures, but you also must decide where you will live. This can be a difficult decision to make, and many couples decide to remain in the U.S. Making the decision to stay in the United States and getting an approved…
No one can say definitively what future visa bulletins will look like, but Charlie Oppenheim, the U.S. Department of State’s Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division, occasionally provides some insight into visa number trends and we are sharing them with you. Family-Based Preference Categories  We have been happy to see the F2A (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old of legal permanent resident) category across the board staying current recently, and the trend continues. Charlie reports that demand in this category remains low and there is no indication that a limiting date will be imposed in the near future.…
If you are the beneficiary of a family-based or employment-based visa petition that is subject to the preference categories (mostly everyone who is not an immediate relative—spouse, parent, or unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen), then you should know that Charlie Oppenheim is the Department of State’s Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division. He is responsible for issuing the monthly Visa Bulletin. The monthly Visa Bulletin indicates visa availability for any given month. Understanding Visa Availability In the immigration process, visa availability is important because you cannot receive an immigrant visa (outside the…
On October 4, 2019, President Trump issued the following Presidential Proclamation called the Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigration Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System.  The basic requirement of the Proclamation is that those seeking an immigrant visa to enter the United States must have health insurance within 30 days of entry to the United States.  This Proclamation looks daunting so I will break it down by applicability and then impact on your relative’s immigration to the United States. When does this Proclamation go into effect? The new healthcare requirement is scheduled to go…
Gun laws vary significantly from state to state. Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws and associated criminal penalties in the country. Illinois residents who violate firearm laws can face heavy fines and years of incarceration as a result. If you or someone you know has been charged with a firearm-related crime, it is crucial that you speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney to learn about your defense options. Gun Owners Must Obtain a FOID Card Illinois residents who wish to legally own a firearm or ammunition must obtain a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) from the Illinois…
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the governmental agency tasked with governing customs, border control, and immigration. The two primary components of ICE are Enforcement and Removal Operations and Homeland Security Investigations. In July 2019, President Trump announced that ICE will conduct “sweeps” or “raids” to find and arrest undocumented immigrant families. These raids could occur in public spaces, workplaces, and immigrant communities. Read on to learn about what happens during and ICE raid and what to do if you need legal assistance from a deportation and immigration lawyer.   ICE Raid of an Undocumented Immigrant’s Home It…
Although it is illegal in every state, many people continue to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The use of any controlled substances can greatly affect their reflexes and reaction time, which may cause an accident. Car crashes can result in severe injuries or even fatalities. That is why the laws in Illinois are strict when it comes to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI stop can lead to arrest and steep fines, as well as jail time. However, if someone takes prescription medication and operates a vehicle, could that also…