Any Government Shutdown Impacts Immigration

Although the government shutdown of early 2019 might seem long forgotten, the impacts are felt, and remembered in case it happens again. One area people may not have realize it impacted, was in the immigration courts, which obviously impacts a great deal of people. It is important to remember in case this happens again.

Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) March 21, 2019 – The government shutdown affected many areas of government, including the shuttering of immigration courts. Roughly 400 immigration judges were furloughed. The 35-day shutdown threw the status of thousands of immigrants into limbo because the courts had yet to decide whether they can stay in the country or be deported.

As a result of the judges being furloughed, there are over 80,000 cases to be rescheduled to attempt to alleviate the backlog, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Furloughed immigration judges are only able to hear cases for immigrants held in detention centers. In other words, they are only able to hear those cases that are deemed to be the most urgent. They cannot hear other cases, which does not help the system backlog.

There are about 385 judges across the United States, including about 15 in the Houston, Texas area, attempting to handle an ever-increasing caseload. An average immigration judge could oversee more than 2,000 cases.

There were approximately over 827,000 open cases prior to the shutdown, including over 51,000 in Houston, and as a result of the shutdown, there are now thousands of new cases adding to the backlog. Hearings scheduled during the shutdown were set on the docket years ago and now hundreds of immigrants that were to appear are facing years of waiting for their turn to come around again.

“It’s not just immigrants [in detention centers] that have been waiting for a hearing,” said respected Huston immigration attorney, Annie Banerjee, “the shutdown has affected those attempting to renew work permits, get a driver’s license or apply for asylum.” The delays, once thought to be tediously long, are now worse. “Texas had the third-most postponed hearings in the United States behind California and New York.”

The irony of a shutdown to ensure border security is not lost on the judges who now face staggering backlogs to keep up with and maintain the caseloads they face. Judges have now been rescheduling cases, some even to 2023. “The system, once confusing, complex and slow, is now even slower,” added Banerjee. “Recovery from the shutdown is going to take a long time. Should there be another one, the system is likely to sustain another major hit.”

Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139


Business Immigration Is About More Than Just Skilled Workers

Over 2 millions jobs are open for low-skilled workers, but only half of that number are actually looking for work. There is a surplus of jobs for low-skilled workers. Only 140,000 green cards are issued on employment basis each year, out of the over 1 million green cards actually issued in the United States.

Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 11, 2019 – The stated intention of the current Administration is to cut back on family-based immigration and instead favor “merit-based” immigration. If such a system were to be put into place, it means the United States would give priority to high-skilled immigrants with degrees who speak fluent English, rather than choose immigrants with immediate relatives in the country.

This kind of a merit-based system is similar in nature to how Canada allows immigrants in the country. The problem in the United States is that the proposed changes to the immigration system are relatively scant on details.

While the arguments may seem to make sense on the surface, the fact is that the United States actually needs more low-skilled immigrants due to the fact that the country is in the midst of a significant labor shortage in all industries. It has become increasingly difficult to find construction laborers, hotel-cleaning staff and restaurant cooks.

In March, there were 1.4 million open positions for professionals, but only 811,000 out of work individuals with bachelor degrees seeking work. In the unskilled labour file there were 2.1 million jobs open for low-skilled workers, but only 1.2 million people without degrees were looking for work. That is two available job positions for every out of work person with a high school diploma or less. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the number of jobs available every month has been higher than the number of people looking for work. This has not happened in at least twenty years.

“The high demand for workers is typically for the kind of jobs undocumented workers are already doing, and have done for years, such as working the fields, running orchards, taking off crops,” explained respected business immigration attorney Annie Banerjee. “If the government ignores this reality, it could make the labor shortage even worse. Furthermore, if the government ignores the reality of workers needed for farming, there is likely going to be a food shortage over time.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) there are approximately 1 million green cards issued every year. Approximately 140,000 are employment based visas, with the remainder granted on the basis of refugee status, the diversity lottery and family connections.

“While we do need to modernize the immigration system, it needs to be done realistically and with an awareness of all aspects of a changing American landscape” said Banerjee.

Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139


Parents Lose Custody Of Child

A Georgia family loses custody of their child over their son’s use of cannabis to help stop his seizures. Because of the state of Georgia’s strict marijuana laws, the parents of this teen were taken into custody and fined for allowing their son to use the drug over the numerous different seizure medications he was prescribed that were not helping reduce his seizure rate.

Parenthood is not for the faint of heart. For many of us, even when we try to do what’s best for our kids, we never quite feel like we’re doing enough. This is especially true for parents of children with special needs or medical conditions.

One Georgia couple felt they were doing the right thing for their special needs son when they let him smoke marijuana to deal with his frequent seizures. But they live in a state where marijuana use is still illegal for the most part. So, despite the drastic improvements in the boy’s condition, the state arrested his parents and took custody of the child. Now the couple is hoping to regain custody of their son while fighting marijuana-related criminal charges.

Tired of Seeing Son “Half-Dead” All the Time

David Brill is a 15-year-old boy from Georgia who was having seven to 10 seizures every day. High doses of anti-seizure medications weren’t very effective and left him feeling and acting like a zombie. His parents, Matthew and Suzeanna Brill, were tired of seeing their son “half-dead all the time” and decided to try marijuana since there was such a long wait for the state’s low-THC oil program.

“He became a ‘normal’ kid,” explained his father, who purchased a marijuana plant and supervised his son’s consumption. His parents say his speech, motor coordination, and ability to complete homework and chores all improved. Even his teachers commented on the boy’s quick turnaround. And most importantly, he was seizure free for 71 days while using the cannabis.

The State Steps In

While the couple says they only discussed David’s cannabis use with the medical professionals on his treatment team, someone tipped off authorities about the situation in April. Sheriff’s deputies ordered them to stop, and they complied. “Within 14 hours, David had the worst seizure of his life and had to be taken to the hospital,” the couple’s attorney said. Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) took custody of David, his parents were arrested, and his service dog was dropped off at the pound.

Georgia’s Marijuana Laws

While many states are legalizing medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both, Georgia still has fairly strict laws on the subject. All marijuana use and possession is illegal except that eligible patients may possess up to 20 oz. of low-THC cannabis oil. Possession of the whole plant is not allowed. If you’re caught with more than one ounce of marijuana, you can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The Brills spent six days in jail on misdemeanor reckless conduct charges, and could face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine if convicted. Meanwhile, David is back on high doses of anti-seizure medication and “misses feeling like a normal 15-year-old kid,” his mother laments. The couple’s attorney is attempting to help them regain custody of their son, and says, “The state has proven to be far more of a threat to David’s health and safety than his loving parents.”

State marijuana laws are constantly changing, and the drug remains illegal under federal law. It can be difficult to keep up with what’s allowed and what isn’t. Additionally, losing custody of your child can be devastating. If you’re dealing with either issue, consult an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights.

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USCIS Issues Policy Guidance Clarifying How Federal Controlled Substances Law Applies to Naturalization Determinations

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued an update to clarify how controlled substances could affect ones naturalization application.

The new USCIS policy alert reminds naturalization applicants that they could be found to lack good moral character for participating in marijuana-related activities including possession, cultivation, manufacturing, dispensing or distribution

Dallas immigration lawyers

Dallas immigration lawyers – Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.

Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 14, 2019 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a guidance on April 19, 2019, advising lawful permanent residents that controlled substance use remains illegal under federal law and can negatively impact the outcome of a naturalization application. Violations of federal controlled substance laws, including for marijuana use or possession, are generally a basis for denying U.S. citizenship.

The new USCIS policy alert reminds naturalization applicants that they could be found to lack good moral character for participating in marijuana-related activities including possession, cultivation, manufacturing, dispensing or distribution. The rule applies even when the activity in question would not be an offense under the laws of the applicant’s state of residence such as Colorado or California.

Possession, use or distribution of marijuana is illegal under federal law under the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance that is prohibited and has no accepted medical use.

“In an era of liberalization of state controlled substance laws legalizing the sale of marijuana in many states, federal law still punishes what state law now permits: the sale of medical and personal use marijuana,” said Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “Perhaps one day federal law will catch up with those states which have elected to decriminalize. Until then, lawful permanent residents who seek to naturalize are on notice that federal drug violations can be fatal to becoming a U.S. citizen.”

The USCIS policy alert highlights inconsistencies between state and federal laws regarding marijuana. A majority of states have legalized the drug in full or in part. There are currently 10 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, that have enacted laws permitting marijuana use for recreational purposes. About two-thirds of the states have legalized medical marijuana.

Demonstrating good moral character is a key requirement for establishing eligibility for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. USCIS will generally deny naturalization to applicants who have been convicted of violating federal or state laws related to controlled substances during a five-year period prior to filing to naturalize. No conviction is necessary to establish a violation under federal immigration laws. Simply admitting to engaging in marijuana-related activities could lead to a denial of naturalization.

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Top 5 Football Injury Legal Facts

With football season in full-swing, there has been an increase in controversies among the league. Most of these controversies stem from an unfortunate injury that a player received. Above all else, there are major legal matters that take place once an injury happens. From suing helmet companies for defective pieces to coaches who are blamed for lack of preparation. This article showcases the top 5 legal facts about football related injuries.

Football season kicked off nationwide this month, but the focus hasn’t solely been between the lines. Off-the-field controversies — from political protests to paying college players — have garnered just as much attention as teams’ on-field clashes. And one issue that’s been in football fans’ and players’ minds recently have been concussions, and the role leagues, athletic associations, and even doctors play in handling head injuries.

But those aren’t even the only injuries football players and fans need to worry about. Here are five football-related injuries and what you need to know, legally.

1. Boy’s Injury Not Helmet Manufacturer’s Fault: Jury

While some people have looked to new technology to solve football’s concussion problem, others have blamed old tech on past injuries. But juries have rarely found that the football helmet manufacturers can be held liable for concussions and other head injuries sustained in a violent sport.

2. New Football Controversy: Abdominal Injuries

While much of the recent focus has been, justifiably, focused on repeated hits to the head, abdominal injuries can be just as dangerous. Two high school football players passed away after taking hits to the chest or abdomen, one from a ruptured liver and another from a massive internal hemorrhage.

3. HS Football Coach’s Extreme Practice Gets Him Sued

Any athletic competition carries a risk of injury. But what about practice? Yes, coaches need to prepare players for games, but when does training go too far? Probably when a high school coach uses a freshman as a tackling dummy and instructs players to break his legs.

4. Coaches Sued Over Teen’s Hazing, Brain Injury

Football coaches can also find themselves in legal hot water for off-field incidents, like hazing rituals wherein players allow teammates to hit them “as hard as they could” without attempting to defend themselves. When a coach oversees such activity, and state laws prohibit hazing, they’re probably getting sued.

5. 3 Unexpected Injury Hazards at Football Stadiums

It’s not just football players that need to be worried about injuries, but fans as well. Navigating the stadiums, dealing with the weather, and interacting with rival fans can all prove to be dangerous.

If you’ve been injured playing or watching a football game, you might want to talk to an injury attorney about your legal options.

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Victim of Parkland shooting files lawsuits

Many people are still trying to comprehend the horrific incident that occurred in Parkland, Florida on February 14th of this year. As the victims start to heal, lawsuits towards not only the gunman’s foster parents but also the mental health facilities the gunman was a patient at are starting to make light. If you have been harmed and are unsure of the responsible parties, attorney’s at Tijjani Law are here to help. Contact us for more information.

No child should have to endure what those at Parkland High School went through during the mass shooting at their school on February 14. Understandably, many are asking questions about how it could have been avoided, whether there were missed warning signs, and how to avoid this type of tragedy in the future.

In answer to some of those questions, one of the Parkland victims is suing the gunman, his mother’s estate, the family the gunman stayed with, and three mental health facilities. He claims that those entities share some of the responsibility for the shooter’s actions that day.

Student Used Own Body as Human Shield

Anthony Borges is a 15-year-old student praised for saving as many as 20 lives when he barricaded a door and used his body to shield classmates as Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the Florida high school, killing 17. Anthony was shot five times through the door and spent seven weeks in the hospital. A third of his lung was removed and he will need additional surgeries.

Suing Parkland Gunman, Others

Borges’ parents, Royer Borges and Emely Delfin, filed the lawsuit on Anthony’s behalf and are seeking damages over $15,000, attorney’s fees, and court costs, among other damages. Included among their claims against Nikolas Cruz, foster parents James and Kimberly Snead, his deceased mother’s estate, and three mental health facilities are the following:

  • The Sneads were negligent because Cruz had access to one or more guns while staying with them; and “specifically the AR-15 rifle that he subsequently used in committing the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.”
  • Henderson Behavioral Health was negligent because they did not hospitalize Cruz after their psychiatric evaluation determined that he was “not a risk to harm himself or anyone else because he was on a treatment plan for ADHD, depression, and autism.”
  • Jerome Golden Center for Behavior Health “knew or should have known” that Cruz “suffered from mental illness and was a threat to others.” The center’s CEO claims they had no contact with Cruz.
  • Lynda Cruz (the gunman’s deceased mother) “owed a duty to the public” to have her son properly diagnosed and treated (she reported her son’s violent behavior on multiple occasions), and to prevent him from obtaining weapons.

According to Borges’ attorney, the Parkland victim also plans to sue the Broward Sheriff’s Office, among others.

Too many innocent victims are harmed everyday by the actions and negligence of others. If you’ve been injured, it might not be clear who the responsible parties are. Speak with an attorney to better understand your rights and legal options.

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Weapons at School (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)


Man Sues for Rat Bite at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

People get injured all the time, and on an business’s property, it’s not that uncommon either. Getting injured at the happiest place on earth though, that’s a different story. This man got bit by a rat at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and now he is suing the park because of unsafe conditions, as he was injured.

A Rat Run Amok

According to the lawsuit filed on March 19, Galen Haldeman, 59, and his wife Carol had just ridden the Buzz Lightyear ride when he was bitten by a rat in a nearby store. Other patrons yelled, “Rat!” before the large rodent jumped onto the wheel of Carol’s wheelchair. Haldeman claims that just as the rat was about to bite his wife’s arm, Haldeman pulled it off the chair. That’s when it bit one of his fingers. Haldeman says he had to twist the rat’s neck to get it off of him.

Unsafe Conditions

The Haldemans are suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for negligence. In a negligence claim, the plaintiff has to prove, among other things, that the defendant violated a duty of care owed to the plaintiff. In this case, Haldeman argues that the company “violated its duty to keep its park clean and safe by allowing conditions to get to the point where rats were inhabiting the park and were even bold enough to come out openly, among people.”

Haldeman claims that the rat bite resulted in disfigurement, mental anguish, medical bills, physical handicap, and other problems. He’s suing for more than $15,000 in damages.

If you’ve been injured and think someone else may be at fault, contact a lawyer to find out what types of options you might have in terms of compensation.

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Your Immigration Status and Child Custody

If you are an immigrant to the United States, are going through a divorce, and have children you could find yourself wondering how custody of your children will be determined. There are many factors that go into consideration when custody gets decided. Learn about how immigration status could indirectly affect custody in the article below.

Divorce is hard enough for anyone to go through, but add having to determine child custody, and it only gets harder. Sometimes parents are able to reach a custody agreement themselves, other times the parents may need to have a judge decide on the child custody arrangements.

If you’re an immigrant — legal or illegal — you may be concerned that your immigration status will impact a child custody agreement. After all, doesn’t it seem likely that a U.S. citizen would be favored over a non-citizen when determining who gets custody? The answer is no — immigration status is not generally a factor in determining who gets custody.

How Is Child Custody Determined?

Like most legal family matters, child custody is governed by state laws. There are, however, some generally accepted factors in determining child custody. The main factor in determining child custody is considering what’s in the “best interests” of the child. This involves many considerations including looking at the mental and physical health of the parents, need for continuation of a stable home environment, and the wishes of the child (when he or she is old enough to capably make this decision).

While the list of considerations for child custody is long, notably absent is immigration status. This is even true in the case of illegal immigrants fighting for child custody. While it may not be a factor in determining child custody, it bears mentioning that a pending deportation or an actual deportation can affect child custody, since it would impact the child’s life.

So, while a parent’s immigration status doesn’t directly factor into deciding who gets custody, there could be indirect effects, particularly if the parent is an illegal immigrant. To resolve child custody issues, contact a child custody lawyer or an immigration lawyer for help.

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If You Get In a Car Accident

If you get in a car accident, and you don’t think things will be settled easily, consider hiring an attorney to be on your side. They can help you gather all the facts and present them to whomever is deciding how it gets settled. Going into a consultation with an accident attorney there are things you should know. The article below helps you learn how to prepare for your consultation.

When injured in a car accident, it’s common to feel bent out of shape. Your car might be a compressed chunk of metal. You might be sitting in the hospital or at home nursing some nasty injuries. And going to work, school, or about your daily routine? Yeah … so much for that. 

It’s normal to vent (and we certainly encourage you to vent). But, as they say, revenge is a dish best served by your lawyer. So here’s some advice for preparing for your initial consultation with a car accident attorney.

1. Make a Timeline

Cases are built on the facts. Your lawyer is going to want as many details as possible, and will press you for specifics, specifics, specifics. What happened, when did it happen, how did it happen, and in what order did it happen? It’s a good idea to make a timeline with as much information and detail as possible. This will get you thinking about the case from a legal perspective, and give your lawyer a prepared account of the facts right off the bat.

2. Bring Records and Documents

Written documentation is very important to lawyers, and gathering it is a major part of preparing a case. Prepare copies of accident reports, insurance information, witness contact information, medical records, photographs from the scene, and names of doctors, nurses, police officers, chiropractors, and medical facilities — everything connected with the accident. You can use a checklist to gather records in advance.

3. Be Prepared to Answer Questions

Lawyers are trained to tease out information and details with questions. You should be prepared to answer all of them as best you can. Besides being a tool for figuring out what happened, your responses tell a lawyer other, more subtle things too. Like whether you’d be a good client to take on and how a jury might respond to you on the witness stand. It’s never too early to strategize!

4. Ask the Questions You Want to Ask

Lawyers are trained to be lawyers, but no one is trained to be a client. The best way to get information is to ask an attorney. Feel free to ask a lawyer about her experience handling similar cases, background and training, fees, and what you should expect going forward. Knowing what to expect can bring relief and help make sure you and your lawyer are on the same page going forward.

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The Latest Slip and Fall Injury Cases

Slip and fall injuries occur more than one would think, and can often turn into legal battles. If someone slips, falls, and is injured on someone else’s property due to factors that could have been warned about or prevented that person could be entitled to compensation. The article below highlights 5 of the latest cases under this topic with quite large settlements. Learn about them by continuing to read below.

1. Slip-And-Fall Leaves Man Blind; Jury Gives Him $4M

Earlier this year, a jury found in favor of Bill Waite, who fell down an unmarked step along an otherwise level sidewalk. Waite, who previously had little to no functional eyesight in his right eye, struck his left eye against a chair, leaving him effectively blind.

2. Las Vegas Comedian Wins $1.3M Casino Injury Suit

The fall that left comedian George Wallace “permanently hobbled” with tendon damage was no laughing matter. The jury found the Bellagio liable for the onstage wiring in which Wallace became entangled, and compensated him for lost income.

3. Student Paralyzed in Apt. Fall to Get $11.6M

Lorna Bernhoft fell through a raised skylight opening on the fourth floor of an off-campus residence while a student the University of Pennsylvania. The fall left her paralyzed, and she reached an out-of-court settlement with the building’s owners.

4. CO Trucker Wins $10M in Walmart Slip and Fall

In another case involving Walmart, Holly Averyt suffered debilitating back injuries resulting from a grease spill on a Greeley Walmart’s loading dock. The retailer didn’t do itself any favors in court, denying a spill ever existed before being confronted with city records of a grease spill investigation at the site.

5. Jury Awards $3.2M to Woman Injured at Ikea Store

Not a slip, but certainly a fall — Xiaolei Zeng suffered a crushed pelvis when an eight-foot-high stack of countertops fell on top of her in a Potomac Mills, Virginia Ikea. Doctors testified during the trial that Zeng would likely suffer from lifelong pain.

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