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United States Immigration Law Blog

What do I need to know about building a criminal defense?

Being charged with a crime can come completely out of the left field. Many are completely taken aback when they are arrested or charged with a crime. Oftentimes, those accused are completely unfamiliar with the criminal justice system. The first thing to know is that all accused have the right to build a criminal defense against any charges they are facing.

A criminal defense can vary for different people charged in similar and opposing situations. Even for two people, charged with the exact same crime, criminal defense strategies can be completely different from one another. This is because the circumstances surrounding the event and the circumstances surrounding the person can yield completely different criminal defense strategies that are optimal for both. So how does a person accused of a crime, like drug charges, determine the best criminal defense strategy?

Federal law and state law can impact immigration process

Becoming a citizen of the United States is a dream for many. Depending on a person's circumstances and situation, there can be multiple steps in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. With citizenship, a person is granted rights that allows the person to stay in Michigan or any U.S. state, permanently. Without citizenship, a visa could run out forcing a person to return to their birth country.

The truth is, federal and state law can impact the immigration process for a hopeful would-be citizen. Federal law generally trumps state law when it comes to immigration matters, as it's a matter of constitutional rights. However, some state laws in Michigan can be relevant to proceedings involving immigration law. Every person's immigration query has specific aspects to them and finding out how your situation fits into the scheme of immigration laws is important.

Holland woman accused of scheme targeting undocumented immigrants

In a particularly targeted and allegedly heinous scheme, a former Holland woman has been accused of ripping off undocumented immigrants. According to reports, the woman faces 7 criminal counts in Michigan Western District federal court, including one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, several counts of wire fraud and two counts of false personation of a U.S. official. The scheme was several years long and included attempts to target immigrants looking for U.S. citizenship. She claimed to be a person who could help aid immigrants in their process of seeking and attaining citizenship.

However, the woman has no ties to the Department of Homeland Security and is not an attorney like she allegedly claimed. She told hopeful citizens that she could 'fast track' their applications for citizenship. In certain cases, she is accused of claiming that she could conceal criminal history from immigration authorities. In return for her services, she amassed over $75,000 from hopeful immigrants looking to become citizens.

Public charge rule may make drastic changes

The federal government issued a proposed rule that may lead to the rejection of more immigrants or make immigrants and their families reject government benefits. Expansion of the public charge rule could have a dramatic impact on immigration law enforcement.

The public charge provision was enacted in the Immigration Act of 1882. A public charge, who may be denied admission, is defined as someone who is primarily dependent on government assistance when it provides over half of their income.

Michigan eliminates driver responsibility fees

There is now one less thing that Michigan drivers need to worry about in connection to traffic tickets. This is due to the recent elimination of driver responsibility fees in the state.

These were special fees that drivers could sometimes face in relation to traffic violations. They were instituted back in 2003.

What to say – and not to say – to immigration officers

The state of immigration law and policy in the United States is in a continued state of flux, causing worries and fears for many non-citizens. For those living in Michigan, a prominent concern is that one interaction with immigration law enforcement officers can change your life forever.

When it comes to interacting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or other law enforcement officers, it is important to know what to expect. A confrontation or detainment does not have to mean the end of your time living in the country by any means. Consider some of the important talking points, and ones to avoid, when interacting with law enforcement regarding your immigration status.

Immigrants promised citizenship, now discharged by U.S. Army

Immigrants recruited to serve in the U.S. Army were recently discharged and told they are no longer eligible to serve. The group of about 40 legal immigrants had joined the military as part of a Department of Defense program.

According to NPR, the program was called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), and it offered these recruits an expedited path to U.S. citizenship. These foreign recruits were valued for their special skills in languages and medical training. Those allowed to enroll in MAVNI had student visas or were seeking asylum from their home countries.

The Einstein Visa: what is it and how did Melania Trump get one?

Immigrating to the United States can pose many challenges. And for immigrants whose second language is English, it can be confusing trying to figure out the necessary qualifications of immigrant visas.

Many want to know what type of employment history they need to have to qualify for an immigrant visa. And while you may not be well versed in the all of the eligible employment categories- you've likely heard of at least one - persons with extraordinary abilities. This is because first lady Melania Trump entered the United States on an EB-1 visa otherwise known as the 'Einstein' visa.

What the Miranda warning means for immigrants

Within the U.S. borders, every person has the right to due process of the law. As we stated in a previous blog post, many protections in the constitution apply to Michigan immigrants. This includes a fair trial and appropriate police conduct during criminal investigations.

One well-known part of due process is the Miranda warning, which you may have heard during an arrest in American crime dramas. This mainly describes the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

What is credible fear?

To say immigration law is complicated is an understatement. There are many categories for entry and the right to stay in the country legally—just as there are many cases where deportation occurs. One term that comes up is “credible fear.” At its core, credible fear means that an immigrant’s safety is in jeopardy if they return to their home country.

Of course, there are many different definitions when it comes to threats and security. When war ravages a country, immigrants become refugees because their home is destroyed or their people are persecuted. However, there are domestic level safety issues as well, such as human trafficking, gang violence or domestic violence. Women and children are historically more vulnerable in these cases, where returning home might expose them to further harm.

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