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United States Immigration Law Blog

Drug charges remain serious, even with new marijuana laws

Last fall, when Michigan voters approved an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, they opened up a world of possibilities. Several states have been moving to legalize recreational marijuana in recent years, and the federal government has struggled to respond. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and there are still thousands of people serving time in prison for marijuana-related crimes.

One less well-understood aspect of the Michigan initiative is a provision that is meant to help people who have been hurt by the prosecution of drug crimes. The initiative requires that the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs promote participation in the newly legalized marijuana industry among members of communities who have been disproportionately affected by drug crime prosecution.

Who is subject to deportation and when?

The topic of deportation has been one in the news frequently. Deportation isn't an issue that would affect a U.S. citizen but it can happen to those who are visiting the country, legally or illegally. The process of deportation occurs when the federal government formally removes a non-citizen from the United States. This could happen if the person is accused or convicted of a number of immigration or criminal laws.

Once deported, it's possible that a non-citizen may lose the right to ever return to the United States, even as a visitor. Thousands of people visit the United States every year, some legally and some illegally. If found to be here undocumented and illegally, the federal government of the United States could have a person deported based on the premise that one is residing illegally without documentation.

We can help you face and deal with criminal charges

Have you ever looked up the long list of Michigan state statutes? How about the federal list? Prepare yourself for some heavy reading. There are many laws, statutes and regulations that aren't to be broken. For those that are accused of doing so, criminal charges and their potential penalties can be daunting. It's perfectly reasonable to build a quality criminal defense against such allegations.

One issue that affects many living in the Michigan area is DUI and drunk driving accusations. While at first glance this may appear to be nothing more than a moving violation, you shouldn't be so sure. The state has cracked the whip on alleged DUI offenders in recent years. A DUI conviction could have huge impacts on your criminal record, bank account, license and others.

What are the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen?

For many, the American Dream is something that is a highly sought-after achievement. The United States is known as a place of opportunity, especially compared to many countries in which economic opportunities are not as readily available. The United States is also known as a nation of tolerance, promoting gender, sexual orientation and race equality. Beyond this, there are many other benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen.

Becoming an official U.S. citizen is different than being here illegally or on a temporary visa. Citizenship unlocks benefits that kick in immediately and in the long-run. Voting and holding public office are all rights that citizens have access to. Being issued a U.S. passport gives citizens the ability to travel and to receive government assistance when traveling as needed. Also, being issued a social security number allows a person to pay their wages into social security benefits and also grants a person access to more job opportunities.

Organizations working on behalf of undocumented students

With the highly publicized and polarized issue of immigration status, there are people on both sides of the issue. There are many people living in our community who are undocumented. Despite legislation that calls for deportation of undocumented residents, there are organizations working on behalf of those who have be targeted in these deportation attempts. Undocumented University of Michigan students have been sought out as a group who could use help.

There have been several raids over the last decade in which undocumented residents were rounded up and deported. Under the Trump administration, there have been more workplace raids than in previous years. Organizations like University of Michigan welcomes applications for student admission regardless of immigration status, according to their website. Many undocumented have expressed fear about using medical care and social services that interact with the government - either state or federal.

What a beginner needs to know about gaining citizenship

The American Dream is alive and well. Many people want to become citizens of our great nation. It's known as the land of opportunity, with many different types of opportunities for all kinds of people. Whatever the reason for wanting permanent citizenship in the United States, there is a way to seek it.

For those who seek the naturalization path to citizenship, they are not connected to the United States as a birthplace or as their parent's birthplace. Naturalization is a legal process that will grant citizenship, if all requirements are met. There are five factors that play into the naturalization process, including age, literacy, moral character, attachment to constitutional principles and an oath of allegiance to the United States. These subjects must be satisfied during the naturalization process in order to have a favorable resolution.

Questions of moral turpitude and immigration status

If you or a loved one is seeking to become a citizen, there are ways to approach the process that could prove beneficial. For most, this means receiving a green card and becoming a citizen. However, there may be some things that are more challenging. If a person has been accused of a crime of moral turpitude, it could hinder the green card process.

Moral turpitude crimes aren't necessarily felonies, however, they could be. When a person is accused of crimes of moral turpitude, it refers to acts that are determined by a court to violate the accepted moral standards of the community. These are crimes that question a person's moral compass. Perjury, tax evasion, wire fraud, carrying a concealed weapon and child abuse have all been deemed by courts in the past to be issues of moral turpitude, although, this is not an exhaustive list.

Drug trafficking accusation could be federal charge

America is seen as the greatest country in the world by many, and a fairly liberal country in terms of our freedoms and liberties as citizens. However, just as with any nation in the world, we have laws and regulations. The reason behind these laws is mostly for public safety and the well-being of all. When you or a loved one is accused of a drug crime, it's important to understand the charges you are facing.

Remember that the way the American legal system works is a presumption of innocence. This means that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. In the meantime, a person is allowed to build a criminal defense against such allegations. Depending on the specifics of the case, a person could be facing charges in state or federal court.

Proposed immigration legislation could have huge impact

There's been much talk about immigration reform since the change of presidential office last year. An amendment has been proposed called the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017 that has been a hot topic recently. If the amendment were to pass, the size of the country from which a person emigrates would determine the person's status, as larger countries would have precedence over smaller countries.

Specifically, the wording of the bill seeks to get rid of the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigration. At the moment, each country has a numerical limit of seven percent or 9,800 of the 140,000 green cards issued per year by the United States. This percentage is without regard to population. The bill intends to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate limitations relating to place of birth.

How can I legally help my family members immigrate to the U.S.?

Families add richness to our lives, and it can be difficult to live far away from them. Reuniting your family in the United States is a realistic goal. However, to complete your goal, it is important to understand the requirements for that process. As a permanent resident or U.S. citizen you are able to help some relatives legally immigrate to the U.S., but there are some differences in this process depending on your current status.

Who you can petition for as a lawful permanent resident

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