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On November 29, 2016, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection implemented a requirement for all Chinese passport holders who carry a maximum validity (10 year) B1 (business) and/or B2 (pleasure) visa to have a valid Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) enrollment before traveling to the United States.  Travelers using passports from Hong Kong, Macau SAR, Taiwan, or any other passport other than a Peoples Republic or China passport are not affected by the EVUS enrollment requirement.

The Electronic Visa Update System is the online enrollment system by which Chinese nationals holding B 1 and/or B 2 visas valid for 10 years update basic biographic information, enabling their travel to the United States.  Since the implementation of the EVUS requirement, nationals of China holding such 10-years visas will not be allowed to travel to the United Stated without valid EVUS enrollment. 

Earlier this year on October 20, 2016, the following rules and notices were published in the Federal Register, setting the general regulatory framework for EVUS and designating the first group that will be subject to the requirements.

Immigrants across the country are regularly denied bail or offered bail that’s too expensive.  Last Spring, news broke of a State Senator from Queens, New York, lobbying to scrap the obsolete bail bond system of holding people who could not afford bail, many of whom were immigrants, in jail before their trial.

State Senator Michael Gianaris, in an interview with Vice News, called the current regime of setting bail in New York “something left over from England in the Middle Ages.”  Now, California’s district courts are starting to take apart the same archaic bail-setting schemes that left so many disenfranchised New Yorkers in prison before they were proven guilty of the accused crime.

Unlike in criminal court, where those charged often hire bail bondsmen and only have to pay 10 percent of the total bail amount, immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) often have to pay the full amount of a bond.  Most bond companies require collateral such as a house or a car, which many low income immigrants lack, resulting in a scarcity of bond companies geared toward immigrants.

Just last week, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream ad Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act, which would provide work authorization and relief from deportation to individuals who are eligible for the DACA initiative created in 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Under DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, individuals who arrive in the United States as children must pass a background check and meet specific age, education, and United States residency requirements.  Once such requirements are met, eligible individuals are granted a temporary reprieve from deportation and are then able to receive a renewable two-year work permit.

Since 2012, approximately three-quarters of a million individuals have come forward to take advantage of the career and higher education opportunities that are made accessible to them through the provisions of DACA.  The BRIDGE Act would reinforce protections provided by DACA, while extending protection from deportation and eligibility of employment authorization to individuals who are not DACA recipients, but do qualify for the program.

Last Week the New York Times reported that mass deportations would negatively impact the housing market, as evidenced by research showing that mass deportation of more than three million undocumented immigrants between 2005 and 2013 helped exacerbate foreclosures.  Simply speaking chronologically, the massive pile-up of foreclosures during the housing crash, one in five of which affected homeowning Hispanic households, seemed to coincide with the mass exodus of undocumented immigrants, about 85 percent of whom were working Latin American men.

According to a recent study published by sociologists Jacob S. Rugh and Matthew Hall, the roundups of undocumented immigrants from 2005 to 2013 help explain why Hispanics faced the highest foreclosure rates during the housing crash—even among households with legal residents and American citizens.  According to Rugh and Hall, “Latino immigrants put down roots in the United States, including household home ownership across mixed legal statuses.  Among those deported, the median length of U.S. residence is 14 years.”

Furthermore, since many of those deported were Latino males, presumably a good portion of whom were primary income earners, the loss of such income, formerly devoted to mortgage payments, raises the likelihood of household foreclosure. These findings reveal the often unseen effects of mass deportation on the United States’ economy and the social groundwork.  No longer just the stuff of academic studies, these findings have now found themselves a critical place at the policy-making table as President-elect Donald Trump weighs whether to follow through on his campaign promise to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

In a DWI prosecution under N.J.S.A. 39:4–50 and 39:4-50(a) police must observe an individual uninterrupted for 20 minutes. As simple as it may seem to observe an individual for an uninterrupted period of 20 minutes, it is frequently the case that the State has a hard time establishing that this procedural requirement was met. Our attorneys have on multiple occasions been able to prove that the twenty-minute observation period was broken and the results of the Alcotest, commonly referred to as the breathalyzer, have as result been suppressed.

In New Jersey if you’re arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) there are certain procedural safeguards that must be obeyed by law enforcement. One of the most essential safeguards in DWI defense as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court is that law enforcement must observe you for 20 minutes before a Alcotest, commonly referred to as a Breathalyzer, can be administered.

Law enforcement operating the Alcotest must wait 20 minutes to ensure no outside samples interfere with the performance of the test and provide overestimated readings. As stated by the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Chun, if the arrestee swallows anything or regurgitates, or if the operator notices chewing gum or tobacco in the person’s mouth, the operator is required to begin counting the twenty-minute period anew. State v. Chun, 194 N.J. 54 (N.J. 2008).

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule to improve aspects of certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs.  Preexisting regulations have been amended to enable US employers to hire and retain foreign workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based visa petitions as they wait to become lawful, permanent residents.  The rule positions nonimmigrant workers to further their careers by accepting promotions, changing positions within current employers, and pursuing other job opportunities.

These changes will expand the class of workers eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), setting guidelines on when an employment-based immigrant may retain his or her “priority date” after departing from their employers. Among the more notable provisions, the rule permits persons of E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 nonimmigrant status to apply for an EAD, provided they meet certain conditions:

  1. Applicant is the beneficiary of an approved employment-based immigration visa petition

To constituents, executive actions may seem like simple maneuvers—quick fixes to a discordant Supreme Court or a disagreeing Congress.  But to those who have held Presidential office, executive actions have shown themselves to be much more complex.  Each comes with its own set of statutorily or judicially imposed restraints.  Some actions are subject to modification or even revocation while others must comply with certain mandated procedures; all actions, though, fall subject to a lack of permanence and are often withdrawn just as swiftly as they were first put into place.

Most executive actions can be broken down into three basic categories:

  1. Executive orders, which are written directions issued by the incumbent President that govern actions of executive branch officials as well as government agencies

A person is guilty of attempt under the New Jersey Criminal Code N.J.S.A. 2C: 5-1 in one of three scenarios:

1)      If the person purposefully engages in conduct which would constitute a crime if the circumstances were as a reasonable person would believe them to be,

2)      If causing a certain result is an element of a crime, the person does or omits to do anything with the purpose of causing such element to occur

Under the New Jersey Criminal Code, N.J.S.A 2c:5-2 a person is guilty of conspiracy if he/she agrees with another person/persons to engage in conduct or aide another person in conduct that constitutes the commission of a crime. A conspiracy that contains multiple objectives will still only result in one conspiracy charge so long as the multiple crimes are the result of one agreement.

Conspiracy requires an “overt act” in furtherance of the stated objective. The New Jersey Supreme Court has held that the State is not required to present “direct evidence” that an overt act took place. In a mob trial involving membership in the Colombo family of La Cosa Nostra the court held that so long as other evidence was presented during trial to permit the jury to infer that an overt act did not take place direct evidence is not required. State v. Cagno, 211 N.J. 488 (N.J. 2012)

There is no need for the actual crime to be committed or for the object of the conspiracy to be achieved for someone to be found guilty.

The attorneys of Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo appeared in municipal courts across three different municipalities to represent clients facing shoplifting charges. Shoplifting is defined in Title 2C:20-11 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. The charge includes not only purposely taking store merchandise, but also purposefully concealing merchandise or altering or removing any price tag or label. The degree of shoplifting or the severity of sentencing primarily depends on the retail value of the items taken or the pecuniary loss sustained by the shopkeeper or store. Under Title 2C:20-11 shoplifting is a second degree crime if the value of merchandise taken is $75,000 or greater, third degree if greater than $500 but less than $75,000, 4th degree crime if at least $200 but does not exceed $500, and only a disorderly person offense if the amount is less than $200.

One of the key aspects of formulating a defense to shoplifting is discovery requests from the state. All three of the defendants being represented by Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo had been in and out of court for many months. As defense attorneys in these shoplifting cases, we utilized critical strategies, including procedural arguments rebutting the production of discovery, in an effort to dismiss flawed charges. Most notably, the prosecutor(s) from each case had failed to produce discovery by neglecting to bring forth proper video footage of each alleged theft.

Generally, a court should not dismiss a case for failure to produce discovery. However, in State v. Holup, the court held that if the appropriate motion is filed giving the notice that discovery was not produced in a case, with a request that a time be set by the court for the production of said discovery, then a failure to do so after the court’s set time may lead to a dismissal of the counsel’s charges.  Such motions are more commonly referred to as Holup Orders.

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