Fork in the Road. You know your destination, or where you need to be, but are taking an unfamiliar path to get there. Suddenly you stop. “What now?” you ask yourself as you ponder the fork in the path. “Right or left?” “Will both paths lead to the same endpoint, or do they go in two different directions?” “Which one will take me to where I need to go?”

Similar to the literal “fork in the road” are the two paths that lead to the same treasure of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), more commonly known as a Green Card. The path you will travel is predetermined by where you live and your current U.S. immigration status, or lack thereof. What does this mean? Simply put, there are two ways to get a greencard, and the path you need to take depends on your circumstance.

 Staring down that figurative fork, to the left is what is known as the Visa Processing or Consular Process. To the right, is Adjustment of Status. However, both processes require a petition to be filed on behalf of the immigrant.

The Unsuspecting Victim. Marie knew it was personal, that officer always stared her down when she dropped her kids off at the elementary school. Officer Smith had always held a grudge against her husband for losing the baseball championship game in junior college. And that morning had been one of those mornings when your ask yourself, “What else can go wrong?” So, when Officer Smith ticketed Marie for a cell phone and child safety restraint violation, it was no surprise. Giovanni seemed to be a natural born thrill seeker and it was no surprise that he once again got out of his car seat and wave happily to Officer Smith.

What was a surprise was the bill that came from the DMV after all Marie’s fines had been paid. Marie felt her face turning a shade of reddish purple as she read the words “Driver Responsibility Assessment” and “three-year penalty”. WHAT? WHY? Before her incident with Officer Smith, she was very prideful of her perfect driving record and often boasted about it.

The DMV Driver Responsibility Assessment. WNYS Driver Assessment Feehat is a Driver Responsibility Assessment and when does a driver get charged this fee? There are three instances where this fine is charged. First, a driver assessment fee can be earned by a traffic-related alcohol conviction. Likewise another way to wrack up a DMV assessment is by a traffic-related drug conviction; and the last way to activate a Driver Responsibility Assessment is by accruing to your driving record 11 points within an 18-month period. 

Imagine yourself for a moment planning a night out with someone special. Instead of the night turning out how you had planned, the evening ends with you being forced to walk across the border into Mexico with nothing – just the clothes on your back. On top of that, you are mugged and beaten. 

This is what 23-year-old Juan Montes claims happened to him.  He says that after a date with his girlfriend, he had a bite to eat with a friend, and accidentally left his wallet in their car.  As he was waiting for his ride, CBP agents picked him up. They did not allow him to get his wallet, which contained documentation he is under active protection from DACA through 2018. After being taken to a detention center, he was walked across the border.    

Details to Juan’s story are still transpiring as his activist lawyers battle his case. The government says this is not the correct record of events.  We can only trust with time the truth comes out and all is made well. 

On April 13, 2013, governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Sheila Abdus-Salaam to the Court of Appeals. She made history as the first female African American appointed to the highest New York court. Her legacy will forever be etched in the words she spoke from the bench she earned an appointment to. In 2016 she handed down a landmark decision in which she granted a non-biological parent from a same sex partnership custody and visitation rights. Re Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C, commonly known as the “same-sex partnership child custody case”.

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Sheila Abdus-Salaam ruling is so important because it is consistent with the times. For example, prior to 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) did not acknowledge same sex spouse petitions and applications. However, in July 2013 that changed when the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a statement that USCIS would, effective immediately, recognize same sex spouse immigration and visa petitions in the same manner and with the same privileges as couples engaged in a heterosexual marriage. The 2013 acceptance of same sex marriages applies to asylum, employment-based petitions and other types of applications and petitions.

What rights does this statement provide for individuals in same-sex relationships? It opens many doors. For example, a United States citizen engaged to a foreign national can file a fiance petition. The petition will provide a much easier way for same sex couples to arrange a marriage requiring overseas travel. Also, a US citizen married to a foreign national can sponsor their spouse for a family based immigrant visa. Even if a married couple resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, a US citizen is still legally eligible to file for a federal immigrant visa for their spouse.

As the New York State Trooper’s bright flashing lights shone through Daniels back window, he felt his heart pound and a wave of nausea. By the time the officer got to his window, his face was covered in a cold sweat. The day had started off bad, and had progressed to worse. It was one of those days he should have cancelled all appointments and stayed in bed. But, sometimes being home and tending to its responsibilities was worse than dealing with clients. It was the call from home that had caused him to speed. He normally was so cautious about speed limits, but when he saw an opening to pass the car that had him boxed in on 1-87 just north of Yonkers, NY, he hit the gas in his 580 horse power twin turbo engine sports car and flew past the other car.  

New York State License Suspension for 11 Points

He heard the officer, but it sounded like background noise because he was too upset to focus. Forty miles over the speed limit is what the officer clocked him at when he passed that old timer on the interstate near Greenburgh, New York. Daniel could imagine the problems the ticket would raise at home. Plus, this would be an expensive fine.

A ticket for going forty miles plus over the speed limit will accrue eleven points on your driving record if found guilty or you plead guilty. One possible penalty is suspension of your driver’s license. And that is not to mention the increase in your insurance, which can cost thousands of dollars over the course of years. Although taking a DMV approved Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) course can mitigate four points that have accrued for suspension purposes. The points however, do not literally come off your driving record. Moreover, the NY DMV charges a driver a responsibility assessment fee for various infractions. One such infraction is accruing 6 points or more in an 18-month period. The fee is charged over a period of years, and its total ranges from $300 to $750. BUT, just because you accrue 11 points in an 18-month period, does not mean you have to lose your license. What you need is to hire the right attorney to handle your case.

Earlier this year, Rosa Ortega, a permanent US resident from Fort Worth Texas was sentenced to 8 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and faces deportation to Mexico. For what? Illegal voting, voter fraud. Current laws state that you must be a citizen to cast a ballot in national, state, or local elections. Rosa violated this law when she checked that she was a citizen on her Tarrant County voter’s application, thus committing fraud.   Green Card and Voting

 Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick, of Illinois, is also currently facing deportation to Peru for voting illegally in two U.S. elections. In her 2007 Citizenship application, Margarita freely admitted to voting. Both women are out on appeal, after serving one month, and one day, respectively.

 During the 2016 Presidential election, then candidate Donald Trump alleged that there were millions of illegal voters such as Rosa Ortega and Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick. Are there millions of illegal voters and what is the cause of these unfortunate situations? Although the allegations were broadcast loudly, there is no evidence or data to support the claim millions of illegal voters exist. So how do these situations transpire?

As she stared at the computer screen she could not believe her eyes. Her shock changed to tears of joy that poured down her face and clouded her vision. Imagine, Natasha from RussWinning the immigration lotteryia living in Westchester, New York! This fantasy just became a reality as Natasha struggled to comprehend that she was one of the lucky Green Card Lottery winners! Next stop, law school at Pace Law School in White Plains, NY.

Holding the winning lotto ticket is the ultimate American Dream and thought to be the key to making all your dreams come true. In May, 50,000 individuals will be winners of a different type of lottery: the Green Card Lottery, or Diversity Visa Program. True to its name, the purpose of this lottery is to ensure that the individuals who immigrate to the U.S. represent various countries. Countries eligible to participate in the Green Card Lottery are chosen based on data that is calculated for the past five years; and natives from countries that have low immigration numbers qualify for the lottery. The qualifications are simple. An applicant:

  • must apply during specified dates, usually in October;

Even before running for President of the United States, Donald Trump was known to be controversial and unpredictable. Mr. Trump’s unpredictability and controversial nature became more evident during his presidency campaign and even more so with actions taken under his capacity as U.S. President. One of his radical and/or unexpected actions as POTUS (President of the United States) includes the ban on Muslim countries, and most recently, the sweeping dismissal of 46 U.S. attorneys.

One such attorney was Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), appointed by President Obama in 2009. Mr. Bharara was good at his job, being described as the Zeus of the SDNY. Cases he prosecuted involved terrorism, international crime networks, drug traffickers, cybercrime, financial crimes, including Ponzi schemes, and insider trading. As such, people might question the decision to “dismiss” Mr. Bharara and similar United States Attorneys.

However, a new presidential administration requesting resignation of US Attorneys is common, and has happened in our nation’s history previously. Yet, it has to be asked whether there is a method to madness by the Trump administration.

The following is a true story:

At 8:33a on April 25th 2014, Courtney Ann Stanford posted on Facebook: “The happy song makes me HAPPY!”  Friends and family also state she was posting selfies.

This would be Courtney’s last post, and last feeling she expressed.  At 8:34a, one minute after her last FB post, the 32-year-old crossed the median on Business 85 in High Point, NC. She drove head-on into oncoming traffic and collided with a truck. Courtney did not survive the accident. Sadly, her story ended in a human life taken so early because of distracted driving. Courtney’s story is more common than it should be.

Staring at the two lines on the pregnancy test, Monica could feel her heart pounding in her chest.  Overcome with emotion, she screamed with joy.  Finally!  All her dreams come true.  First meeting Louie, now a baby.  Her and her ex-husband had tried for years with no luck conceiving a child.  But everything was different with Louie.

Monica could not wait to tell Louie the good news.  But, that was a conversation that would happen in a far different place than she imagined.  See Louie had a long history of run-ins with the law in Rye, NY, and had spent more of his adult life behind bars.  The drugs and gang always got the best of him when he got out.  

1 marriage, 2 children, 2 convictions and 10 years later.  Monica had relocated to Yonkers NY with her family a few years back.  Being a single mom was never what she imagined.  The tips she earned helped, but barely covered all the household expenses.  Louie wrote frequently, she sent pictures, but at this point the marriage was over.