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The Law and You

Legal Advice

Usually, the philosophy of the law in the U.S. is that a person is innocent until proven guilty of any violation of the law. When it comes to marriage to an undocumented person already in the U.S., however, the Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”) has a presumption of fraud until the parties to the marriage have proven that their marriage is not solely for the purpose of obtaining lawful permanent residence – the “green card.” There is a heightened perception that natives of Nigeria and Ghana are more likely than not to engage in marriage fraud and those marriages are examined under a microscope for any indications that the marriage is not bona fide. The reason for such perception can be found by looking at the number of marriage fraud rings that are currently serving time in a federal jail for arranging marriages between citizens of the U.S. and Nigerians or Ghanaians. The citizens are paid to go through the process, not understanding that they could face criminal charges and serve time in prison themselves if the fraud is discovered.

June is LGBT Pride month, and this year the need to show our rainbow colors seems surprisingly urgent. Gone is the thrill of seeing the White House illuminated in rainbow colors. Gone too is the administration that helped to expand the rights of same-sex couples and other members of the LGBT community.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Traveling in the Trump Era

Or learning to love your immigration attorney!

Traveling by air since January 20th, 2017 has become complicated for many noncitizens. The Executive Orders issued by President Donald J. Trump have caused heartache and fear to run rampant in immigrant communities. The first Executive Order (EO), dated January 27th, intended to prevent anyone who was from seven mostly Muslim countries entering the U.S. Those countries are Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, and Libya. It also ended indefinitely the ability of Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., in spite of years-long background checks to ensure that anyone entering was not a radical jihadist. The travel ban extended to persons with “green cards,” as well as those with visitor or student visas, and those who had dual citizenship with one of the seven listed countries.

An inheritance is sometimes called a “legacy,” and receiving one can be a blessing – or a curse. One the one hand, there is the temptation to think like a lottery winner and imagine a life of easy indulgence. On the other, there is the instinct to do the “right thing” by paying off debts, investing wisely, and saving for the future. The fact that many lottery winners ultimately file for bankruptcy should be sufficiently instructive as to which course you should take.

Timing gifts to charity

Tax season is upon us, and most people’s first question is what they can do to pay less. The key to a lower tax bill is reducing your taxable income. Several financial maneuvers will achieve this result. For example, you can top off your 401(k) or IRA contributions, sell off losing investments from a taxable account, or ask that your employer hold off on paying you a bonus until after December 31st.

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