When Should You Write Your First Will ?

The idea of being “proactive” has never held much appeal. Burglar alarms are often installed only after the house has been looted. Trip insurance is frequently purchased for the vacation taken after the one that goes awry. And yes, barn doors are often locked after the horse has been stolen. The same is true of having a will prepared. It’s one activity that can’t be put off until after the need arises. Instead, it is often some galvanizing life event that first prompts someone to prepare a will. • “My mother died and her estate was a mess. I want […]

America Immigration Law in Disarray

Since riding down the escalator to announce his candidacy for President, Trump has tried to change the policies and laws concerning people who are not citizens of the US. His attempts have, for the most part, failed because there are federal judges willing to rule against him when lawsuits challenging those attempts were filed. In January and March 2017, Trump signed executive orders trying to ban all Muslims from entering the US. Judges in the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals ruled that those orders were unconstitutional and granted restraining orders until the Supreme Court, in June 2018, entered […]

America’s Nightmare Border Cops

When the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) was created after the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, two agencies were merged to create Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). At the present time, CBP employs 23,000 Customs agents and 20,000 Border Protection agents. The commonly held belief is that purpose of these agents is to catch terrorists at the borders of the US, including seaports and border ports of entry, as well as any materials that are considered harmful to the US. However, the truth is not so clear cut. CBP has the authority to stop and question anyone at an […]

Insulate Your Marriage from Problems Online

The Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” He was lucky he didn’t live in the age of Facebook. Thanks to the vast social network, it has never been easier to express an opinion about someone – however unflattering the sentiment may be. In addition to posting written words, it can also be hurtful to upload photographs and videos that were meant for a private audience. And when the object of online derision is an ex-spouse, the pain inflicted can be especially acute. After choosing a companion of good character, […]

The Supreme Court’s Job

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once stated that “Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.” During the years of the Marshall Court and those that followed, when the huge social issues of the day made their way to the Supreme Court, people like you and me and all the other members of the LGBT community held out hope that achieving that definition of equality could happen someday for us. Maybe it would not be today and maybe not tomorrow – but the hope and the faith that one day we would be […]

Is There Justice … in the Immigration Court system?

This past August 8th, the National Association of Immigration Judges filed a grievance/complaint with the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) based on the actions of US Attorney General Sessions, who ordered an assistant chief judge from Falls Church, Virginia, to travel to Philadelphia for the sole purpose of entering an order of removal against a person who had not appeared for a hearing. The immigration judge (IJ) who had handled the case had closed the removal case because the Office of Chief Counsel (“OCC”) in Philadelphia had not been able to prove that the person had actually received the […]

Who Inherits Your Frequent Flyer Miles?

Even if you have a valid will, it probably doesn’t address a surprisingly valuable asset – your frequent flyer miles. Whether you often travel by air or simply use an airline credit card, these miles can quickly add up. Some credit card companies will give you thousands of miles just for opening an account, as well as additional points for every purchase you make. Airlines value these miles differently, but each mile is typically worth about 1.5 cents. That means that a cache of 200,000 miles could be worth $3,000. That’s not nothing, but of course the real value comes […]

Finding the Right Lawyer for You

A good lawyer is like a good friend – someone who is smart and honest, has your best interests at heart, and is enjoyable to be around. But finding such a lawyer can be an intimidating experience. Should you look online? Ask a friend to suggest someone? And how do you know when you’ve found the lawyer you need? Here are four things to look for when seeking legal counsel: 1) LGBT bona fides – Your first priority should be to find a fellow member of the LGBT community. Working with a lawyer means letting down your guard and entrusting […]

The Loss of 1,500 Kids in ICE Custody in 2017

In 1997, the administration of former President George W. Bush entered into a settlement agreement to address the problems that caused a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). The “Flores Agreement” of 1997 became law when most of the provisions were included in Federal regulations. The “Flores Agreement” and regulations required that ICE officials detaining unaccompanied children (“UAC”) who entered the US without a parent or guardian provide 1) food and drinking water, 2) medical assistance in emergencies, 3) toilets and sinks, 4) adequate temperature control and ventilation, 5) adequate supervision to protect minors from others, and 6) separation […]

Separating Children from Parents Is it legal under US law? Under international law?

  It’s become clear that the zero-tolerance policy of the current administration began with a memorandum issued by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions this past April 6th (to clarify the memorandum he issued on April 11th, 2017, about “the prioritization of the prosecution of certain criminal immigration offenses”) has a direct result of separating children from their parents. In fact, there’s no limit to the age of the children given the evidence that nursing mothers have had their infants taken from their arms, with no hope of seeing them again. The mental and physical health risks of such actions are enormous […]