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Judges required to inform non-U.S. citizen defendants of immigration consequences (12/1/13)

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures amended (effective December 1, 2013) following the U.S. Supreme Court decision Padilla v. Kentucky that required judges to inform non-U.S. citizen defendants that if convicted, they may be removed, denied citizenship, and denied admission to the U.S. in the future.

Green Card Lottery Registration ends on November 2, 2013:

Online registrations for the 2015 Diversity Visa (DV) Program ends on Saturday, November 2, 2013.  For more information, please visit U.S. Department of State website (travel.state.gov/visa) or call our office at 480-425-2009

U.S. brought 69,930 refugees to the United States in fiscal year 2013: (10/23/13)

That number is closer to the authorized ceiling – 70,000 in 2013 – than in any year since 1980.  The top five nationalities resettled to the United States in 2013 were Iraqi, Burmese, Bhutanese, Somali, and Cuban.  For fiscal year 2014, the President authorized the admission of up to 70,000 refugees from around the world. It is expected to admit more than 60 nationalities.

Bankruptcy Filings Fall 14% for the First Half of 2013, Commercial Filings Drop 25%(7/3/13)

The bankruptcy filings totaled 544,390 nationwide during the first 6 months of 2013, a 14% decrease from the same period a year ago. The 520,919 total consumer filings for the first half of 2013 represented a 13% drop from the first half of 2012. Total commercial filings during the first 6 months were 23,471, representing a 25% decrease from 2012. Commercial chapter 11 filings also fell during the first half of 2013 as the 3,445 filings represented a 16% decrease from the first six months of 2012.

Foreign nationals in same-sex marriages entitled to immigration benefits (7/2/13)

After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in same-sex marriages with foreign nationals can now sponsor their spouses for a family-based immigrant visa.  For more information, please call our office at 480-425-2009.

Attorney Irena Juras spoke on cross-cultural communication (5/6/13)

Attorney Irena Juras spoke on cross-cultural communication (Cross Cultural Magic: Overcoming International Blunders, Boo-Boos and Crises) at the Arizona International Growth Group meeting.

The Juras Law Firm PLC celebrates 9th anniversary (5/4/13)

Thank you everyone for your support!

Overhaul Immigration Reform Bill Introduced (4/16/13)

The bipartisan bill proposes to provide a path to a legal status to illegal immigrants who overstayed their visa or entered the U.S. illegally before December 31, 2011. Those undocumented immigrants would be able to apply for a registered provisional status if they pay $500 penalty and have not committed serious crime. After 10 years they can apply for green cards if they meet certain criteria. The provisional status and the ability to apply for a green card would be contingent upon creating and implementing tighten border security strategy with billion dollar price tag. This is only a proposal.  It’s expected that changes will be made to the bill before is considered in the full Senate.  For more information, contact our office.

H-1B Cap Reached for FY2014 (4/8/2013)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year 2014 within the first week of the filing period, which ended on April 5, 2013. USCIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.

Juras Law Firm PLC opens new Phoenix location (4/1/2013)

We are pleased to announce the opening of our new main location in Phoenix.  The address is 2398 E Camelback Rd, Suite 240.  The office is located on the NW corner of Camelback Road and 24th Street.

ATTORNEY IRENA JURAS TEACHES IMMIGRATION LAW WORKSHOP (9/6/12)

Attorney Irena Juras was invited again by Law Review CLE to teach Immigration Workshop: Conquering Family & Employment Immigration Forms, on September 6, 2012:http://lawreviewcle.com/seminars/2012-09-06-Phoenix_AZ-immigration-workshop.html

 

Deferred Action for DREAMers (8/15/12)

The USCIS will start accepting applications for Deferred Action on August 15, 2012.

Eligible individuals:

Were younger than 31 on June 15, 2012

Arrived in the U.S. before turning 16

Continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, to the present

Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012

Entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012, or any lawful immigration status expired on or before June 15, 2012

Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety

One of the following applies on the date of application:

are in school,

have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school

have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate

are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces

The filling fee is $465, of which $380 goes towards the Employment Authorization Document and $85 towards biometrics fee. A careful analysis of your eligibility and preparation of the application with appropriate supporting documents by a qualified immigration attorney is strongly advisable in order to avoid rejection of your application. Please contact an experienced immigration attorney Irena Juras at 480-425-2009.

Bankruptcy Filings Fall 14% in the First Half of 2012

Total bankruptcy filings totaled 632,130 nationwide during the first 6 months of 2012, a 14% decrease from the 731,500 total filings during the same period a year ago. 

ATTORNEY IRENA JURAS INVITED AGAIN TO SPEAK AT IMMIGRATION LAW SEMINAR (7/18/12)

Attorney Irena Juras was invited again by Law Review CLE to teach Immigration Workshop: Conquering Family & Employment Immigration Forms, on September 6, 2012:http://lawreviewcle.com/seminars/2012-09-06-Phoenix_AZ-immigration-workshop.html

Centralized adjudication of all E visas in Mexico (6/20/12)

Beginning July 1, 2012, the U.S. consular operations in Mexico will centralize all E-visas adjudications in Mexico at the following three visa posts: (a) U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, (b) U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey and (c) U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana.

Treaty Trader visas (E-1) and Treaty Investor visas (E-2) are non-immigrant visas for nationals of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation who wish to go to the United States to carry on substantial trade, principally between the United States and the treaty country (E-1); or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital (E-2). For more information, please visithttp://www.juraslaw.com/Immigration/Investor-Visa.shtml

 WORK PERMIT FOR DREAMERS (6/15/12)

On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announced that it will offer deferred action from deportation to undocumented foreign nationals who were brought to the country as minors and meet other specific requirements:

Are 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16

Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012

Have maintained continuous residence

Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple minor misdemeanors

Be currently in school, graduated or have a GED, or iare honorably discharged veterans

Those who receive deferred action will be permitted to apply for work permits. For more information, call 480-425-2009, or contact us via email.

H-1B CAP REACHED for FY2013 (6/11/12)

As of June 11, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received a sufficient number of H-1B specialty occupation petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2013. As of June 7, 2012, USCIS already received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the ‘advanced degree’ exemption. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.

FY2013 H-1B Cap Count (5/31/12)

As of May 25, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service received nearly 48,400 H-1B petitions that are subject to 65,000 cap amount and 17,500 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees that are subject to 20,000 cap amount. H1-B visa are for foreign workers coming to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupations that require “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge”. Specialty occupations are for example computer programmers, engineers,  scientists or lawyers.

Bill introduced for EB-5 program to become permanent (5/24/12)

On May 24, 2012, Senator Patrick Leahy (D. Vt.) has introduced legislation asking to have the EB-5 Pilot Program become permanent. The bill was introduced with bipartisan support coming from Senator Chuck Grassley (R. IA.).  Senator Leahy has been an advocate of the EB-5 program, effectively seeking extensions of the program through Congress, with its latest extension due to sunset on September 30, 2012.  The EB-5 Visa Program allows certain individuals to seek permanent resident status in the United States based on their investment in commercial business enterprises.  For more information about EB-5 visa, visithttp://www.juraslaw.com/Immigration/Investor-Visa.shtml

Juras Law Firm successfully reorganized a flooring company through Chapter 11(5/23/12)

The Chapter 11 reorganization took almost 3 years.  The Juras Law Firm was able to protect the company’s main asset, commercial building, by filing the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on the eve of foreclosure and negotiating an agreement with the lender.   The Chapter 11 plan was confirmed in 1.5 years after filing of the bankruptcy petition.  The confirmed planned restructured the company’s debts and preserved jobs.  The reorganized company emerged from bankruptcy on May 23, 2012.

Refinancing a loan does not destroy Anti-Deficinecy Protection ruled AZ Court of Appeals

The Arizona Court of Appeals held that refinancing a purchase money loan does not destroy purchase money status and forfeit anti-deficiency protection to the extent proceeds from the refinancing satisfy the underlying purchase money obligation (Helvetica Servicing, Inc. v. Pasquan, 1 CA-CV 10-0418).  A purchase money loan is a loan used to pay the purchase price. The Anti-Deficiency Protection prevents a lender from suing a person for a difference between the loan balance and the sale price at the foreclosure.

JURAS LAW FIRM, PLC CELEBRATES 8TH ANNIVERSARY (5/4/2012)

We are proud to announce that the Juras Law Firm, PLC celebrates its 8th anniversary.  The Juras Law Firm, PLC was formed on May 4, 2004.  Happy birthday!

ATTORNEY IRENA JURAS WILL SPEAK AT SEMINAR: IMMIGRATION 101 (12/8/11)

Attorney Irena Juras will speak at seminar Immigration 101 (Family and Employment course will provide an overview and introduction into the the basic concepts of U.S. immigration law and procedurea) at Radisson Hotel Phoenix City Center on January 19, 2012, at 8:30 am. For more information visithttp://lawreviewcle.com/cle_mcle_credits_courses/cle_mcle_credits-2012-01-19-Phoenix_AZ-immigration.html

Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Down 10% in 2011 (10/4/11)

U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings totaled 1,044,722 during the first 9 months of 2011, a 10% decrease from the 1,165,172 total consumer filings during the same period a year ago, according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center. September consumer bankruptcies decreased 17% nationwide from September 2010.

SSA disclosed Social Security numbers that are invalid or impossible to have  (9/6/11)

SSA disclosed Social Security numbers that are invalid or impossible to have because the numbers have never been assigned.  SSA never assigned SSN with certain first three digits, certain last four digits and certain second two digits.

Solar Firm Solyndra Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection (9/6/11)

Solyndra LLC, a solar panel maker which had received $535 million in federal loan guarantees, filed for chapter 11 protection at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware today. Solyndra is at least the third solar company to seek court protection from creditors since August. Solyndra couldn’t compete with foreign manufacturers funded by their governments.

Bankruptcy Claims-Trading Reaches $3.55 billion in July (8/25/11)

The value of bankruptcy claims trading privately in the secondary market reached $3.55 billion in July 2011, according to broker-dealer SecondMarket Holdings Inc., the most since July 2010 when a record $12.7 billion of claims were exchanged.  Claims tied to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., parent company of the failed investment bank, accounted for 58% of the 1,340 transfers recorded in July 2011.  Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s 5.625% bonds due 2013 are now trading around 24 cents on the dollar.

Work Permit For Undocumented Individuals in “Low Priority” Cases (8/22/11)

On August 18, 2011, the Obama Administration announced the creation of a high-level working group made up of Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice officials who are to review all cases already pending before the immigration courts. The “low priority” cases may be administratively closed and “high priority” cases will be prosecuted more aggressively. If a case is administratively closed, the individual will be able to apply for a work permit. At this time, there are no details, guidelines or instructions on how to apply for the work permit, or who will be eligible for the work permit. This is NOT an amnesty, it is NOT about granting legal status to those in the U.S. illegally. The best course of action is to consult an immigration lawyer.

Borders Authorized by Court to Auction Name & Leases (8/10/11)

A bankruptcy judge authorized Borders Group Inc. to auction its name and real estate assets, the latest step in the liquidation of the nation’s second-largest bookseller. The auction of intellectual property, including its trademarks, website, brand name and customer lists will be held on Sept. 14. The Borders name could live on as an Internet-based brand.

Total U.S. Bankruptcies in First Half of 2011 Down 8% over First Half of 2010 (8/8/11)

The total number of U.S. bankruptcies filed during the first six months of 2011 dropped 8% over the same six-month period in 2010. Total filings reached 745,968 during the first half of calendar year 2011, compared to 810,209 cases filed over the same period in 2010. Business filings decreased 15% for the first six months of 2011, to 24,680 from the first-half 2010 total of 29,059. Filings by individuals or households with consumer debt decreased 8% to 721,288 for the six-month period ending June 30, 2011, from the 2010 first-half total of 781,150.

Dodgers Judge Favors MLB’s Bankruptcy Loan Offer over JPMorgan’s (7/25/11)

Bankruptcy Judge ruled that the Los Angeles Dodgers cannot borrow $150 million from a JPMorgan Highbridge Capital Management LLC for its bankruptcy financing and must hold talks with MLB on its rival loan offer with a lower interest rate. MLB’s loan should not have any effect on the Dodgers’ plan to auction off the team’s TV rights. The sale of assets, especially the rights to show games on cable television, would pay creditors and allow the Dodgers to exit bankruptcy before the end of 2011.

Wells Fargo Fined $85 Million for Subprime Loans (7/21/11)

Wells Fargo & Co. agreed to pay a $85 million fine to settle Federal Reserve claims it steered borrowers into higher interest rate loans than they were eligible and used false documents to make it appear borrowers qualified for loans when their income made them ineligible . Wells Fargo will provide restitution to customers who may have been harmed.

Borders to Liquidate (7/21/11)

Bankruptcy court approved Borders Group Inc.’s liquidation plan today. The bankrupt bookstore chain will liquidate its 399 remaining stores after a bid fell through last week from a private equity firm.  Borders Group officially starts its going out of business sales at some stores Friday.

Perkins & Marie Callender’s plans to exit Chapter 11 this year (7/18/11)

Perkins & Marie Callender’s Inc., the owner of the restaurant chains of the same names, filed a plan of reorganization with the Delaware Bankruptcy Court, and plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy before the end of the year. The plan proposes to shed the company’s debt by giving noteholders equity. Perkins Restaurant & Bakery was founded in 1958 and has roughly 450 locations. The Marie Callender’s chain has roughly 87 locations. The company closed approximately 65 restaurants just before it filed for bankruptcy in June and said it continues to evaluate further restaurant closings.

Fiscal Year 2011 H-2B Visa Cap Count (6/28/11)

As of June 24, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received 28,387 petitions toward the 33,000 H-2B visa cap amount for the second half of the fiscal year. This count includes 27,706 approved and 681 pending petitions.

Bank of America Involuntary Chapter 11 Case Tossed (6/23/11)

Bank of America involuntary Chapter 11 brought by 34 creditors was dismissed by bankruptcy judge because a bank (with the exception of an uninsured state member bank) cannot be a debtor under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code and creditors were not eligible to file the involuntary petition.

Borders Gets More Time to Find Buyer (6/23/11)

Borders Group Inc. paid $1 million fee to extend deadlines in its $505 million bankruptcy loan and avoided being force to immediately start liquidating mostly profitable 40 stores.

Business Bankruptcies Fell 18% in May 2011 compared to May 2010 (6/14/11)

The number of business bankruptcies continue to decrease. According to Epiq Systems, Inc., in May 2011 6,569 business filed for bankruptcy, compared to 8,016 in May 2010.

Boise County Filed for Bankruptcy (3/3/11)

Boise County filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection after a multimillion dollar judgment was entered against it. Boise County is a small rural county in Idaho. Despite its name, it is not home to the Idaho capital city of Boise.

Borders Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (2/16/11)

Borders Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Southern District of New York. Borders is the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain. It listed assets of $1.28 billion and liabilities of $1.29 billion.

Immigration Scam Shut Down by FTC (2/7/11)

According to the Federal Trade Commission, defendants Immigration Center and Immigration Forms and Publications, Inc., set up websites that mimic official government sites, and used the fake sites to steer immigrants to their deceptive telemarketing operation. Consumers were transferred to a live person who answered, “USCIS or “U.S. Immigration Center.” The sites offered counseling and application forms. Adding to the consumers’ confusion, the defendants charged fees for application forms that were the same amount as the government processing fees, leading them to believe the fees covered the cost of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing. The FTC charged the defendants with violating federal law by misrepresenting: that they were authorized to provide immigration and naturalization services; that they were affiliated with the U.S. government; and that the fees paid would cover all the costs associated with submitting documents to the USCIS. In addition, two of the defendants were charged with providing the others with the means and instrumentalities to further the illegal scheme. The correct website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service is http://www.uscis.gov/ .

FY2011 H-2B Visa Cap Count (2/3/11)

As of 1/28/11, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services receipted 9,591 petitions toward the 33,000 H-2B visa cap amount for the second half of the fiscal year. This count includes 5,701 approved and 3,890 pending petitions. The H-2B temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

Mesa Air Confirmed Chapter 11 Plan (1/21/11)

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved Mesa Air’s Chapter 11 plan yesterday. The reorganization plan allowed Mesa Air to reject more than 100 unnecessary aircraft leases and financing, eliminating about $700 million of leases and $50 million of debt. Mesa Air expects to emerge from Chapter 11 next month as a private company and issue new notes, common stock and warrants to creditors. Mesa Air has 76 aircraft and also operates as US Airways Express and United Express.

Irena Juras speaks at IMMIGRATION LAW FUNDAMENTALS seminar (1/19/11)

On January 20, 2011, Irena Juras will be speaking at the Immigration Law Seminar “IMMIGRATION LAW FUNDAMENTALS” on the topic of Family-Based Visas and Employment-Based Visas. The seminar will provide an overview and introduction into the basic concepts of U.S. immigration law and procedure. The seminar is organized by Law Review CLE and will take place at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix located at 122 North Second Street in Phoenix. For more information, please visit:http://lawreviewcle.com/phoenix_im.html

Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Increased 9 Percent Last Year (1/4/11)

Consumer bankruptcies in U.S. increased 9 percent in 2010 from 2009 according to National Bankruptcy Research Center’s data. The consumer filing in 2010 total 1,530,078 compared to the 1,407,788 in 2009.

GM’s Creditors Could Receive Additional Stock (12/30/10)

GM’s unsecured bankruptcy creditors whose claims are between $35 billion and $42 billion will receive up to an additional 2% of the new GM stock. That is on the top of the 10% of new GM stock and warrants to purchase up to an addition 15% of the share already slated for unsecured creditors, regardless of the claim amount.

New NY law allows debtors to protect more assets from creditors in bankruptcy(12/27/10)

New York residents and debtors who lived in New York for certain period of time prior to filing for bankruptcy will be able to protect more assets from creditors under new law. The new New York state law increases the dollar value of some exemptions. The debtors can protect their vehicles up to $4,000.00 above an associated car loan. They may also protect home equity of $75,000 to $150,000 depending on location.

Blockbuster Wants Control of its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Through March (12/27/10)

The largest U.S. video rental chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2010 and its exclusive right to propose a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization expires on January 21, 2011. After that day, creditors can propose a competing plan of reorganization. Blockbuster Inc. asked the bankruptcy court to extend the exclusivity period to March 21, 2011 in order to assess how many of its roughly 2,900 will keep open. Blockbuster plans to wipe out most of its roughly $1 billion in debt by turning control to holders of its secured bonds.

Rush to Foreclose by Fannie, Freddie Helped Feed Problems with Legal Paperwork(12/23/2010)

Problems with documents handled by law firms representing Fannie and Freddie Mac are at the heart of federal and state probes over faulty foreclosure practices that now threaten to further undermine the housing market, reported today The Washington Post. Fannie and Freddie worked with law firms that were able to foreclosequickly and got paid based on number of foreclosures. Some firms engaged in legally questionable practices. T he Law Offices of David J. Stern in Florida built a $100 million-plus business foreclosing on borrowers who lost their homes in the housing crash. Read more:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/22/AR2010122205828.html

Blockbuster plans to close 182 stores in 2011 (12/21/2010)

Blockbuster is expected to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011 under new owners led by billionaire Carl Icahn. As part of the reorganization process Blockbuster Inc. has already closed more than 1,000 stores during last two years and plans to close another 182 stores by early 2011.

Movie Studio MGM Emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (12/21/2010)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)’s pre-packaged reorganization plan was approved by creditors on December 2, 2010. The Chapter 11 reorganization plan wiped out about $5 million debts in exchange for equity in the reorganized company. The reorganized MGM plans to make only a handful of films each year.

FY2011 H-1B Cap Count (12/17/2010)

As of December 17, 2010, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service received approximately 53,900 H-1B petitions that are subject to 65,000 cap amount and 19,700 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees that are subject to 20,000 cap amount. H1-B visa are for foreign workers coming to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupations that require “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge”. Specialty occupations are for example computer programmers, engineers, or scientists.

Arizona Supreme Court suspended Jeffrey Phillips of Phillips & Associates from practice of law (12/16/2010)

Jeffrey Phillips of Phillips & Associates, known from frequent local TV advertisements, is not allowed to practice law during his six-month suspension. Phillips & Associates cannot use his name in advertisements, letterhead and other communications. The State Bar of Arizona’s investigation found that Jeffrey Phillips had violated the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct, including failure to keep clients informed, inappropriate intake and retention procedures, missed hearings and high caseloads.