Immigrating to a new country alone can be challenging. Many immigrants to the United States do not speak English as their primary language, and their loved ones often must wait for them to obtain the correct documentation before they can be reunited as a family on U.S. soil. However, this process might have been exhilarated by a recent workflow digitization.
“Helping a relative immigrate to the United States can be a challenging and stressful process,” immigration attorney James Hacking of Hacking Law Practice, LLC explained. “There are several in-depth forms that can be disorienting to people who are not familiar with the process. Any mistake on the forms or process can result in significant delays for an individual attempting to gain permanent resident status.”
The first step to sponsor a relative that one must complete is called Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative. Petitioners must be U.S. citizens and can file a petition for only a select number of family members, such as a spouse, their child or children (subject to certain age restrictions), or parents or siblings (subject to certain age restrictions).
An individual hoping to obtain their permanent resident status, also known as a “green card,” must first wait for the U.S. government to approve this petition. Previously, this process had to be completed on paper forms and mailed to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Now, however, this process has been made electronic for the first time in history. As the immigration process transitions from a hardcopy form to an electronic one, petitioners are afforded the convenience of electronic filing.
Now, the first step for an individual to obtain a green card for a qualifying relative is to create an account online through the USCIS website. Although online filing is not yet available for all forms, it has been made available for eight different forms, including the Petition for Alien Relative Form I-130, which will potentially provide an expedient alternative to paper filing. Additionally, petitioners will also be able to pay the necessary fees online, track the status of their case, communicate with USCIS officials, and respond to requests for evidence.
House Expected to Grill Executives of Nation’s Five Largest Vaping Companies
By Personal Injury Attorney Jacob Kimball of Springs Law Group
Democrat Diana DeGette of California wants answers from the vaping industry. She says that no one knows how vaping affects the health of users and that, as a result, consumers are left in the dark. Meanwhile, vape companies rake in billions of dollars and have attracted a new generation of youths into a potentially lifelong addiction to nicotine.
This hearing is seen as one of Congress’ latest attempts in probing the growing vaping market. Congress’s prior examinations into the market include several vaping-related hearings last year as well as raising the federal minimum age for vaping to 21.
DeGette is the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce oversight and investigations subcommittee. She has called to testify executives from five of the nation’s largest e-cigarette companies, which represent 97 percent of the country’s $19.3 billion vaping industry. These five companies include Juul, Logic, NJOY, Fontem, and Reynolds American, many of which have been the subject of prior congressional investigations regarding their marketing and business practices potentially targeting young people.
Thousands of individuals – many of them children and young adults – suffered serious personal injuries last year during a rash of vape-related illnesses, which caused dozens of deaths. The subcommittee is seeking information about how the companies’ marketing efforts have played a role in the teen vaping epidemic, as well as what known health risks their products may pose to users.
In response to this crisis, the Trump Administration (administration) released a new policy that at least temporarily banned some of the most popular vape pod-based flavors – fruit and mint – but leaving both tobacco and menthol flavors unregulated. However, there is concern that mint simply may be relabeled as menthol in some cases.
Further, many vape products remain on the market: disposable vape pens, open tank devices, and e-liquids available in vape shops. In essence, says Matt Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the administration’s rule leaves a gaping hole through which vulnerable populations can still access vape products. As a result, there has been a growing concern that young people will resort to using other disposable and cartridge-based products as a way to find similar sweet flavors.
Meredith Berkman of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes says that kids continue to use disposable vape products in sweet flavors that are thought to lure children into the market. She emphasizes the risk of personal injury to adolescents newly hooked on a nicotine product with poorly understood health impacts.
Federal data shows that middle and high school students are particularly at risk of becoming addicted to vaping and the nicotine it provides. Over the course of 30 days, more than five million of these young people admit to using vape products at least once.
Starting in May of 2020, the administration’s new rule requires companies to get approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration to sell their vape products and to prove that they provide a public health benefit. However, critics fear that the argument used to sell vaping in the first place, i.e., that it’s healthier than smoking cigarettes, may allow these products back on the market.
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