My Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers is back for the third consecutive year, with an expanded array of noteworthy recommendations for the lawyers in your life. Not a tie, gavel, or kitschy brass scales on this list, just gifts that any self-respecting, hard-working, red-blooded American lawyer wouldn't love to have-if they had the time to find it themselves and tell you about it!
Once again, I've compiled this list as a public service for my learned professional colleagues and their time-sensitive, gift idea-starved family, friends, partners, associates and, dare I say, appreciative clients? Yep, that means that once again I make no money on this guide. No Google Ad Words, referral fees, nor sponsorships. Consider it pro bono publico! The gift ideas are in no particular order (except I'm hoping my wife notices I put the iPhone first), and range in price from under ten dollars to several hundred. Enjoy!
September 28, 2007
By Bob Kraft
Category: Consumer Information
p>The news (and protests) about the City of Irving's policy of reporting the immigration status of everyone stopped for a traffic violation or detained by the police for any other reason has many immigrants afraid to live in or even drive through Irving.
Whether you're a legal or illegal immigrant or an American citizen, it can be helpful to know how best to avoid being stopped by the police for any reason.
First and foremost, know and obey all traffic laws. The best source for learning the rights and responsibilities of Texas drivers is the Texas Drivers Handbook, available free from the Web site of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Obviously the police will, and should, stop any driver who runs a red light, speeds, doesn't come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or commits some other major traffic violation. But police look for other, less obvious, driving errors also. They are trained to do this in order to get drunk drivers off the road, but it's a good idea for each of us to know what activities might catch the eye of a patrol officer.
There are preventive steps you can take to avoid being stopped. Many of these steps will help you avoid making the driving mistakes that might lead a police officer to decide to pull you over.
Let's assume you are about to drive a car. If you are at all uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the car you are driving, you are much more likely to make mistakes or drive erratically. And if you are not driving well, you are more likely to get stopped by a police officer.
If you are driving a car you are not used to--a friend's car, a car you just bought, or a car you have not driven in awhile--it is important that you take a moment to remind yourself where everything is before you start to drive: emergency brake, transmission, turn signals, windshield wipers, headlights, high beams, hazard lights, and so on. To get an overall feel for the car, just grip the steering wheel and put your foot on the brake. Also make sure that the seat and steering wheel are adjusted properly for you.
Taking a few seconds to do this is especially important if you are used to driving a car with a different kind of transmission. If, say, you are driving an automatic when you are accustomed to a manual, spending a minute or two to familiarize yourself with the car can make the difference between getting where you are going safely and slamming on the brake in a frantic search for a non-existent clutch.
Also make sure everything on the outside of your vehicle is in working order and that your vehicle registration tags are current. Police officers often use a minor vehicle infraction like broken taillights or expired registration tags as a reason to stop a vehicle. Things like broken taillights are especially likely to get you pulled over at night when they can be easily seen.
Before you start driving, know where you are going, how to get there, and how to get back home. Getting lost and trying to find the right road will inevitably lead to errors in your driving.
If the unfortunate occurs, and you are stopped, know your rights and what to expect when you are pulled over.
If you have any questions about these matters, please contact Kraft & Associates.
For more information about immigration news, immigration laws, immigration policies, proposed immigration laws, border enforcement, green cards, citizenship, employment visas, family visas, naturalization, and other immigration subjects, please visit Immigration Law Answers and Immigration Law Answers Blog.
June 22, 2007
By Bob Kraft
Category: Consumer Information
As more and more individuals in the United States apply to become lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, it is vital that each person know the rights and responsibilities that come with obtaining LPR status.
The benefits to becoming an LPR include:
You may live anywhere in the United States, and you may stay there as long as you want.
You may work at any job, for any company, anywhere in the U.S., or you may choose to not work at all.
An LPR may travel freely inside and out of the United States whenever you wish.
You may apply to become a U.S. citizen after you have held your green card for a certain length of time.
In many cases, your spouse and children under the age of 21 may also be eligible to obtain green cards as accompanying relatives.
Although you may have a green card, you should be very careful about certain things. The first and foremost is international travel. Even though you may travel freely, extended periods of time spent outside the U.S. may indicate to Immigration Services that you have abandoned your green card.
If you plan on spending over six months outside the U.S. at any given time, it is advisable for you to apply for a re-entry permit. This is issued to permanent residents or conditional permanent residents who wish to remain outside the U. S. for a prolonged period of time, but for less than two years. A re-entry permit usually enables a permanent resident, who traveled abroad for a period of time of more than one year but less than two years, to avoid the risk of not being allowed to come back the U.S. on the ground that the alien abandoned his permanent residence status. A re-entry permit can also serve as a passport for a permanent resident who wants to travel outside the United States, but cannot get a passport from his country of nationality.
A permanent resident who wishes to become a U.S. citizen must show that he is a person of good moral character. Arrests, criminal convictions, or engaging in certain bad acts such as failing to pay child support or being a habitual drunkard will prevent a person from becoming a citizen.
All LPRs are bound by all of the laws of the United States, the States, and localities. You are required to file your income tax returns and report your income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and your State IRS. You are expected to support the democratic form of government and cannot attempt to change the government through illegal means. If you are a male, age 18 through 25, you are required to register with the Selective Service.
One of the most important privileges of democracy in the United States of America is the right to participate in choosing elected officials through voting. As a Permanent Resident you can only vote in local and state elections that do not require you to be a U.S. citizen. It is very important that you do not vote in national, state or local elections that require a voter to be a U.S. citizen when you are not a U.S. citizen. There are criminal penalties for voting when you are not a U.S. citizen and it is a requirement for voting. You can be removed (deported) from the U.S. if you vote in elections limited to U.S. citizens.
Becoming a permanent resident of the United States is a wonderful thing, however, all LPRs should remember that they must maintain their status at all times. Your status in the United States is not guaranteed and certain actions may cause you to lose your green card status or be deported from the United States.
If you have any questions regarding permanent residency or any other immigration topic, please contact Kraft & Associates today.