Category: News & Updates

New Online Screening Tool Helps Undocumented Immigrants Learn About Options And Find Free Legal Help

The day President Donald Trump announced plans to move forward with construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and restrict immigration from Muslim-majority countries, Matthew Burnett launched his nonprofit’s new online tool for undocumented immigrants.

The Immigration Advocates Network, where Burnett is director, has created immi.org, an online tool site that allows undocumented immigrants and those with temporary status to answer questions about their personal histories, helping them figure out exactly which protections, pathways to citizenship, or legal assistance they could be eligible for.

Approximately 1.5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States could be eligible for immigration benefits but do not know about it, Burnett said. And when they do navigate the complicated application process, it could cost up to $2,000 in lawyer’s fees.

“We need to be laser-focused on getting as many immigrants as possible aware of their options to protect their future,” he told Mashable. “If a benefit is available to get on the road to immigration or citizenship, they’re going to be protected from all those things we worry about.”

Most other immigration resources focus on filling out applications — not guidance on which applications people should actually complete. Immi.org takes care of the very first steps, helping anyone with questions about their immigration options figure out which path to pursue.

For example, someone who logs on to immi.org could discover that they are eligible for protections if they are a victim of certain crimes, a survivor of domestic violence, or from a country subject to civil war or natural disaster.

After answering the initial questions, the English and Spanish-language site then connects its users with local nonprofit legal centers and information on undocumented immigrants’ rights. As a security measure, any identifying information is collected separately from personal answers to questions about immigration status.

Along with undocumented immigrants, those with temporary status can figure out their next steps, and lawful permanent residents — such as green card holders — can learn about paths toward naturalization.

The only people who cannot use the site are potential immigrants who are not yet in the United States, or anyone who is already in deportation proceedings.

Supported by Open Society Foundations, the MacArthur Foundation and other donors, the civil legal aid organization Immigration Advocates Network started working on this project with the legal group Pro Bono Net about a year ago — before Trump even gained the Republican nomination for president.

If rules surrounding immigration change under the Trump administration, the site will adapt to ensure immigrants’ information is protected, and that its users are directed to their best paths forward in the United States.

“Our goal is to get information and resources available 24/7,” Burnett said.

 

Read the original article here.

Black History Month and Race Relations in the United States

Each February, Americans honor both people and significant events in African-American history during Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month.

Among the myriad reasons Black History Month is important is the under-representation of people of color in standard history classes. For instance, the recently released biographical drama Hidden Figures depicts the story of three female African-American mathematicians who worked at NASA and were integral in getting American astronauts into space. Their names are nowhere near as widely discussed as John Glenn or Neil Armstrong, though their contributions to the space program were arguably as important.

Because under-representation of African Americans in traditionally-taught history has long been a problem, Black History Week was created in 1926. It was officially expanded in 1976 to include the entire month of February. In addition to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom also celebrate Black History Month.

Last year, this HeinOnline blog post discussed key figures in African-American legal history. Since that post was published, the topic of race relations continues to permeate headlines and American culture generally. Consider these 2016 Gallup poll numbers:

  • 53% of adults believe relations between whites and blacks are very good or somewhat good.
  • 46% of adults believe relations between whites and blacks are very bad or somewhat bad.
  • 55% of white adults believe relations between whites and blacks are very good or somewhat good.
  • 44% of white adults believe relations between whites and blacks are very bad or somewhat bad.
  • 49% of black adults believe relations between whites and blacks are very good or somewhat good.
  • 50% of black adults believe relations between whites and blacks are very bad or somewhat bad.

These numbers show that, while Americans are divided fairly evenly on this issue, more Black Americans believe race relations are very bad or somewhat bad than do their white counterparts. It is also important to note that the percentage of both white and black Americans who believe relations between whites and blacks to be very bad was higher in 2015 and 2016 compared with 2013. This chart also shows a decrease in the percentage of both whites and blacks who say relations are very good or somewhat good during this same time period:

These differences may not be significant enough to indicate a long-term downward trend, so future polls will be important in determining this information.

A search in HeinOnline for “race relations” AND “United States” AND “blacks and whites” produces more than 2,200 results from the Law Journal Library and nearly 800 results from U.S. Congressional Documents. Sort the journal results by Volume Date (Newest First) to find material from 2016 back to 1909, which indicates that this topic has been the subject of legal scholarship for more than 100 years.

Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law

In October of 2016, HeinOnline released a new database called Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law. This collection brings together, for the first time, all essential legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world. This includes every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery, every federal statute dealing with slavery, and all reported state and federal cases on slavery. Case coverage extends into the 20th century because long after slavery was ended, there were still court cases based on issues emanating from slavery.

This database was made available at no charge for anyone with an interest in the topic. There were many reasons for the decision to make this a free database, among those being the current racial climate in the United States and the desire to promote educational tools which may potentially help facilitate an open and positive dialogue on this important and sensitive subject.

Books and pamphlets contained within the database have been indexed and categorized for convenient browsing and searching. For example, a search for the phrase “fugitive slave laws” produces more than 200 results. The facets in the left viewing pane enable researchers to refine results by document type, topic, position on slavery, jurisdiction, and more:

Note that terms matching the search phrase are highlighted in yellow within the search result text snippets. Options to print, download, email, or save documents in a MyHein personal research account are available on the right side of each result.

If you have not yet registered for free access to Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law, you may do so here. To learn more about this resource and read the editor-in-chief’s introduction, visit http://home.heinonline.org/slavery/.

 

Read the original version of this article on Hein Online.

The Ninth Circuit Faces Uncertain Future As Immigration Case Looms

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is receiving a large amount of attention in the battle over President Trump’s immigration executive order. If some lawmakers have their way, however, then the court could soon be split up into two courts.

This weekend, two judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals bench asked for more information from the Trump administration and its opponents about the constitutionality of the executive order, after a federal judge in Washington state issued a temporary restraining order.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could be the last stop in the quickly evolving legal struggle over President Trump’s order before the dispute gets to the Supreme Court. But it will not be the last time the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is in the national news.

Shortly after November’s general election, congressional Republicans started working on a bill that would remove six states from the Ninth Circuit to create a new federal judicial district. (A similar bill was stalled in Congress last year.)

Currently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over cases originating in Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon and Washington state that pertain to federal laws and issues related to federal constitutional claims.

The newly created 12th Circuit would include Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington state. Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho and Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona are leading the current effort to get the legislation approved in Congress.

In a statement, Senator Flake said the action was needed because the Ninth Circuit is “oversized and overworked.” Flake cited the size of the court’s workload – it hears 33 percent more cases than any other federal circuit – and the failure rate of its cases accepted by the Supreme Court as reasons for the move.

“With problems like these, we are left to ask: Is the Ninth Circuit simply too big to succeed? If you are an Arizonan, the answer is unquestionably yes,” Flake said.

Critics of the move point to the Ninth Circuit’s reputation as one of the more liberal federal circuits in the country and that the move is an effort to create a federal district more friendly to Arizona and some other states.

The Ninth Circuit currently has 18 judges appointed by Democrats and seven appointed by Republicans, with four vacancies that can be filled by President Trump. Currently, seven of the nine judges in the prospective 12th Circuit states were appointed by Democratic Presidents.

The federal judiciary is organized into 12 regional circuit court systems that combine various states and the District of Columbia, and a Federal Circuit appeals court based in Washington, D.C., that hears dispute from other federal courts.

The last time a new Circuit Court Of Appeals was created was back in 1980, when Congress passed an act that created the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, with Alabama, Florida and George moving from the Fifth Circuit into the 11th Circuit. The former Fifth Circuit had 26 judges and also faced scheduling and logistical problems.

Read the original version of this article on Constitution Daily.

New Search Tool for African American History

The University of Minnesota library recently launched Umbra Search African American History, a search interface that provides access to over 400,000 digitized materials that document African American history. These are freely available resources that are in the digital collections of more than a thousand partner libraries, archives, museums and other institutions located across the United States. The materials include music, oral histories, photographs, maps, handwritten letters, and more. Director of the project Cecily Marcus says:

“No library is able to digitize all of its holdings, but by bringing together materials from all over the country, Umbra Search allows students and scholars to tell stories that have never been told before. Umbra Search partners have amazing collections, and now those materials can sit side by side with related content from a library on the other side of the country.”

Immigration “Know Your Rights” Presentation at Highline College

WHEN? Saturday, February 4th, 2017

WHAT TIME? 10:00am – 12:00pm

WHERE? Highline College, Student Union Building (Building 8), 2400 S. 240th Street, Des Moines, WA 98198

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) is organizing a community education event to discuss changes to immigration policy for this Saturday, February 4th, at 10:00am at Highline College in Des Moines. The community presentation will explain the new executive orders issued by President Trump and other changes to immigration policy. Learn about your options and your legal rights. Presentations will be available in English and Spanish. Attorneys will be available to answer individual questions.

Learn more & RSVP:

https://www.nwirp.org/know-your-rights-presentation-at-highline-college/

https://www.facebook.com/events/955801097854316/

“Este sábado: Presentación Sobre los Cambios a la Política de Inmigración”

“Venga a un evento donde explicaremos las nuevas ordenes ejecutivas del presidente Trump y otros cambios a la política de inmigración.  Aprenda acerca se sus opciones y sus derechos legales.  Tendremos presentaciones en ingles y español y abogados estarán disponibles para responder a preguntas.”

Sábado 4 de febrero, 2017

10 a.m al mediodia

Highline College

Student Union Building (Edificio 8)

2400 S. 240th St.

Des Moines, WA 98198

New Databases and Titles in the Library (November/December 2016)

Slavery in America and the World: This database is a collection of books, papers, cases, etc. from various donor brought together to give a more rounded view of slavery. You can read more about it here. This database is available through HeinOnline.

Art Law: Art Law in a Nutshell, 5th Ed. by Leonard D. DuBoff, Christy A. King, and Michael D. Murray, located at KF 4288.D83 2017

Civil Procedure: E-Discovery for Everyone by Ralph C. Losey, located at KF 8902.E42 L675 2016

Contract Law: Contracts in a Nutshell, 8th Ed. by Claude D. Rohwer, Anthony M. Skrocki, and Michael P. Malloy, located at KF 801.Z9 R64 2017

Family Law: Mastering Crucial Moments in Separation and Divorce: A Multidisciplinary Guide to Excellence in Practice and Outcome by Kate Scharff, M.S.W. and Lisa Herrick, PH.D, located at KF 535.S255 2016

Intellectual Property: Legal Guide to Video Game Development, 2nd Ed. edited by Ross Dannenberg, located at KF 3024.C6 L44 2016

Labor Law:

  • How Arbitration Works, 8th Ed. by Frank Elkouri, located at KF 3424.E53 2016
  • Inherited IRAs: what every practitioner should know, 2017 Ed. by Seymour Goldberg, CPA, MBA, JD, located at KF 3510.G65 2017
  • Labor and Employment Arbitration in a Nutshell, 3rd Ed. by Dennis R. Nolan, located at KF 3425.N65 2017

Public Safety: Fifty State Survey: Toxic Exposure Claims by Products Liability Committee, located at KF 3958.T68 2016

Zoning Law: The Zoning and Land Use Handbook by Ronald S. Cope, located at KF 5698.C63 2016

Handbook for Washington Seniors Updated

Legal Voice has updated the Handbook for Washington Seniors: Legal Rights and Resources for 2016 into 2017. The Handbook is a quick-reference guide covering legal rights, health care, housing, etc. The Handbook answers common questions about the issues seniors are likely to face. The Handbook may also be helpful to the family and caregivers of seniors.

You can find a digital copy of this resource available for free at www.legalvoice.org/handbook. You can also order a copy for $20 from Legal Voice.

You may also view a copy of this resource in the library, available at RES KF 390.A4 H36 (ask for it at the front information desk).

Used Car Purchases

This link leads to a PDF document written by the staff at the Northwest Justice Project discussing the following issues related to the purchase of a used car in Washington State:

  • The car dealer did not offer any warranties (guarantees) on my used car. Does this mean that my car is not covered by any warranties even if it develops major problems soon after I bought it?
  • What is an implied warranty of merchantability?
  • Is there a checklist showing what problems an implied warranty covers?
  • A sticker on the car said the car was being sold “as is,” and the sales contract seems to say I waived (gave up) all warranties. Have I given up my right to an implied warranty of merchantability?
  • The dealer sold me a service contract. Does this mean I waived the implied warranty?
  • What can I ask the car dealer to do?
  • Do I have any rights with the lender?
  • Can I get help resolving my dispute with the used car dealer if I cannot do it myself?
  • I tried mediation. It did not help. What can I do?
  • What if my sales agreement or loan agreement has an “arbitration” clause?
  • Can I get a court order forcing the car dealer to make specific repairs?
  • What should I do if I want to cancel the contract, return the car, and get my money back?
  • What should I do to get ready for trial if I decide to sue in Small Claims Court?
  • I have paid to have repairs done. Can I deduct the cost from my car payments instead of going to court?
  • What is my risk of repossession if I deduct the cost of repairs from my car payments?
  • What will happen if my car is repossessed?
  • What else can I do if I do not want to keep the car and do not want to keep making payments on it?

Washington State Employment Security Department (Unemployment) Precedential Decisions of Commissioner

The Precedential Decisions of Commissioner are published in a first series and second series. The first series encompasses case numbers 100 through 1299 (a) covering the period from April 14, 1954, through October 10, 1975. The second series begins anew with case number 100 and covers the period from October 17, 1975, through present.

The Precedential Decisions of Commissioner set forth interpretations of both procedural and substantive law governing adjudications under the Washington State Employment Security Act, Title 50 RCW. The Decisions are binding on Department adjudicators, administrative law judges of the Office of Administrative Hearings and the review judges of the Commissioner’s Review Office. The Decisions have been cited as persuasive authority by the Washington State trial and appellate courts.

Precedential Decisions of Commissioner must be read in the context of current statutes, regulations, and appellate court decisions.

The citation format for Precedential Decisions of Commissioner is as follows:
First SeriesIn re Staeger, Empl. Sec. Comm’r Dec. 100 (1954).
Second SeriesIn re Griggs, Empl. Sec. Comm’r Dec.2d 100 (1975).