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  1. OPT STEM Regulation Survives in Lawsuit

    By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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    A federal judge has ruled for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a lawsuit concerning the promulgation of a 2016 regulation extending Optional Practical Training (OPT) by an additional 24 months for eligible STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree holders. (Washington All. of Tech. Workers v. Dept. of Homeland Sec. (D.D.C. Apr. 19, 2017)).

    The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers argued the 2016 regulation exceeded the authority of DHS under several provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Specifically, the Alliance asserted the regulation allows employers to skirt the H-1B temporary visa program for high-skilled workers without providing labor protections for U.S. workers.

    The judge decided the Alliance, which represents U.S. workers who are STEM degree holders, did not show that the DHS had violated the INA in the promulgation of the regulation or the substance of the regulation.

    Despite this favorable ruling in litigation, on a case that has been in the courts for many years, OPT STEM faces uncertainty as to whether the Trump administration will attempt to eliminate or curtail it. Under last week’s “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, the Secretary of DHS “shall propose new rules and issue new guidance… to protect the interests of United States workers.” Since this language is so broad, Secretary of DHS may propose new rules for OPT STEM. Only time will tell so stay tuned.
  2. Immigrant Personal Injury: Do You Have a Case?

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    There are a variety of situations in which you may be injured due to something that was not your fault, such as being involved in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, slipping and falling in a grocery store, or being bitten by someone else's dog. One should not have to pay costly medical bills and other expenses that resulted from an accident caused by no fault of your own. It is important to hold people and businesses accountable when they put others at risk.

    However, there might be one curveball in your case: You're an undocumented immigrant.

    Many undocumented immigrants are afraid to take action in these situations. Even though they might be worried about having to pay for their own medical bills or have concerns regarding the financial losses that result when one is unable to work due to an injury, many immigrants are afraid of the alternative: deportation. People in this situation often end up suffering alone without hiring a personal injury lawyer to assist them with their case, which ultimately does not hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence.

    Is this situation fair?

    Usually, becoming a United States citizen or permanent resident is a long, challenging and expensive road. Just because you have not been able to overcome this obstacle does not mean that you shouldn't be able to protect yourself and fight for your rights after an injury.

    Luckily, many United States courts agree with this. New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, decided on this matter in 2006. In the case, Balbuena v. IDR Realty, a man named Gorgonio Balbuena, a native of Mexico who was in the United States illegally at the time of the accident, was involved in a construction site accident. This accident was pretty serious and left Balbuena with serious head trauma and other injuries, making it impossible for him to work.

    When Balbuena filed a lawsuit, he was asked for proof that he was allowed to legally work in the United States. Since Balbuena was an undocumented immigrant, he unsurprisingly had no such paperwork. Because of this, part of Balbuena’s claim was dismissed, but the New York Court of Appeals ultimately found that he still had a right to a personal injury lawsuit due to the injuries that he sustained while on the job. Once this precedent was set, other courts throughout the nation have had similar decisions.

    So if you’re an undocumented immigrant, you should not be afraid to fight for the compensation you deserve after a personal injury. The last thing one should have to worry about while going through the tough healing process that ensues after a personal injury is their United States citizenship status.

    Of course, these cases may be tricky. Just as with most other personal injury cases, it is usually best to work with a skilled attorney. Your attorney has the qualifications to sort out these complex legal matters. Don't be afraid to fight for yourself; instead, hire a Miami personal injury lawyer who can help you every step of the way.

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ID:	1125Thanks to our friends at Personal Injury Lawyer of Miami for their added insight into personal injury practice.
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