recently published its formal notice in the Federal Register about the
implementation of the H-1B visa electronic registration system. All employers
seeking to submit H-1B cap visa petitions for the fiscal year 2021 must first
register using this automated tool and pay a $10 registration fee per named
initial registration period will run from March 1, 2020, to March 20, 2020. Employers
must submit a separate registration for each prospective employee whom they
wish to sponsor. If USCIS receives enough registrations, then USCIS will
randomly choose the number of registrations that they project is necessary to
meet the H-1B visa numerical allocations for FY 2021. USCIS will notify registrants
whether their registrations have been selected no later than March 31, 2020. Those
employers with registrations chosen will have an eligibility period in which to
file their full H-1B visa applications.
employers can submit multiple registrations during a single online submission,
they can only submit one registration per foreign worker during any fiscal
year. If an employer provides any duplicate registrations for the same beneficiary
during the same fiscal year, USCIS will invalidate all registrations submitted
by an employer for that beneficiary.
USCIS also announced its intent to provide updated guidance and step-by-step instructions online closer to March 1, 2020. As of this date, USCIS has not published additional guidance. However, USCIS plans to hold a webinar for registrants on February 6, 2020, and a webinar for attorneys and applicants on February 11, 2020.
The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal immigration matters of countless individuals and businesses. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. Our goal is to get the best outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.
the past, the H-1B visa program consisted of a total of 85,000 H-1B visas. Out
of the total number of these visas, 65,000 went to applicants with bachelor’s
degrees, and the remaining 20,000 went to applicants with advanced degrees.
There were separate random pools for workers who only held bachelor’s degrees
and workers who held advanced degrees.
year, for the 2020 H-1B cap season, USCIS selected visa applicants only from a
single pool of applicants. As a result, USCIS first randomly chose the regular
65,000 visa applicants, regardless of whether they had bachelor’s degrees or
advanced degrees. The remaining 20,000 spots went only to applicants with
advanced degrees. As a practical matter, this means that more individuals who
held advanced degrees were awarded H-1B visas than in the past. USCIS states
that this change increased by approximately 16% of the H-1B visa holders having
a master’s degree or higher, which is about 5,300 more workers with advanced
the 2021 cap season, however, the order by which USCIS selections H-1B visa
petitions will be wholly reversed. USCIS first will select 65,000 applicants
who hold master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. institution or a foreign
equivalent. The remaining 20,000 visas will be for applicants who hold only a
bachelor’s degree. This significant change in the H-1B visa selection process
will result in far more workers with advanced degrees than in the past.
USCIS also is debuting its new electronic registration system this season, which will open for submissions on March 1, 2020, and close on March 20, 2020. Employers will need to create the appropriate online accounts and pay a $10 registration fee for each intended worker. At this point in the registration process, employers will only provide basic information about their company and intended workers. USCIS then will choose randomly from the registrations that employers have submitted, and only those employers will be eligible to proceed with filing H-1B visa applications.
An experienced Texas immigration attorney can help you with all aspects of immigration law. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case and present your options. Finally, we can help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.
Texas Rule of Evidence 504 governs spousal
privilege or the circumstances under which prosecutors may compel spouses to
testify against one another in criminal proceedings, as well as confidential
communications between spouses. Whether a prosecutor can make your spouse
testify against you when you are facing criminal charges depends entirely on
A communication is confidential under Rule
504 if one spouse makes it privately to the other, and the spouse does not
intend to disclose the communication to anyone else. A spouse can refuse to
testify or disclose any confidential spousal communications, with the following
The communication was made to enable or
aid anyone in committing or planning to commit fraud
A party is accused of conduct which, if
proven, is a crime against the person of the spouse, any minor child, or any
A criminal proceeding involving charges of
In the context of a criminal prosecution of one spouse, then the state cannot call the accused person’s spouse as a witness and compel him or her to testify as to confidential communications between spouses. However, there is nothing to prevent a spouse from voluntarily testifying for the state in a criminal prosecution against his or her spouse. A spouse who has been accused of a crime cannot claim spousal privilege on behalf of his or her spouse and prevent him or her from testifying; it is up to the innocent spouse to decide whether to testify for the state or not. Even if an accused spouse objects to his or her spouse’s testimony, the spousal privilege does not prevent the innocent spouse from testifying. Likewise, if a spouse testifies for the defense in a criminal prosecution of his or her spouse, that spouse is subject to cross-examination by the prosecution.
At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you through your criminal proceedings. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout your case. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers know the best strategies for defending you and working toward your desired objective. Allow us to handle your criminal case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.
When you are arrested for driving or
boating while intoxicated (DWI or BWI), two separate proceedings can affect the
validity of your driver’s license. You can receive a license suspension or
revocation ordered by the court in your criminal proceedings. However, the
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) also has an Administrative License
Revocation (ALR) program that can impact your license in these situations, as
The ALR process begins when you are
arrested for DWI or BWI and you:
Refuse or fail to take a breath or blood
test to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
Take a breath or blood test showing that
your BAC is .08% or more when driving a non-commercial motor vehicle
Take a breath or blood test showing that
your BAC is .04% or more when operating a commercial motor vehicle
of these events will result in the administrative suspension or revocation of
your license. The ALR process is entirely unrelated to and unaffected by any
license suspensions or revocations that occur as a result of your criminal
you refuse a blood or breath test during a DWI arrest, the officer
automatically will take your license and issue you a temporary license and
notice of suspension. At that point, you only have 15 days to request an administrative
hearing before DPS to contest the license suspension. If you fail to request a
hearing within the required 15-day period, your suspension will go into effect
on the 40th day after you received the suspension notice, which
usually is 40 days after the date of your arrest.
process is similar if you submit to a blood test, and the results show a BAC
over the legal limit applicable to your case. The only difference is that you
don’t receive a notice of suspension immediately from the police officer.
Instead, once the requesting law enforcement agency receives the results, they
will mail you a notice of suspension and a temporary license. You then have 15
days from the date that you are served with the suspension notice to request an
It can take up to 120 days for an administrative hearing to occur. You will go before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who will hear evidence from both parties and make a final determination about the suspension or revocation of your license. If DPS proves its case, your license will be suspended, but if DPS is unable to prove its case, your license will not be suspended. You will receive a written decision from the ALJ that you can further appeal if you choose.
Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to assisting individuals in resolving their criminal charges. We know that criminal proceedings can be intimidating and overwhelming for those who are facing potential penalties for criminal charges. We will work with you to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled criminal defense attorneys today.
to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Attorney General William Barr
has certified two more Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decisions that will
make it much harder for some immigrants to fight deportation. Former Attorney
General Jeff Sessions used the same tactic to issue decisions in cases that
serve as binding authority to the BIA and immigration court judges. Due to the
unique nature of the immigration court system, since it falls under the
Department of Justice, which belongs to the executive branch, the U.S. Attorney
General has the right to certify BIA decisions or primarily serve as the top
immigration court judge.
the first case, entitled Matter of Castillo-Perez, Barr ruled that if
immigrants have two or more DUI convictions, they may not qualify for the “good
moral character” that is required for the immigrants seeking relief in
immigration court in some scenarios. For instance, immigrants in deportation
proceedings who are trying to cancel their deportation orders must prove that
they have had “good moral character” for a specific number of years
to be eligible for this form of relief. Good moral character also is a
necessary standard for immigrants to meet when applying for citizenship.
Furthermore, the ruling makes no distinction between misdemeanor and felony DUI
convictions, nor does it distinguish between DUI convictions 20 years ago and
those that occurred much more recently. Since DUI is one of the most crimes for
which immigrants face arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), this
ruling has the potential to impact thousands of immigrants. Barr also notes in
his decision that rehabilitation efforts are commendable but do not counteract
the DUI convictions in determining good moral character.
second decision, which concerned cases entitled Matter of Thomas and Matter
of Thompson, restricts the ability of state courts to shorten or adjust old
low-level criminal sentences to assist individuals during their deportation
proceedings. Generally, a criminal conviction can trigger deportation if it
carries the potential for a sentence of one year or longer. Some states have
enacted laws to avoid triggering deportation proceedings for low-level criminal
offenses. Other states have procedures by which individuals can retroactively
shorten the sentences for old convictions.
Historically, immigration judges routinely took these sentence modifications into account and accepted them in considering deportation cases. Barr’s recent ruling, however, states that these modifications do not count for immigration court proceedings unless the change occurred due to an error. If a sentence is modified or adjusted solely to avoid deportation, then the immigration judges may not accept the sentence as modified. Instead, immigration judges must consider the original conviction or sentence that the immigrant received.
Our goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop a strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the immigration matter that you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge, and reputation that you want and need to advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.
Texas law, defendants in criminal cases have the right to make a statement in
the courtroom before the judge issues their sentences, which is referred to as
an allocution. Texas CCP § 42.07 instructs judges to ask defendants if they
have anything to say as to why they should not receive a specific sentence from
the court. This procedural requirement, or opportunity for an allocution,
occurs following a criminal trial or after the parties have submitted a plea
bargain to the court for approval.
most cases, defendants exercise their right to remain silent and do not make a
statement to the court. Especially when defendants have signed plea agreements,
and they know what sentence they will receive from the court, defendants have
no reason or need to speak. The most common circumstance in which defendants
engage in an allocution is when the court is going to sentence them, and there
has been no plea agreement. As a result, they do not know what sentence they
will receive for the crime, so they may want to take one last chance to speak
before they receive their sentences.
judges forget or fail to ask if the defendants want to speak before sentencing,
defendants (or their defense lawyers) must object in open court. Otherwise,
defendants will waive their rights to allocution.
Texas CCP § 42.03 also gives crime victims the right to allocution in some situations. In contrast to a defendant’s right to allocution, a crime victim only has the right to address a defendant after the judge has announced the defendant’s sentence for the crime. Victims of crimes in these circumstances are free to express their views about the crime and the defendant’s actions. The defendants have no right to respond to crime victim allocutions. However, victim allocutions will not have an impact on the sentence that the defendants receive, because victims do not speak until the defendants already have received their sentences.
If you or a family member is facing any criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.
According to a recent CNN
article, the U.S. halted the refugee resettlement program in October 2019
altogether. The move left hundreds of refugees stranded and in limbo after the
U.S. canceled their incoming flights. This lapse in the resettlement program extended
through November 5, 2019. Soon after that date, about 600 refugees of FFY 2020
entered the country as the Trump Administration resumed program operations.
In conjunction with this
delay, the Trump Administration issued executive orders that both drastically
reduced the refugee resettlement cap to 18,000 for FFY 2020 and allowed states
and cities to begin objecting to refugees being resettled in their communities
by requiring their written permission before resettlement occurs. In the
history of the 40-year program, states and cities have never been able to
refuse the resettlement of refugees.
In response to the
executive orders, three refugee resettlement agencies now have filed suit
against the Trump Administration. These agencies content that the order will
irreparably harm the program, which already has experienced an 80% drop in
refugee admissions since the President took office.
The impact to this program is of particular interest to the state of Texas, which has more refugee resettlements than in any other state. Active resettlement programs in major Texas cities such as Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio have well-organized procedures in place to welcome new refugees and large immigrant populations. Nonetheless, the state government has often opposed resettlement efforts, especially under the leadership of Governor Greg Abbott, who frequently spars with local government authorities over programs that he views as overly “socialistic.” Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration matter.
The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.
An occupational driver’s license (ODL)
allows eligible individuals to legally drive even after their licenses have
been suspended or revoked. This special restricted license will enable you to
drive a personal vehicle back and forth to work and school, as well as to run
essential errands, such as getting medical attention and groceries.
You must get a court order finding that
you are eligible for an ODL and telling the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
to allow you to get an ODL. However, not everyone qualifies for an ODL. For
instance, you are ineligible for an ODL if you:
Lost your license due to physical or
Lost your license due to a failure to pay
Need your license to drive a commercial
Are a threat to public safety if permitted
Do not have an essential household need
that requires you to drive
Received two ODLs in the past ten years
following a conviction that affected your license
Another situation that might make you
ineligible for an ODL is if you have a hard suspension waiting period because
of a previous DWI arrest or conviction. For example, if your license was
suspended because you refused to take a breath test when arrested for DWI and
you had a license suspension due to an alcohol or drug-related arrest within
the previous five years, you are subject to a 90-day hard suspension. This
means that you cannot get an ODL during those 90 days.
Once the judge orders that you are eligible for an ODL, you can use a certified copy of the court order as proof of your ODL for up to 45 days after the effective date of the order. You typically will receive your official ODL from DPS during that timeframe. If you don’t receive it within those 45 days, however, you cannot drive until you receive it or go back to court to get the deadline extended.
When you are facing any criminal charges in the state of Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.
the end of federal fiscal year 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) had
detained more than 76,000
unaccompanied minors at the U.S.-Mexico border, which is a 52%
increase over the number held in FFY 2018. About 10,400 of those children came
from migrant, but the most significant percentage came from the Central
American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The increase in
total family units detained also increased exponentially from FFY 2018 to FFY
2019. CBP detained over 473,000 families at the border, as opposed to about
107,000 in FFY 2018, which represents a 342% increase.
Trump Administration has unsuccessfully fought to deter unaccompanied minors
from entering the U.S. by separating families at the border and making it more
difficult for minors to apply for asylum. Mexico has experienced similar
increases in the number of unaccompanied children attempting to enter that
country. When Mexico detains children, however, they immediately go into the
national child protection system to find them housing and care.
experts say that it is the vast increases in detention rates for families and
unaccompanied minors that have clogged up an already overburdened immigration
court system. The current system of detention and court proceedings is not
designed to handle families and children, which makes the current surges in
migrant families at the border unsustainable.
While most migrant families and children now are returned to Mexico to await their chance to apply for asylum, conditions have worsened and grown more dangerous at the border. Mexico does not have the shelters, food, or other resources to handle the massive influx of families, who often must wait for months at the border before being able to apply for asylum. Crime also has increased in this area of the country, along with injuries and deaths to children and families.
The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your situation. We intend to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.
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The information provided on the Peek & Toland website should not be relied on as accurate or correct as laws in specific jurisdictions change frequently. Please consult an attorney in your jurisdiction for specific question about the law in your area.