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02/01/2021 – Firm News

Firm News Vol. 21 Issue 2

The last 10 days has been a whirlwind. With its first round of major actions on immigration, the Biden administration has demonstrated its intention to fulfill its campaign pledges to turn the page on many immigration-unfriendly policies that were put in place over the past four years. There is much for all of us to be excited about after President Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021.

If you have any law-related questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can also join our Free PPID Law Forum and interact in a live Q&A with our leading attorneys in U.S immigration law, personal injury, real estate & commercial law, employment law and more!  Register now to save your spot.

On this article, you will find all the updates about:

  1. USCIS and Immigration Updates
  2. The Current Status of New York State Courts Updates
  3. Personal Injury Updates


 1. USCIS and Immigration Updates

Our Immigration Department understands how important it is for you to get essential information about immigration and other legal news quickly during these turbulent times. The following is a list of the latest developments in immigration that we think you should be aware of.

Click here to see the Visa Bulletins

1.  Biden Plans To Reverse Trump’s Proclamations:

According to one of President Biden’s top advisers, President Biden plans to issue this week an executive order that “would rescind the Trump proclamations that precluded the admission of immigrants and non-immigrants either deemed to be a financial burden on our health care system or deemed to present a risk to U.S. labor markets.”

2. Biden Immigration Day:

President Biden is expected to issue multiple executive orders on Immigration Day, which will likely be next Tuesday. The executive orders will address asylum at the U.S.-Mexico Border, refugee resettlement and the reunification of migrant families.

3. USCIS Extends Flexibility for Responding to Certain Agency Requests:

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS is extending the flexibilities originally announced on March 30, 2020. This flexibility applies to requests for evidence, notices, or decisions issued between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, inclusive. USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking any action.

4.  Quick Summary of President Biden’s Executive Orders:

a.    The Muslim and African Ban has ended.

b.    Draconian Interior Enforcement Priorities are Being Reversed.

c.     Immigrants will Now Be Included in the U.S. Census

d.    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been Protected and Fortified.

e.    Extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians for 18 months

f.     Halting Border Wall Construction

g.    Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities

h.  Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting COVID-19

5.  Federal Judge Blocks Biden’s 100-Day Deportations Moratorium:

A federal judge in Texas granted the request for a two-week temporary restraining order against the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to halt deportations for most immigrants for 100 days. The court order was the first legal setback to President Biden’s immigration agenda. The order applies nationwide.

6.  Biden Administration Proposes 8-Year Pathway to Citizenship:

President Joe Biden introduced a sweeping immigration bill, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status, a massive reversal from the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies. While this bill will face a challenging road to becoming actual law, our law firm supports this administration’s efforts and we will continue guiding our clients through the citizenship process until then – and beyond.

7.  Biden’s Travel Ban to Combat COVID-19:

President Biden will reimpose a ban on many non-U.S. citizens attempting to enter the country to limit the spread of COVID-19 and contain new variants of the disease. The ban would prohibit travelers from Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders (called the Schengen Area).

8. Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 Required for All International Passengers Before Flying to the U.S. :

All travelers flying to the United States from a foreign country are required to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to present the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight.

9. Federal Court Halts Trump Rule That Would Have Blocked Access To Asylum Process:

A federal court judge has temporarily blocked a Trump rule that would create insurmountable obstacles for people applying for asylum in the United States. The rule was one of a series of new regulations the Trump administration published during its final weeks in office as a culmination to its four-year campaign to dismantle the U.S. immigration system. The rule was scheduled to take effect on January 15, 2021.

10. Temporary Travel Restrictions to Land Border and Ferries Between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico:

Travel restrictions between the USA, Canada, and Mexico for non-essential travel at land and ferry crossings are extended until February 21, 2021.

11. Trump Issues Memorandum on Deferred Enforced Departure for Certain Venezuelans:

The memorandum directed the DHS and DOS Secretaries to take action to defer, with certain exceptions, for 18 months the removal of any Venezuelan national, or individual without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela, who is present in the United States as of January 20, 2021.

12. Department of Labor Publishes Regulation to Increase Prevailing Wages:

On Thursday, January 14, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a regulation that will significantly increase prevailing wage requirements effective July 2021. It applies to H-1B1 and E-3 visas, PERM Labor Certifications, and most H-1B visas. Here are the following key points regarding the rule:

a. The rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, on March 15, 2021

b. There are no immediate changes to the DOL wage levels, as the increased wage levels will be phased in between July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2024.

c. The ultimate implementation of the rule will likely be delayed by the Biden administration, as the incoming administration has promised to pause any “Midnight Regulations” implemented by the outgoing Trump administration.

13.  DHS Extends Temporary Protected Status for Syria:

The United States secretary of homeland security announced an 18-month extension and re-designation of Syria’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation. This action enables over 6,700 eligible Syrian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Syria) to retain their TPS through September 2022 and allows approximately 1,800 additional individuals to file initial applications to obtain such status.

14.  NY Immigration Courts Update:

Certain immigration courts have resumed non-detained hearings. Hearings in non-detained cases at courts without an announced date, including New York City courts,  are postponed through February 19, 2021.  For a list of other jurisdictions, please click here.


2. Current Status of New York State Courts

State Courts

Pursuant to an announcement on January 25th by Chief Judge DiFiore, despite these unprecedented times the Courts have managed to hold impressive numbers of remote conferences, motions, ADR, virtual hearings, arguments, and trials. Judge DiFiore remarked, “These numbers are a testament to the resolve and adaptability of our judges, staff, and the lawyers who practice in our courts, and their commitment to new and effective ways of delivering justice and meeting the demand for our services during these extraordinary times”.

We are in week two of a new initiative to tackle the backlog of unindicted felony complaints awaiting grand jury presentation in New York City. Over the two-week period, “Unindicted Felony Parts” remotely heard 1830 cases and achieved dispositions in 36% of the matters heard.

This week is the second and final week of the NYSBA’s virtual annual meeting for 2021 where many of our Judges and court attorneys have been participating in informative events and programs.


First Department

Pursuant to an update dated December 28, 2020, all oral arguments for the winter terms – and until further notice – will be held remotely via Microsoft Teams. Oral arguments are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 2pm. If necessary, arguments will also be held at 10am on Friday mornings. Once a matter is calendared, there will be no adjournments. If a party cannot appear for oral argument as scheduled on the calendar, the argument will be taken on submission as to that party.

Requests for oral argument shall be made no later than 1 week prior to the calendar date by emailing the Court at [email protected], with an e-mailed copy to opposing counsel or self-represented litigant. A completed Notice of Appearance with the contact information, including e-mail address, of the attorney who will appear remotely, shall be attached to the request. As usual, oral arguments will be live-streamed on the Court’s website.

Second Department

Until further notice, all arguments are remote via Microsoft Teams or by submission. In order to argue remotely, counsel or self-represented litigants must notify the Court as to the name and e-mail address of the individual who will be presenting remote argument by e-mail to [email protected], on which all counsel and self-represented litigants are copied, no later than three business days prior to the date on which the matter is calendared. Failure to timely and properly notify the Court will result in the matter being marked submitted on behalf of that counsel or self-represented litigant.

Counsel or self-represented litigants may ask the Court for permission to argue in person. Such a request must be made by an e-mail to [email protected], on which all counsel and self-represented litigants are copied, no later than three business days prior to the date of argument, and must be supported by the reasons why, in the applicant’s view, oral argument via Microsoft Teams cannot be accomplished. Such requests will be decided in the discretion of the panel hearing the appeal.

Third Department

The January 2021 Term of Court concluded on January 15th.
The February 2021 Term of Court will run from 2/5-2/11.

Currently, all matters in the 3rd Department are subject to mandatory e-filing except for: appeals in Criminal cases; appeals in Workers’ Compensation cases; appeals in Unemployment Insurance cases; CPLR Article 78 proceedings that have been transferred to the Appellate Division pursuant to CPLR 7804(g); original proceedings commenced in the Third Department; and any appeal in which the appellant is exempt from e-filing pursuant to 22 NYCRR 1245.4(a).

As of November 2, 2020, mandatory E-filing is now required in the following types of matters, unless the appellant is exempt from e-filing: all criminal matters perfected on or after November 20, 2020; and all CPLR Article 78 proceedings that have been transferred to the Appellate Division pursuant to CPLR 7804(g) and have been perfected on or after November 2, 2020.

As of November 2, 2020, Rule 850.4(a) of the Rules of Practice of the Third Department requires digital copies of all papers related to motions and applications, in addition to hard copies. These rules apply to all matters, regardless of whether the matter is subject to mandatory e-filing. For all non-e-filed matters, digital copies shall be submitted through the Court’s Digital Submission Portal.

Fourth Department

The Court’s January Term concluded on January 22nd.
The February-March Term will be held remotely beginning on 2/22 and ending on 3/5.
The Court is also reducing in-office staffing in an effort to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
The specific Covid-19 protocols for in-person arguments can be found on the Court’s website.


3. Personal Injury Update


Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to “pause” the state’s Statutes of Limitation is no longer in effect.  This means that if you were in an accident exactly three years ago, you may have additional time to file your case due to the pandemic. Be cautioned, it is still under debate whether additional time was added.  There are many people “testing” this to see what will be permitted now that the pause has been lifted.

The Case Handler Highlight: $1,500,000.00 Settlement


Ian was working on a construction site as a carpenter when he got injured. The day of the accident, and due to being behind schedule, Ian’s foreman instructed half of the workers to start work on the floors above the area where Ian was working. Just after lunch, Ian’s co-worker’s sledgehammer broke, causing the 8-pound head to fall 10 feet, striking Ian in the neck and left shoulder. As a result, Ian was knocked off the ladder sustaining further injuries.



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Our Manhattan Office and Peekskill Office have officially reopened on Monday, July 6, 2020. We are available to meet with you in-person, on the phone, or via video conference, using Zoom or Skype. All in-person meetings must be scheduled in advance and must follow our office policies and procedures in wake of COVID-19. Your safety and the safety of our staff remains our top priority. Thank you for your patience.

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