Fremont Immigration And Personal Injury Law Blog

Most Americans don't trust self-driving cars

US traffic fatalities have topped 40,000 for the last three years in a row. While this is alarming, a new study finds that the vast majority of people in California and across the country aren't ready to turn to autonomous vehicles for help. In fact, more Americans are afraid of self-driving vehicles than ever before.

AAA surveyed Americans about their feelings on self-driving cars and found that 71 percent would be afraid to ride in an autonomous vehicle. In 2017, only 63 percent of Americans said they would avoid self-driving cars. According to AAA, the reason for the increase in fear is that autonomous cars have been involved in several deadly accidents in recent years. For example, in March 2018, an autonomous Uber car hit and killed a woman as she crossed a dark street in Arizona. In the same month, a Tesla driver was killed in Mountain View when he placed his car in "autopilot" mode and crashed.

The changes in H-1B and H-4 applications

Whenever an American employer in California wants to hire a foreign worker with a higher education degree, they must file for an H-1B visa application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Accordingly, USCIS will discern whether the potential employee meets certain credentials before putting them in a lottery. Only 65,000 H-1B visas in total are issued in this lottery. Additionally, USCIS issues an extra 20,000 visas for employees with a U.S. master's degree. The spouses and children of H-1B workers can also come to the U.S. if they apply for H-4 status.

Employers wanting to file for an H-1B visa can start from April 1 each year, whereas USCIS starts putting the names in the lottery pool by October 1. The lottery itself happens during early April, which is why the month of March is considered the H-1B cap season.

Employers hoping for an H-1B visa should act quickly

Employers in California and around the country often turn to the H-1B visa program when they need workers who possess specialized skills and Americans with the required qualifications cannot be found. Each year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issues 65,000 H-1B visas to individuals possessing a bachelor's degree or higher and specialized knowledge or skills and a further 20,000 visas to individuals who have graduated from a U.S. university with an advanced degree. However, the agency generally stops accepting petitions just days after the H-1B filing season begins.

The H-1B filing season for 2020 begins on April 1, and employers who hope to secure one of the coveted visas would be wise to make sure that their paperwork is submitted promptly. In 2018, USCIS ended the filing season on April 6 after receiving in excess of 94,000 petitions for the available 85,000 visas.

GHSA reports on lack of headway in speeding reduction

There has been a lack of progress in efforts to reduce speeding, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The GHSA released a report in mid-January 2019 entitled, "Speeding Away from Zero: Rethinking a Forgotten Traffic Safety Challenge," and it recommends various ways to address speeding that can apply to the situation in California, as elsewhere.

Speeding contributes to nearly one third of automobile-related fatalities, yet many drivers consider it culturally acceptable. The report claims that better education and stricter enforcement of state and federal speeding policies can help create a more safety-minded culture. The GHSA itself will try to create a speeding reduction program with a wide range of stakeholders. The GHSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will hold a forum with them.

Immigration policies: 2019 and its impact on immigration

Immigration has been a hot topic over the course of the Trump presidency. Immigrants have often been demonized, talked about as if they're always dangerous or bad for America. The reality could not be further from the truth, but despite that, the political climate is raging when it comes to immigration policies.

On one hand, the Trump administration is looking to limit immigration, reduce the chances for people to cross into America illegally and to limit opportunities of H-1B holders and their employers. In all cases, the idea is that immigration is a threat to the American people who need work, providing jobs to those who aren't from the United States.

Trump tweets raise concern among immigrants

Many people in California involved with the immigration system may worry every time a new tweet from President Donald Trump appears on his Twitter account. The president has announced significant policy plans regarding changes to immigration law through this decidedly unofficial channel, so the coming repercussions might be serious. On Jan. 11, 2019, another Trump tweet came as a surprise, as he announced that "changes are coming soon" for people with H-1B professional work visas. Since Trump took office, many visa holders have experienced issues, including limited approval times and lengthy delays.

The tweet said that the unspecified changes would enhance "simplicity and certainty," providing a path to citizenship. However, H-1B visa holders are already eligible to seek to adjust their status to obtain a green card and, later, citizenship. No regulations have been put forward by the Department of Homeland Security that would indicate a change to existing law. Some experts say that Trump may be referring to other changes that would not affect eligibility for citizenship. For example, there are proposed changes that would affect the order of the H-1B visa lottery. Others noted that the business community is deeply concerned about delays and other restrictions on H-1B visas. Thus, they said Trump may simply be looking to shore up his popularity among corporate supporters frustrated with immigration policy.

Administration policy could put young immigrants at risk

Immigrant youth in California and across the country are facing serious concerns when attempting to regularize their statuses. Since 1990, the U.S. government has allowed immigrant youth who were abused or abandoned by their parents to seek a green card with the assistance of a court-appointed guardian, allowing them to stay in the country. Under the law, people seeking to access the protections provided by this program must apply before their 21st birthday. However, the Trump administration has begun to claim that some applicants are too old to access the program after the age of 18.

Applicants in New Jersey have faced additional questioning while more young immigrants in New York, California and Texas have been denied green cards when applying under the program. Immigration advocacy organizations are fighting back, filing legal challenges in both California and New York and saying that hundreds of young people could be at risk as a result. Attorneys involved in the case said that Trump administration policy is negatively affecting vulnerable young people. Over 50,000 young people have obtained green cards by qualifying for this special status since 2010.

Working in tech can help your visa application

If you are a Chinese national wanting to relocate to the state of California, you will become intimately involved in the process of immigration. If you also work in technology, you will be pleased to know that visa policies are being altered in order to attract top Chinese talent.

This alteration of policies means that the length of visas will be changed, and the process simplified for top talent working in the technology industries. Currently, the US H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that helps qualified employees work in the United States. The visa is particularly suited to workers who have specialist knowledge in certain fields.

DHS announces new asylum rules for Northern Traingle immigrants

California residents have likely been paying close attention to events taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border. Several thousand migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua have gathered in Tijuana and say that they plan to apply for asylum in the United States, but their attempts to cross the border illegally have largely been thwarted and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Dec. 20 that new rules had been put into place to deter fraudulent asylum claims.

During a tense House Judiciary Committee hearing, Nielsen said that asylum seekers from what are known as the Northern Triangle countries will now have to wait in Mexico while their claims are being evaluated. She told lawmakers that the previous policy of allowing asylum seekers to remain in the United States while their cases were pending resulted in a flood of bogus asylum claims from immigrants who never showed up to their immigration hearings.

ZF on the benefits of external airbags

California residents may have heard that auto manufacturers are developing external airbags. One major developer, the ZF Group, claims that external airbags can reduce the severity of accident injuries by 40 percent. The model it is developing comes in at around 13 pounds and is approximately 80 inches long, 21 inches high and 15 inches wide. Its inflation time is an impressive 15 milliseconds, comparable to that of steering wheel airbags.

The airbag's purpose is to deploy immediately before a side collision so that it can act as an added crumple zone and absorb some of the impact. With recent advances in ultrasonics, ZF says that it can develop sensors that will recognize what's coming toward them and react accordingly. The new tech will also prevent accidents where the airbags deploy at unnecessary times.

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