Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Big Win in Workers Compensation Claim for Undocumented Worker

I recently received a Favorable Decision in a claim where the insurance carrier was attempting to avoid paying benefits because they had "found out" that my client (who had worked there 10 years) was an undocumented immigrant.  First of all, I refuse to call decent, hardworking people "illegal aliens".  If that offends you, find another workers compensation lawyer.  But I digress.  The carrier argued that my client's inability to work was not a result of his industrial injury, but rather because of his legal status, and that, if he were legal, they would have work available for him, resulting in no lost wages and no compensation. 

The judge, thankfully, did not agree with this argument.  While he found that my client did have a minimal earning capacity, his industrial injury did contribute to his loss of earnings irrespective of his immigration status.  He awarded compensation back to the date that the company "found out" he was undocumented and fired him.  (I was reminded in the scene in the movie Casablanca where the governor is "shocked, shocked to find out that there is gambling in Casablanca!) 

I don't care what the legal status of an injured worker is.  If he or she sustains an injury on the job and is unable to work and provide for their family, we will fight very aggressively for his or her benefits.  This is equally true in the case of documented workers where the Employer says that they were fired "for cause" and therefore aren't entitled to benefits. 

Chad T. Snow is a workers compensation attorney in Phoenix and Tucson Arizona.  He can be reached at (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000 or on his website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Update on HB2617

Word on the street is that House Bill 2617, which would have allowed full and final settlement of Arizona workers comp claims, is essentially dead on arrival.  A wide array of interests seem to have lined up against the bill, including the Industrial Commission - the state agency who oversees administration of on the job injury claims.  Other opponents included many of the unions, trial lawyers, and the Arizona Medical Association. 

While many of us who represent injured workers would have benefitted greatly from the much larger settlements that we could obtain, most of us were opposed to the bill.  I personally feel that it is bad public policy for two reasons:  (1) it places the burden of paying future medical expenses on taxpayers, instead of keeping it with the insurance carrier who has profited from the premiums paid; and (2) it takes advantage of injured workers at a time in their life where they may be very vulnerable and succeptible to making bad financial decisions. 

Kudos to fellow work comp attorneys Daryl Engle, Steve Weiss, and the others who lobbied hard against the bill. 

Chad T. Snow is an attorney who practices exclusively in the area of Arizona Workers Compensation.  He has offices in Phoenix and Tucson and can be reached at the Snow, Carpio, and Weekley website or at (520) 647-9000 or (602) 532-0700. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What I Learned About Immigration Law - Some Misconceptions

I recently tried to help a friend with some immigration issues and learned quite a bit about our country's immigration problems. 


First, let me tell you about an experience I had on an airport shuttle a couple of years ago in Salt Lake City.  I struck up a conversation with a very nice young man from India.  Upon finding out that I was an attorney, he asked if I knew anything about immigration.  I told him that, unfortunately, I did not.  He then explained that he had recently graduated from Harvard University Medical School with a degree in pharmaceutical engineering but had been unable to secure a visa or work permit to remain legally in the United States.  I remember thinking how ridiculous that was - that our country would deny residency to someone who could so clearly contribute to our society.  I personally think that we should staple a green card to every diploma handed out to a foreign student at any university.  But I digress....


My friend I mentioned above has lived in the United States since 1995.  Like most illegal immigrants, she entered legally and overstayed her visa.  (So much for building the danged fence)  She has never had any run-ins with the law and has worked the entire time.  She has assimilated herself completely into American society.  In 1997, she applied for legal residency through a sister who is a U.S. citizen.  She has done everything the United States has asked her to do to immigrate legally - and yet she still waits.  I think of her when I hear anti-immigrant people say things like "we don't have a problem with immigrants as long as they do it the right way."  So my friend has waited almost 15 years of "trying to do it the right way" and still no results.  This is a bright, educated, law abiding, hard working person. 


I also found out that for a U.S. citizen to petition for a parent to gain legal residence, the petitioning citizen-child must be over the age of 21.  U.S. citizens who are under the age of 21 cannot petition for their parents under any circumstances.  This kind of dispells the myth of what nativists like to call "anchor babies".  If an illegal alien has a baby today that is granted birthright citizenship, that baby will not even be able to apply for their parents for 21 years - and then will face a process of about 10 years until it is approved.  So that illegal alien parent might gain legal residence through their "anchor baby" in 31 years...  Now that's foresight!!!


A U.S. citizen can apply for residency for their unmarried children under the age of 21.  However, if the child is from Mexico, the waiting period for legal residency is 8 years, 13 years if they're from the Phillipines.  If the child is over the age of 21, the waiting period for Mexican citizens is 12 years.  Many people think that a U.S. citizen can apply for residency for their non-citizen spouse and that it is given automatically.  Not so.  The wait for citizens of most countries is over 5 years.  For citizens of Mexico, it's over 7 1/2 years.  I've had marriages that lasted less than the waiting period!!!  If a U.S. citizen applies for residency for a brother or sister, the wait for Filipinos is over 20 years, 12 years for most other countries. 

Pardon the soapbox, but I think this information shows how broken our immigration system is.  People who are anti-immigrant probably have no idea how difficult it is to come to the U.S. legally.  The United States should develop an immigration system that welcomes healthy, educated, law abiding peoples from around the world to contribute to the growth of our country. We should also encourage the unification of families. 

Chad T. Snow is an attorney who handles workers compensation matters in Arizona.  He has offices in Phoenix and Tucson and can be reached at the Snow, Carpio, and Weekley website or at (602) 532-0700, or (520) 647-9000.