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Revving Up the Deportation Machinery: Enforcement Under Trump and the Pushback
The Trump administration has significantly revved up the immigration enforcement machinery in the U.S. interior, with arrests and deportations up about 40 percent in its first eight months over a year earlier. Yet pushback from California and cities such as Chicago, New York, Boston and Seattle makes it quite unlikely that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be able
BY THE MIGRATION POLICY INSTITUTE
centerpiece of Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency was a promise to strictly enforce the nation’s immigration laws, both at the border and within the country. Changes began within days of the inauguration and are reshaping the system by which removable noncitizens are arrested, detained, and deported—and could do so more dramatically in the years ahead.
continued on page 12
Family Matters: Becoming a Father... see page 7
Local Chamber offers Day of Opportunities: The American Dream Takes Centerstage
rooklyn, NY: The New American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), established in 2005, is having its Annual International & Multicultural Business, Homebuyers and Health Expo on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Sheraton Brooklyn New York Hotel at 228 Duffield Street, Downtown Brooklyn. All entrepreneurs, decisionmakers, professionals, home and health representatives and executives from the tri-state community are invited to
Jamaica’s Former PM Leads Ant-Scam Town Hall ...see page 6
this one-day, business-to-business, empowering and networking event. This Expo is produced in partnership with the African-American International Chamber of Commerce (AAICC) and the Hispanic-American International Chamber of Commerce (HAICC). The day starts off at 8:30am with a Welcome VIP Breakfast where attendees can hear from, meet and mingle with top business experts. There is a Networking Luncheon as well.
continued on page 8
Women Are Losing Their Hair ... see page 15
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t, Suite 701,
Tish James Seeks to Make History...see page 8
e or two. for a minut lose your eyes you were assaulted Imagine that r and feel that your by your partne l reaction would the The natura the help of life is at risk. n, this 911, to seek rant wome be to call many immig of the fear For . se police l reaction becau is not a natura ed. York of being deport an article in the New to According had she n said Times: r-old woma One 38-yea
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ill ? Who W My Child Where Is of My Child? re Ca ke Ta
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We're es, give al home our tea real ng list happy your needs. ings tha to share m a It's tim t per some Call fec us at e to 888-67 tly suit choic e tha make a car 0-6791 t you . eer Se
An Open Letter to the Newlyweds ...see page 14
5 Wa y Snag s Mille Their nnial Bu Drea m H yers Can ome
REA L ES AGEN TATE TS WA APP NTED: LY N OW !
A Caribbean Girl In America ...see page 15
Multicultural Business, Home Buyers & Health Expo info@ nd your will LOVE res equit ysmar ume to . trealt y.com
Thursday, June 21, 2018 from 8:30am-5:00pm
For exhibiting and sponsorship information, please call 718-722-9217 or visit www.businessexponyc.com
Location: Sheraton Brooklyn 228 Duffield Street Downtown Brooklyn
FREE to attend!
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SUCCESS STARTS HERE!
Anguilla 845 Third Avenue New York, N.Y. 10022 Tel: 212-745-0200
Antigua & Barbuda 305 East 47th Street, Suite 6A New York, N.Y. 10020 Tel: 212-541-4117
The Bahamas 231 East 46th Street New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-421-6420
Barbados 820 Second Avenue, 5th Floor New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-551-4325
Belize 675 Third Avenue, Suite 1911 New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-593-0999
Dominica 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400H New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-949-0853
Dominican Republic 1500 Broadway, Suite 410 New York, N.Y. 10036 Tel: 212-599-8478
Grenada 685 Third Avenue, Suite 1101 New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-599-0301
Guyana 308 West 38th Street New York, N.Y. 10018 Tel: 212-947-5119
Haiti 815 Second Avenue,6th Floor New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-697-9767
Jamaica 767 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-935-9000
Martinique 444 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor New York, N.Y. 10022 Tel: 212-838-6887
Montserrat 845 Third Avenue New York, N.Y. 10022 Tel: 212-745-0200
Panama 1212 Avenue of the Americas, 20th Floor New York, N.Y. 10036 Tel: 212-840-2450
St. Kitts & Nevis 414 East 75th Street, 5th Floor New York, N.Y. 10021 Tel: 212-535-5521
St. Lucia 800 Second Avenue, 9th Floor New York, N.Y. 10007 Tel: 212-697-9360 St. Maarten 675 Third Avenue, Suite 1807 New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 800-786-2278
St. Vincent & The Grenadines 801 Second Avenue, 21st Floor New York, N.Y. 10017 Tel: 212-687-4981 Trinidad & Tobago 125 Maiden Lane, 4th Floor New York, N.Y. 10038 Tel: 212-682-7272
For more Consulate information go to www.cawnyc.com/directory
IMF to Help Barbados in Economic Recovery
RIDGETOWN, Barbados: An emergency plan has been created to fix Barbados’ ailing economy, and it includes getting assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and suspending payments to external creditors as it restructures government debt. And while the strategy announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley has received the full backing of the Social Partnership, a regional credit ratings agency is not as impressed by the debt payment move and has given the country its first downgrade under the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration. Following a meeting with the Social Partnership, Mottley announced a multi-
Prime Minister Mottley and her team
pronged plan to address critically-low levels of international reserves, unsustainably high levels of public indebtedness, poor growth and major failings in public infrastructure and social safety
nets. And part of the plan involves getting balance of payments support from the IMF. She said she had already given the Washington-based institution notice, having spoken with its managing director Christine Lagarde, and “briefed her on the present state of the public finances of Barbados; the current debt and reserve positions, and assured her that we are committed to taking decisive action to rebuild Barbados”. Mottley said. “The Government has invited a mission from the IMF to visit Bridgetown shortly. I am advised by the Governor of the Central Bank that that mission shall be here given the urgency that we have expressed.”l
Antigua and Barbuda Is First Caribbean Country to Ratify Convention against Racism and Intolerance
ASHINGTON, DC: Antigua and Barbuda is now the first Caribbean country, and the third nation, in the Western Hemisphere to ratify the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance. The Instrument of Ratification, signed by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, was presented by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Sir Ronald Sanders, to Secretary-General Luis Almagro at a ceremony at the OAS headquarters in Washington, DC. In presenting the Instrument of Ratification for deposit, Ambassador Sanders observed that “the Gaston Browne administration is in the forefront of efforts to end discrimination based on race, racial discrimination and intolerance.” He recalled the Prime Minister’s recent
apology to the Rastafarian community and the historic occasion at the OAS marking it. Sir Ronald expressed appreciation to Joy-Dee Davis Lake of the Antigua and Barbuda delegation to the OAS who, he said, “did outstanding work in navigating the Convention through its many difficult stages before it was signed.. His sentiments were echoed by Secretary-General Almagro who noted
Antigua and Barbuda’s pioneering role and the importance of the Convention in specifying for the signatory countries the democratic meaning of the principles of equality under the law and nondiscrimination. “It is a matter of pride for Antigua and Barbuda that, small nation though we are, we have done groundbreaking work to advance a legally binding definition of racism, aggravated discrimination, and intolerance,” Sir Ronald said, noting that the Convention offers protection to all human beings from racism, racial discrimination, and related forms of intolerance in any sphere of public or private life. Sir Ronald urged all countries of the OAS “to join the convention and thereby enhance the rights of all people, particularly minorities and races that have suffered discrimination and oppression..l
Jamaica and United States Sign MoU to Combat Child Trafficking
he Governments of Jamaica and the United States recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership, which is aimed at combating the trafficking of children in Jamaica. As part of the agreement, the U.S. will provide Jamaica with funding valued at US$4.5 million for projects and other related activities over a period of four years. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Marcia Gilbert-Roberts said the objective of the partnership is to save Jamaican children and at-risk youth from being trafficked. “One of the most valuable assets for the future of any country is its young people—our children. We are
pleased, therefore, that Jamaica was invited by the Government of the United States to participate in this project,” she said. The official said that the MoU signing represents another important milestone in Jamaica’s relations with the United States. “Without partnerships of this kind, our journey towards achieving our targets under the sustainable development goals and Vision 2030 would certainly be more extensive and arduous,” she said. Chargé d’ Affaires, United States Embassy in Jamaica, Eric Khant, for his part, said his government was pleased to be partnering with Jamaica on this initiative, and stressed that human trafficking is a very serious offense which must be eliminated.
“Approximately 2.5 million people are victims of human trafficking every year and many of those victims are children. This type of modern-day slavery should not exist in our society….Because of that, we work closely with our international partners to fight this heinous crime, and we’re delighted that we can now partner with Jamaica under this Child Protection Compact Partnership,” he said. Khant said the four-year agreement will help to strengthen Jamaica’s ability to prosecute and punish traffickers, identify and provide comprehensive services to victims and prevent these crimes from happening. “Our hope is that together, we will be able to eliminate child trafficking all together in Jamaica and the wider region,” he added.l
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Op-Ed: Progressive for Who? Political Gentrification in Brooklyn
BY MIKE TUCKER
ince February 2017, a new “progressive” movement has been stampeding through Brooklyn politics like a Beyoncé concert tour. The socalled reformer groups know nothing about the context of our neighborhood, yet they think they have all the answers, and that they alone are the torchbearers of the Democratic Party. They state WE are progressive, but for some communities progressive has two meanings. Our progressive is a living wage. Their progressive is bike lanes. They come to our doors with fake compassion when they have not even spoken with our elected officials about our community. These groups created t-shirts with the black power fists, yet they do not know anything about the blood, sweat and tears the fist represents. They say RESIST since Trump was elected. Where was this movement when Obama needed their backs? Where were they when Bush declared war on Iraq? Where were they when Eric Garner was killed? Where were they when the City let NYCHA residents get poisoned by lead? I was born resisting because I had no other choice. These self-described progressives hate many things, in addition to Trump. They hate people who have actually spent time working with immigrant groups, they hate people who have spent time dealing with victims of gun violence. They hate parents who volunteer in their schools, unless these parents are part of their agenda. These so-called progressives protested at the very thought of black and brown students sharing classrooms with their kids on the Upper West Side. The parents acted like Trump supporters, not NYC liberals. In their attempts to be anti-Trump, they have turned into a tribal gang of tweeters who attacks anyone who does not agree with them. At the Independent Neighborhood Democrat (IND) candidate forum (Park Slope based political club), a club member threw countless f-bombs and insults at Senator Jesse Hamilton. I have seen dogs treated better. As you can see in the
video no one came to the Senator’s defense. The club may have pretended to be offended by the hate speech, but they voted to endorse it with no apologies. The last thing our community needs is outsiders telling us what is right or wrong. If you live in a low-income neighborhood you might never have met these self-proclaimed Progressives. We know that housing is the third most important issue, and the second most important issue, and THE most important issue. Yet, somehow these self-described activists are worried about some pipeline in Canada, and not what’s happening to our families. They will protest for #BlackLivesMatter, yet they will leave town when the Labor Day parade comes around. Don’t try to discuss Andrew Cuomo or Jesse Hamilton with these folks. It is matter of faith that Andrew Cuomo is purely evil, and that Jesse Hamilton voted with Republicans. Senator Hamilton never voted for a Republican leader, or against Democrat-supported issues. He is endorsed by Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins who is a strong and vibrant visionary who broke barriers. She will make history by becoming the first African-American woman Senate Majority Leader. The election in September is about making history not spreading hate. Never mind that the IDC was abolished. Not any level of rhetoric against these groups is legitimate because it is necessary for their fake #Resistance. Threaten a black man with violence? That’s okay, because he joined the IDC. Ignore decades of public service? None of that is important, because all that matters is that a black man left the plantation. The ironies abound. These selfdescribed anti-racist activists will jump on Cuomo for supposedly being a racist but support Zephyr Teachout over our sister, Tish James. Yet somehow they don’t get so angry when a Park Slope school uses black face (literally) in an image for a fundraiser. What’s the reward for using racist imagery in a fundraiser? They get showered with public money in Brad Lander’s Participatory Budgeting vote. But really the biggest irony is that they
want “Real Democrats.” Black voters are the only Real Democrats, we have been loyal to the Democratic Party for over 70 years. Black voters are ready for something more than a thank you and pat on the back, we want a party that understands us and values us. Black women get this. They are the backbone of the Democratic Party and the reason why Doug Jones won Alabama. But black women continue to be undervalued by the Democratic Party. Remember, the majority of white women voted for Donald Trump. Black families who live in low-income neighborhoods should be the first priority for the Democratic Party, Brownsville should not have an average reading score of 15%. A zip code should not decide your future. Luckily, we have neighbors who are the real progressives in Brooklyn. They see that these “activists” are all talk with hidden agendas. They have seen the movie Get Out and know the game. Let these interlopers have their Facebook groups and Twitter storms. I will spend my time actually protecting my community from outsiders and organizing in neighborhoods to empower our black and brown brothers and sisters. Yes I am angry at these self-proclaimed activists and bad actors. But I am more encouraged by the good work of people in the Community Boards, PTA and block associations. Neighbors who have been in our community before and after gentrification. Before the fancy coffee shops and trendy restaurants. Those people are the real fighters against Trump. We have been resisting for 400 years, our ancestors started resisting the day they stepped on the slave ship. They endured the pain and gave us life. We resisted before Trump and we will resist after Trump. The anti-IDC activists have made a fatal flaw: They have defined themselves as anti-Trump, and so they let him infest their activism with the same hate and racially charged attacks. There is a deeper activism in Brooklyn. I will follow in the footsteps of W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, Paul Robeson and Shirley Chisholm. The real progressives.l
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. —Hosea 4:6 Publisher I.Q. INC.
Managing Editor & Editor-in-Chief Pearl Phillip Legal Advisor Brian Figeroux, Esq. Assistant Editor Marilyn Silverman
Graphic & Website Designer Praim Samsoondar Contributors Mike Tucker Ginita Wall Tatyana Bellamy-Walker Steven Dowshen, MD Clara Hemphill MichaelFulwiler Alisa Hrustic Journal Contributors Aaron Reichlin-Melnick Leslie Dellon Emily Creighton Janet Howard Email firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone 718-771-0988 Website
Feel the warmth of the Caribbean on your fingertips. Connect. Visit our website at www.cawnyc.com for daily news and more!
Mike Tucker is the founder of Lay the Guns Down.
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Civil Rights Trailblazer: “You Are Never Too Young or Too Old to Lead”
BY JANET HOWARD
he late, great Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley sang “Get Up, Stand Up for Your Rights. Civil Rights icon and Congressman John Lewis is speaking the same message. Speaking to graduates of Harvard University at their commencement, the trailblazer was very clear: "My philosophy is very simple: when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, stand up," Lewis said. "Speak up, and speak out!" He also emphasizes the need for leadership in addition to standing up for what’s right, right now. "We need your leadership now more than ever before," said the congressman. "You're never too young to lead, you're never too old to lead," said Lewis, who's served Georgia's 5th congressional district since 1987, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Lewis was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement; right beside the Hon. Martin Luther King, Jr. He volunteered as a freedom rider and protested segregated lunch counters. He was also one of the marchers on the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, and suffered a fractured skull when police attacked the group of non-violent protestors. During
“We need to
create a society
where we can be Civil Rights Icon and Congressman John Lewis
his speech, he touched on the grief he suffered after King Jr.'s assassination but encouraged the students to never lose faith and keep fighting for the cause. Lewis brilliantly integrated experiences from his career, including one about a man who beat him during a Freedom Ride in 1961, and later who visited his office in Washington to ask for forgiveness. "We need to create a society where we can be reconciled, and lay down the burden of hate," he said. Using a famous quote of King, he added, "For hate is too heavy a burden to bear." Born on February 21, 1940, John Robert Lewis is an American politician and is a prominent civil rights leader. He is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's
reconciled, and lay down the
burden of hate." 5th congressional district, serving since 1987, and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. His district includes three-quarters of Atlanta. Lewis, who as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington, played many key roles in the Civil Rights Movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. He is a member of the Democratic Party leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives and has served as a Chief Deputy Whip since 1991 and Senior Chief Deputy Whip since 2003. In an interview, John Lewis said, "I saw racial discrimination as a young child. I
saw those signs that said 'White Men, Colored Men, White Women, Colored Women'. ... I remember as a young child with some of my brothers and sisters and first cousins going down to the public library trying to get library cards, trying to check some books out, and we were told by the librarian that the library was for whites only and not for 'coloreds'." During a childhood trip to Buffalo, New York, Lewis saw for the first time black men and white men working together, desegregating water fountains, and began to believe the dream of equality was more than just a dream. Lewis listened to King, Jr. and Rosa Parks on the radio, and he and his family supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Lewis met Parks in 1957, when he was 17, and he met King the following year. This is not the first time, Lewis has given a commencement speech. This was Lewis' second commencement address of 2018--he spoke at Boston University on May 20. And, on May 5, 2014, Lewis delivered the keynote address at the commencement exercises for the School of Visual Arts (urging the graduating artists to use their talents to fight injustice, saying, "You have a mandate to get out and disturb the order of things.”l
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The Flawed Specialized High School System—And Ways to Fix It
BY CLARA HEMPHILL
ayor Bill de Blasio faces an uphill battle in Albany in his quest to get rid of the admissions test for elite high schools including Stuyvesant and Bronx High School of Science, but there’s a lot he can do now to advance his Administration’s stated goal of increasing opportunities for talented black and Latino kids—without the approval of the State Legislature. Without changing the State law that governs admission to the eight specialized high schools, the City can dramatically expand a special summer school initiative known as the Discovery Program, increase the number of seats overall at the specialized high schools, and work to make these schools more welcoming to blacks and Latinos. Just as important, it can strengthen the academic programs at the high schools that serve 95 percent of the city’s students—and whose admissions are controlled by the City, not the State. To its credit, City Hall week pledged to expand the Discovery Program from what it is now, 200 students, to 800 students over the next two years. This program identifies disadvantaged middle school
kids who just missed the cutoff on the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT); it offers them summer school and, if they are successful, a spot in the specialized schools. In the past, for the purposes of joining the Discovery Program students have been considered “disadvantaged” if they are poor enough to qualify for free lunch (or if they are in foster care or have been in the country for less than four years). But the fact is that students who attend low-performing, high-poverty schools are likely to be at more of a disadvantage than low-income children at high-performing schools. That’s why it’s significant that the City is changing its eligibility for the Discovery Program to admit kids who attend high-poverty schools, rather than students whose families are low-income. With this newly expanded enrollment, most students admitted to the Discovery Program would be Black and Latino; historically, about two-thirds have been Asian. The City estimates that its changes in the Discovery Program would increase the proportion of black and Latino students in the specialized high schools, currently 9 percent, to 16 percent — a significant, increase, even if it's well below the 70 percent these groups represent in the
total school population. Expanding total enrollment for the specialized high schools is another way to increase opportunities for all. While the so called “big three”—Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Technical High School — have gigantic enrollments of 3,000 to 5,800 students in overcrowded buildings, enrollments at three specialized schools on the City University of New York (CUNY) college campuses are under 500 students. Administrators at one of these, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, have expressed an interest in expanding. Increasing the number of seats overall would keep this from being a zero-sum game with winners and losers—and avoid pitting low-income blacks and Latinos against low-income Asians, who now make up a large proportion of the enrollment at the specialized schools. At the same time, the City should look into why so many high-achieving black and Latino students don’t wind up at the specialized schools, why hundreds of such students with high scores on State standardized tests don’t sit for the SHSAT, and why more than one-quarter of those who are offered seats don’t accept. Richard Buery, a former deputy mayor, described his sense of isolation as
one of the few black students at Stuyvesant High School in the 1980s. His experience is not unique. The City should look into ways to make the environment of these schools more inclusive, as some other selective schools have done. For example Manhattan/Hunter High School in the Martin Luther King Campus on the Upper West Side, one of the most sought-after schools in the city, has a culture where everyone feels valued; nearly half the students are black and Latino and nearly 15 percent have disabilities. The under-representation of black and Latino students at the specialized high schools is a powerful symbol of the inequities in the city’s school system. The SHSAT has many flaws, and the mania for test prep that has sprung up around it hurts all children. But the city must not pin its hopes on a State Legislature that has shown little appetite for change. Instead, it should takes the steps that are within its power and not merely blame Albany for inaction. l
Clara Hemphill is the Founding Editor of InsideSchools.org and the Director of Educational Policy at the New School’s Centerfor New York City Affairs.
Jamaica’s Former Prime Minister Leads Anti-Scam Town Hall in Queens
BY TATYANA BELLAMY-WALKER
Union and estern GraceKennedy Money Services are combating overseas scammers with a new approach to cyber safety. In a town hall meeting at Jamaica’s Performing Art's Center in Queens, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Orette Bruce Golding, and top officials at GraceKennedy, a Caribbean financial transfer service, made the community more aware of its digital mobile app—which they say is a quicker and often safer method of transferring funds. GraceKennedy’s Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Allen, said scammers lure customers using online romance scams, lottery and prizes as well as requesting victims to make deposits on their behalf. Scammers are hooking victims through phishing emails, a form of online identity theft that uses random email addresses to steal personal and financial data. “They are using this service to defraud persons of their well-earned money,” Allen said. “Many of the receivers would not survive without these remittances.” She added, “It meets daily and legitimate needs.”
Western Union’s Vice President and General Manager for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Rodrigo Garcia Estebarena, said nearly 20 percent of the agents are trained in the anti-fraud compliance programs. Western Union has invested at least $200 million in worldwide consumer compliance programs, Estebarena said. “We operate in an industry with inherent risks and challenges,” said Estebarena, who says the company is working on innovative tools to boost cyber security. Receivers are now required to offer the sender’s full name, address, number, their relationship to the sender as well as the reason for the transaction. “We know
it’s hard, but these are the questions we have to ask,” Allen said. “This will help put this threat behind us.” Officials at GraceKennedy say customers concerned with giving personal information to Western Union agents can also use the mobile app, which is a private option for transferring funds. The Caribbean diaspora sends over $2.3 billion in remittances. While the number of customers affected by scams at Western Union is relatively low, officials say the overseas fraud industry is becoming the “alternative to drugs.” “Scamming has become big business,” said Jamaica’s former Prime Minister. “This has become interwoven with crim-
inal activity back home.” Golding added, “When the scammer calls up someone and they don’t cooperate or send the money…it moves from scamming to extortion.” Last summer, the Jamaica Observer reported that GraceKennedy temporarily shut down six Western Union agencies after an “unusually high number” of reported scams in Montego Bay, Falmouth, Brown's Town, St. Ann; and Spanish Town, Trelawny and St. Catherine. “The locations where we have seen a high level of suspicious activity we have put them under review,” Allen said. “We have stopped them from doing business until we have an all clear.” Golding says Jamaica’s scamming industry has become “very attractive” to young people who view money laundering as a quick way to boost wealth. Young Jamaicans aspire to mimic scammers because they drive fancy cars, live in big houses, wear designer clothes and appear to live an extravagant lifestyle. “We can’t fight this battle alone,” Golding said. “We have to create a greater sense of consciousness so when you get the call you hang up the phone.”l
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Becoming a Father P
REVIEWED BY STEVEN DOWSHEN, MD
regnant women experience a variety of emotions and life changes. But most first-time dads have their own feelings and concerns to deal with, too. If you feel shocked, panicked, overwhelmed, scared, or like you're just not ready, you're not alone. Like any big change, this will require a major adjustment. And if the pregnancy wasn't planned — half of all pregnancies aren't — you may be feeling these emotions even more intensely. You don't have to feel guilty or anxious about having mixed emotions; it's completely normal. And you can take steps to get more comfortable with the pregnancy, the idea of parenthood, and the preparations that can make both go as smoothly as possible. Here are a few concerns that may be bothering you and ways to keep them in perspective:
Will I be capable of caring for a baby? No one is born knowing this stuff, not even your pregnant partner — that's why there are childbirth classes. Depending on what's available in your area, you can take classes as early as the 12th week of pregnancy or one that focuses just on the day of labor and can be taken as late as the eighth month. And some communities offer classes designed just for first-time dads. Most classes teach how to change a diaper, hold the baby, feed and burp the baby,
get the baby to sleep, install a car seat, and childproof your home. You'll also learn where to park your car when you get to the hospital, how to get through labor, and how to care for your baby and your partner when you get home from the hospital. Along with the lessons, you'll meet other guys going through the same experience who might be dealing with similar feelings, and that can be a huge help. The nurses and childbirth educators who lead these classes have seen dads in a variety of emotional states, so don't feel embarrassed or hesitant about asking them for help.
Will I be a good dad? Remember that you're not going to have to tackle every part of fatherhood at once. For the first few years, a lot of the parenting involves skills taught in childbirth classes and mastered through practice. It's much like other new roles that you might take on in your life. If you're married, you didn't automatically know how to be a good husband. You learned along the way with your wife. You have plenty of time before you have to set curfews, teach your child to drive, and dole out relationship and career advice. These opportunities to teach your child will feel like a natural progression when they arrive. If you need guidance, check for resources in the community, including parenting classes. It may help to talk to and spend time with other fathers and discuss issues you may be grappling with. If you feel like
you have issues about your own father to work through, try to talk with someone — maybe a counselor or a family member — before the baby arrives so that they don't interfere with your relationship with your own child.
Is this the end of my independence? Fatherhood doesn't have to spell the end of fun. True, you may not get much sleep or time for yourself during the first few months until your baby starts sleeping through the night. But when the baby sleeps more, you and your partner will have more time for things you enjoy, together and individually. Again, it's important to work together, communicate, and trade off on the childcare responsibilities so that you each get what you need. And try to get to know other new parents, who can share their perspectives and offer a sounding board. In the early years, you can engage in many activities with your little one — one of the best and most important is reading
to your child. There’s research evidence that being spoken or read to is one of the most important things parents can do to stimulate a child’s language and brain development — and the newborn period isn’t too early to start. Also, check out the special baby carriers that let parents take their tots along on walks and hikes. It's easy to fear losing out on free time, but most moms and dads discover that once their child is born they treasure time spent with their baby. Remember that billions of guys before you experienced — and survived — fatherhood. There's no secret handshake and you're not supposed to instinctively know how to be a good dad. Just do your best to prepare for the birth, know that what follows will be on-the-job training, and reach out for the many resources that can help.l
Reprinted with permission from Kids Heath. This is an edited version of the full article.
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IN THE NEWS
Letitia “Tish” James Seeks to Make History Again
Day of Opportunity/continued from page 1
During the day, attendees will have the opportunity to network with other businesses and share information about their products and services as well as attend 20+ educational seminars and workshops. These include Real Estate Investing & Becoming a Home Owner; Get Money for Your Business; Handle It: How to Live a Fit & Healthy Life; Social Media Boot Camp; An Introduction to the Paralegal Certificate Program; An Intro to International Trade & Global Business; Doing Business with the NYPD and GSA. Presenters will be top business authors, experts and representatives from the gov-
ernment and private sector. For registration of seminars and more information, please visit www.businessexponyc.com. This Expo is a celebration of multiculturalism, empowerment and achievement which all minority communities can be proud of and a part of. Success starts on Thursday, June 21, 2018. It’s one day, one location, endless opportunities. What you will learn is secrets and strategies for success. You can, and will, realize your entrepreneurial dreams and grow and take your business to new heights. Don’t miss this opportunity.l
Why Join Our Chamber?
Because membership in our Chamber offers numerous benefits and keeps business owners on top of important, ever-changing issues and trends within their community and local marketplace.
reasons to join: lBrings credibility to your business lIncreases your visibility in the community lCreates networking opportunities lGain a voice in government lMake business contacts lReceive Chamber newsletters lAcquire customer referrals lAttend Chamber events and programs lBenefit from promotion and publicity lFree small business consultations
Become a Chamber member today. Call 718-722-9217 or visit www.nacc.nyc
Time to take your business to the next level!
Victoria Falk CEO, Passionate Travel VP, AAICC
Ready to join our Chamber? Keep in mind, however, that you can’t just be a member of the Chamber to reap the benefits of Chamber membership. Paying your annual dues just isn’t enough. You must also make an investment of time and effort in Chamber activities and become involved. Simply put, what you get out of Chamber membership is directly relative to what you put in.
ew York City Public Advocate Letitia James recently launched her campaign for Attorney General seeking to make history as the first woman of color to serve as the state’s top legal officer. James, who is serving her second and final term as public advocate, and is the first woman of color elected to a citywide position, is running in the Democratic primary to replace former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned after facing allegations of physical abuse from four women with whom he was intimately involved. At the campaign launch, James, shared her principles, “I was taught at Howard University that the law should be an instrument of change. And, that the law must be used as a vehicle to right wrongs.” She pledged to defend the state’s most vulnerable communities, touting her past work as a Public Defender for the Legal Aid Society and an Assistant Attorney General, and her current role heading the office of the Public Advocate, where she has often used litigation to fight for tenant protections, for children with disabilities, and others, waging high-profile legal battles against the de Blasio administration and against predatory landlords. James swore to “never, ever waver in my fight to uphold and defend your basic rights,” vowing to oppose any harmful policies imposed by the federal government. James’ bid to become Attorney General
comes with very strong endorsements from three labor unions: the New York State Nurses Association, Communications Workers of America Local 1180; and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “Tish James listens to every voice and fights for those without a place at the table. She doesn’t preach. She acts,” said Gloria Middleton, president of CWA Local 1180. Added to the support is former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and current City Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Andrew King, Mark Levine, Robert Cornegy, and Justin Brannan. Our publication, Caribbean American Weekly, strongly supports Leticia “Tish” James for Attorney General. We believe her tenacity, strong principles and track record, will propel her to be an excellent Attorney General. The time has come to have a strong, woman of color as the Attorney General. Tish James is that woman. She is qualified and ready to serve. We endorse her.l
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Seven Simple Secrets to Transform Your Financial Life
BY GINITA WALL, CPA, CFP®
ut down the lottery tickets! You don’t have to pray to the God of Powerball or wish on a shooting star to improve your financial life. You have the power to turn your finances around and sail into retirement on a metaphoric yacht of financial stability. Change your habits and change your financial life with these seven simple secrets:
1. Save Every Month Sounds simple enough, but so many people don’t put money away each month. Start by saving for a rainy day fund that covers 3 – 6 months of expenses, and then start researching mutual funds so you can earn interest and that sweet financial manna know as compound interest.
2. Put as Much Into Your 401k or IRA as Possible If you work for an employer that provides any percent match for your 401k contributions, that’s FREE MONEY! Go after that! Even if you don’t get a match from work, try to max out your 401k ($17,500 in 2014) or IRA ($5,500) or put as much
away as you can. This money goes into your 401k or IRA tax-free, which means all that extra tax-free money can grow and earn interest over the decades.
3. Buy Good Health Insurance The Affordable Care Act has made health insurance mandatory, but that doesn’t mean everyone will comply. If you don’t receive health insurance from your employer or are self-employed, buy health insurance even if you are healthy. If you get a cancer diagnosis or are in a bad car accident, your medical bills could easily wipe out your life savings.
4. Ask for a Raise Ladies, when is the last time you’ve asked for a raise? No, we don’t mean the 3% raise you get at your annual evaluation. A quick online search can show you what others are making in your field. Are you on par? If not, then arm yourself with this
data and a list of all the reasons why you are an awesome and critical employee and ask for a raise. If you get a no, it might be a sign to start looking for greener pastures.
5. Pay Your Mortgage Bi-Weekly Instead of Monthly If you were to take out a 30-year, $400,000 mortgage loan today at a 5% interest rate and make all your payments on time, you would end up shelling out $361,891 in interest over the life of the loan. Simply by paying this same mortgage bi-monthly (an option that most lenders allow), you would pay off your home four years sooner and save $68,713 in interest in the process. Think about what all of that money could do if it were in a mutual fund instead? You could save even more on interest if you paid just $100 extra on each bi-monthly payment.
6. Cut Up Your Credit Cards It’s so easy to swipe your credit card at the register and take home your purchases when the minimum monthly payments seem small and reasonable. However, when you use credit cards, it’s easy to lose sight of how much money you truly have. All that extra debt you carry around will incur interest, and that interest will incur interest. If you have high-interest cards like department store credit cards, you could quickly slide into a huge debt hole without even realizing it. If you ever hit your credit limit, Game Over.
7. Learn a New Skill If you are not making enough money at work or dream of one day owning your own business (a risk that could pay off handsomely), learning a new skill can increase your value to your employer or give you something you can build your business around. Engineers are a dime a dozen, but what about an engineer who can also write clear and compelling marketing copy? That’s a girl who could probably ask for a raise and get it!l
Reprinted with permission. Ginita is the co-founder of The Women’s Institute for Financial Education (wife.org)
It’s Never to Late to Pursue Your Dream: 68-Year Old Grandmother and Her 22-Year Old Granddaughter Graduate from College… Together!
ashville, Tennessee: Although born more than 40 years apart, Theresa Lyles and her granddaughter, Zuri Lyles, were part of the same graduating class at Tennessee State University. Theresa, 68, and Zuri, 22, walked across the stage to accept their degrees, when TSU held its spring undergraduate commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on May 5. Theresa’s degree is in sociology, while Zuri received a bachelor’s degree in health information management and a minor in business. “I never contemplated this,” Theresa said when asked about she and her granddaughter graduating at the same time. “Who new that when I started back then that I would be graduating at the same time as she did. Nobody but God.” Theresa, a grandmother of 15, started at TSU in 1967, but dropped out in 1970 to raise her family. A little over a year ago, she came back to school without knowing she earned enough credits back
Theresa and Zuri Lyles may be the first grandmother/granddaughter graduating pair in TSU’s history. Photo Credit: Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations
then to put her close to graduating, until her academic advisers told her. But a few months into her schooling, alongside Zuri, tragedy hit the family. Theresa lost her middle daughter, Zuri’s mother, on January 6.
“That hit us so hard that I almost dropped out because I was struggling and my grandmother went through a depression,” said Zuri. “But we kept encouraging each other. Through it all, we started working harder and did everything we
needed to get the job done.” Zuri, who has a job offer with St. Thomas General as an information systems analyst, said she plans to attend graduate school and get a degree in physical therapy. For now, Theresa will continue to help with raising her grandchildren, but she is glad to finally get her degree. “I always wanted to come back, but just never had the chance to do it,” she said. “I am glad I did, and it’s even better that I am doing it with my granddaughter. We encouraged each other. It was tough, but we had to tunnel through.” Said Zuri: “It feels amazing and lifechanging for both of us” to be graduating at the same time. This may just be the first time in TSU’s more than 100-year history that a grandmother and a granddaughter will be graduating at the same time. Zuri is graduating with honors. Her ultimate goal is to start her own business.l
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New Yorkers Urged to Protect Themselves from Mosquito- and Tick-Borne Illnesses
s summer nears, the Health Department reminds New Yorkers to protect themselves from mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses. Last year, there were 21 cases of West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne illness, in the city, and two deaths were attributed to the disease. Reports of tick-borne illnesses have been rising over the past six years. Last year, there were 1,083 reports of Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness, among New Yorkers – an increase of 137 cases from 2016. The City has an extensive surveillance system to monitor mosquito and tick populations. “The summer is a time that New Yorkers explore the outdoors, including the City’s great parks and beaches,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The Health Department encourages residents to enjoy all of the outdoor facilities and activities the City has to offer and to take necessary precautions to protect themselves from mosquito- and tick-borne diseases.” “In recent years, we’ve seen the numbers of cases of Lyme disease on Staten Island trending in the wrong direction,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “Taking the proper measures against ticks and mosquitos is key to preventing serious diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Talking to folks who are enduring Lyme disease is often a stark reminder about the
Kitchen Corner Picnic Marinated Summer Slaw
"Oh, such a summertime taste. This easy-to-prepare slaw was given to me by a neighbor who said a little lady from her church gave it to her! A refreshing and delightful change for slaws. Tastes delicious after allowing to marinate for several hours. Enjoy!" –Rosebud434, All Recipes.com
Ingredients Ingredients •1 (10 ounce) package shredded cabbage •1 cucumber, peeled and chopped •1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional) •1 large tomato, peeled and choppe •1 bunch green onions, chopped •1/2 cup white sugar •1/2 cup vegetable oil •1/4 cup white vinegar •salt and ground black pepper to taste
heartache that you can avoid by taking a moment to think about these precautions. We want all new Yorkers to enjoy the wonderful outdoors our city and state offers, but to do so smartly." "I join the Department of Health in encouraging New Yorkers to protect themselves from mosquito and tickborne illnesses during these summer months while they enjoy the outdoors," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "Taking a few small steps, like placing screens on windows and calling 311 to report puddles of water, can help keep you safe and healthy."l
Directions 1.Combine cabbage, cucumber, green bell pepper, tomato, and green onions in a large bowl.
2.Cook and stir sugar, vegetable oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper together in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour marinade over vegetables and stir to coat. Marinate slaw in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.l Prep 20 mins Cook: 5 mins Ready In: 2 hr 25 mins
Rihanna Rocks Locs in “Ocean’s 8” n the upcoming film “Ocean’s 8” Rihanna’s character, Nine Ball, has a very specific hairstyle. The superstar’s hairstylist, Yusef Williams, explained to Refinery29 that Rihanna requested to wear those locs she donned back in 2016 during the movie’s filming to “maintain that tie to Africa.” “We thought it would be strong,” Williams said. “Her locs would maintain
that tie to Africa. She’d keep her accent. She wasn’t just going to be some American girl in this movie. Nine Ball is still a Caribbean girl that just happens to be in America.”l
The Deportation Machinery/ continued from page 1
to match its record enforcement levels, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) finds in a new report. ICE arrests and removals during fiscal 2017 were about half their peaks during the early Obama years, before that administration significantly narrowed its enforcement priorities, effectively shielding all but a fraction of the nation’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants from deportation. Capping a year-long study that took MPI researchers to 15 locations—some fully cooperating with federal immigration enforcement, others not—the report draws from analysis of ICE data and interviews with more than 120 ICE senior field office personnel, state and local law enforcement and elected officials, immigrant-rights advocates, former immigration judges, community leaders and consular officials. The researchers found that even as the Trump administration has sharply reoriented the immigration enforcement system, including by revoking all prior prosecutorial discretion guidance, pushback by “sanctuary” jurisdictions is proving a significant drag. The engine that fueled ICE’s peak effectiveness—the intersection of federal immigration enforcement with state and local criminal justice systems—is being throttled by state and local policies that limit cooperation with federal enforcement.
Read the full report at www.ijlef.org.
ICE relies heavily on state and local law enforcement to help identify and arrest non-citizens for removal. During peak ICE activity in FY 2008-2011, more than 85 percent of arrests originated with local jails and state prisons, as the fingerprints of everyone booked into detention were checked against federal immigration databases. That share had fallen to 69 percent in the early Trump months, amid curbs on cooperation by California, Illinois, Connecticut, Rhode Island and a range of cities. And ICE was able to rearrest just 6 percent of those whom state and local prisons and jails had declined to hold for the agency. California, which has passed three state laws and other policies limiting cooperation with ICE, is proving a particularly significant brake on enforcement. The state’s share of overall ICE arrests fell from 23 percent in FY 2013, the year before its first “sanctuary” law passed, to 14 percent in FY 2017. While Texas, Mississippi and Iowa have adopted laws mandating ICE compliance, their rising share of overall arrests is not sufficient to offset the California decline. “Sanctuary policies are protecting thousands from deportation and frustrating the Trump administration’s ability to deliver on its promises of stricter enforcement,” said the report’s lead coauthor Randy Capps. “But the deeper
story is one of growing enforcement disparities. The fortunes of an unauthorized immigrant in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas, where the mere act of driving can result in arrest and deportation, are entirely different than in California, Chicago and New York, where immigrants can be arrested for a variety of crimes and not be taken into ICE custody.” ICE has ramped up operations it can conduct on its own, arresting about 40,000 people at their residences or in the community in FY 2017, a rate similar to peak years. But at-large arrests were less than one-third of the 143,470 ICE arrests in FY 2017. And ICE agents told the MPI researchers that these operations are time-consuming, costly and more dangerous. Even as enforcement under the Trump administration is far from the peak, the combination of sharp rhetoric and policies that have resulted in increasing arrests of non-criminals and bystanders, as well as arrests in courthouses and neighborhoods, have sown fear in immigrant communities. The report documents a decline in reporting of crimes, including domestic violence, by Hispanic communities in some study sites, as well as a reduction in economic activity and use of health services and public benefits by immigrant families.
Beyond sanctuary policies, there is growing resistance to federal immigration enforcement at other levels. Some cities are changing policing practices to reduce non-citizen arrests, such as decriminalizing driving without a license. Immigrant advocates are conducting more “know-your-rights” trainings, teaching people they do not have to open their doors to ICE. Some cities and foreign consulates are increasing funds for legal representation for detained noncitizens. And others are mobilizing to monitor ICE operations in the field or create apps to warn loved ones in the event of arrest. The escalating tactics on both sides show no signs of abating. “As the war of words, legislation and litigation escalate, growing enforcement disparities and uneven treatment across levels of government are increasing,” said MPI Senior Fellow and report coauthor Doris Meissner, a former Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. “Such unevenness in the enforcement landscape threatens a core principle of the U.S. constitutional system—federal pre-eminence in immigration—with severe implications for effective law enforcement relationships and public safety.” Report by Randy Capps, Muzaffar Chishti, Julia Gelatt, Jessica Bolter, and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
LOVE & RELATIONSHIPS
An Open Letter to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
BY MICHAEL FULWILER
nless you don’t go on the internet or watch the news, then you know about the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Between radio, television, and social media, Harper’s Bazaar estimated that nearly three billion people will tuned into the event. That’s over one-third of the world’s population. Clearly, we can’t get enough of the royal spectacle. And if you’re married or engaged, then you know that everyone has advice before your big day. Never go to bed angry.Your kids should come first. Marriage is 50/50. With all due respect to your Aunt Karen, these are marriage myths. We know this because we’ve spent the last four decades studying thousands of couples to understand why marriages succeed or fail. So while we could send flowers to the royal couple, we feel that the best wedding gift we can give is sound relationship advice.
Dear Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Congratulations! We did not attend the wedding (our invitation must have been lost in the mail) so we’d like to take this opportunity to share some science-based words of wisdom with you. We are fans of The Crown so we have a pretty good idea how this Royal Family thing works.
Don’t stop dating While a wedding feels like a culmination of your relationship, it’s really just the beginning. The first things to fly out the window in a marriage are fun and romance. So take time for fun—just the two of you and make it a ritual that you can count on—whether it’s traveling somewhere for a weekend getaway or meeting once a week for afternoon tea. Keep dating each other and keep trying to win each other’s attention and affection. Openly admire your partner and tell them something that you absolutely adore about them every day. And don’t forget to be affectionate. We recommend a daily 6-second kiss.
Sometimes, when couples settle into married life, they turn their attention to their careers and raising a family, and in doing so they lose sight of what made their relationship special. So those rituals of connection that you can count on are very important.
Marriage is hard work Nobody tells you that marriage is going to be hard work, so we are. It’s not easy. You will have good days and bad days. Sometimes you might not even like each other. Keep working at it. Think about your relationship like an Emotional Bank Account. You make “deposits” through positive interactions and “withdrawals” through negative interactions. Keep your balance high by doing nice things for each other every day and recognizing when your partner does nice things for you. It’s the most important investment you’ll ever make.
You won’t solve your problems Our research revealed that almost twothirds of relationship problems are unsolvable. These “perpetual problems” are caused by personality differences between partners. As long as you can talk to each other about these problems with respect, then you can manage them. Some of your perpetual problems may not be what everyday couples deal with, but you’ll still have to discuss those unavoidable marital issues that do come up, like how to make time for each other in your busy lives. It’s also important to process big fights and arguments. We call them regrettable incidents and they happen in every relationship. They’re inevitable. When you do fight, take some time to cool down, then listen to each other’s perspective about what went wrong and own your part in it.
Honor each other’s dreams It’s important to understand and support each other’s dreams in life. This can be especially challenging in royal marriages. Princess Grace Kelly gave up her career as an actress when she married
Prince Rainier III. Will Meghan also transition from an acting career to being full-time royalty? If so, what does that mean to her? Ask each other open-ended questions to understand what your dreams are and why, and do as much as you can to make them happen so that you both feel fulfilled and satisfied in your marriage. Be each other’s champion. Find causes that you can support together. That’s honoring each other’s dreams in a way, but it’s also creating a sense of shared meaning: this is who we are as a couple and this is what we believe in. In your first interview after announcing your engagement, you said, “Whatever we have to tackle together or individually, will always be us together as a team.”
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Jada Pinkett Smith Reveals Hair Loss, Possibly from Alopecia
BY ALISA HRUSTIC
air loss in women is taboo, but more common than you might think. Jada Pinkett Smith has always been known for luscious locks— but lately she’s been cutting her hair shorter and shorter, debuting one edgy haircut after another. And recently, fans have been quick to notice that Pinkett Smith has been wrapping her hair into stylish turbans. While the 46-year-old actress loves the way she looks in one, she revealed that her hair is now one of her biggest insecurities. “A lot of people have been asking why I’ve been wearing this turban,” Pinkett Smith said on the latest episode of her Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk, which focused on body image. “Well, I’ve been having issues with hair loss. It was terrifying when it first started. I was in the shower one day and then… just handfuls of hair, just in my hands.” She asked herself: Oh my god, am I going bald? “It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear,” Pinkett Smith said, with her mother and daughter sitting beside her. “That's why I cut my hair and continued to cut it.” Even though she’s tried to figure out the root of the problem, Pinkett Smith still
isn’t sure why she’s losing her hair. “I’ve gotten every kind of test there is to have,” she explained. “They don’t know why.” Pinkett Smith mentions that alopecia could be a possibility, a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles, causing them to become smaller or stunt hair growth. The disease affects nearly 7 million people in the United States, and can cause hair to fall out on your scalp, face, or other parts of the body. People close to her have mentioned that stress could be making things worse—a known trigger of alopecia.
Even though “balding” is seen as a condition that affects men, women make up 40 percent of Americans who suffer from hair loss—and it can happen for various reasons, such as your genes, hypothyroidism, iron deficiency anemia, certain skin conditions of the scalp, or even the way you style it. While hair loss in women is common, they’re more likely to suffer silently, since your locks play a huge role in selfconfidence and perceived femininity. “My hair has been a big part of me,” she said on her show. “Taking care of my hair has been a beautiful ritual.” In fact, research shows that alopecia goes beyond the physical symptoms. Because hair is so symbolically tied to a woman’s identity and personality, dealing with hair loss can be shocking and embarrassing—feelings that can quickly lead to anxiety and depression, a review published in The BMJ concludes. Alopecia is a treatable condition and typically involves oral or injectable medications, but effectiveness varies depending on the severity. Until she knows what’s going on for sure, Pinkett Smith says she’ll continue to wrap her hair, since it makes her “feel like a queen.” l Article originally appeared on www.prevention.com
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Fear of Deportation Is Preventing Immigrants from Reporting Domestic Violence
BY JANET HOWARD
lose your eyes for a minute or two. Imagine that you were assaulted by your partner and feel that your life is at risk. The natural reaction would be to call 911, to seek the help of the police. For many immigrant women, this is not a natural reaction because of the fear of being deported. According to an article in the New York Times: One 38-year-old woman said she had
never called the police about her husband, who frequently beat her, not even when she was six months pregnant and he punched her in the stomach, causing her to lose the baby. Eventually, when her husband threatened to kill her, she left him — but she did not report him. “I know the police are there to help,” said the woman, who feared she would be identified and deported if she gave her name. “But with the laws now, a lot of women like me are too afraid to come forward.”
Where Is My Child? Who Will Take Care of My Child?
continued on page 2
and toddlers, from their parents. In response to desperate parents in anguish in his courtroom, a judge asked a federal prosecutor whether children would be reunited with parents once in DHS detention. The U.S. Attorney was uncertain. The judge responded: “Tell you what,” the judge said slowly, with a hard edge in his voice, “if it’s not, then there are a lot of folks that have some answering to do. Because what you’ve done, in effect, by separating these children is you’re putting them in some place without their parents. If you can imagine there’s a hell, that’s probably what it looks like.”
BY AMERICA’S VOICE
n many courtrooms along the southern border, parents of children taken by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are asking questions about the children DHS took from them under the Trump administration’s new family separation policy. Where is my child? How can I communicate with my child? When will I be reunited with my child? Will my child be deported with me? Will I ever see my child again? There are no clear answers. Not from anyone with authority – federal judges, federal prosecutors, public defenders. Not even from DHS – the agency that separates children, including infants
continued on page 2
Sessions Ends Administrative Closure at the Expense of Due Process in Immigration Court
BY AARON REICHLIN-MELNICK
ltering decades of practice in immigration court and placing immense pressure on an overburdened immigration court system, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a
decision in an immigration case on declaring that immigration judges do not have general authority to administratively close cases. The decision applies nationwide—though we can expect it will be challenged in the federal courts in individual cases.
continued on page 3
DHS Acts to Eliminate Opportunities for Foreign Entrepreneurs and U.S. Job Growth
BY EMILY CREIGHTON
he Trump administration continued its shortsighted attack on businesses this week, indicating it will end a rule allowing foreign entrepreneurs to grow start-up companies in the United States. The International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) was designed to bring the talent, ideas, and initiative of foreign entrepreneurs to the United States by easing the process for them to obtain permission to travel to or stay in the United States and build their businesses here. Fundamental to the IER is the potential for American jobs. Only those foreign entrepreneurs who can demonstrate a “significant public benefit to the United States” and “substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation” can travel to the United States using this rule. In the notice explaining its reasons for ending the IER, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acknowledges the important benefits entrepreneurs bring to the United States: “DHS stands by its previous findings that foreign entrepreneurs make substantial and positive contributions to innovation, economic growth, and job creation in the United States.” Yet, this opportunity for job creation and economic growth—an opportunity that many of the United States’ global competitors are taking advantage of—is evidently not enough for DHS. The agency attempts to justify ending IER by arguing that a solution for foreign entrepreneurs should be left to Congress. They also maintain that IER relies too heavily on the use of parole, which is granted by the DHS secretary to temporarily allow certain noncitizens to physically enter the United States if—for among other reasons—they would bring a significant public benefit to the country. In addition, DHS contends that existing visa categories offer more “durable immigration solutions” for entreprecontinued on page 2
IMMIGRATION MATTERS DHS Acts/continued from page 1
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neurs. First, Congress already has offered a solution that works for these foreign entrepreneurs. It has granted DHS parole authority to bring entrepreneurs into the United States. And DHS’ argument that existing visa categories are a more “durable solution” for foreign entrepreneurs glosses over a larger problem—not all entrepreneurs who qualified under the IER would be eligible for a different type of visa. DHS identifies only one temporary and one immigrant visa category and acknowledges that only “some” of the entrepreneurs eligible for parole could meet the requirements of these limited categories. This isn’t the first time the administration has attempted to halt the IER. After
Fear of Deportation/ continued from page 1
Many immigrants are fearful of admitting that they have been a victim of a crime in part because they believe they will be removed (deported) from the United States if they report the crime. Officials such as police officers, healthcare providers, judges, and prosecutors are often the first to see the signs of violence and are therefore in a unique position to provide information and assistance to those who have been victims. U.S. law provides protection for legal and undocumented immigrants who have
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2 the rule became final, DHS belatedly tried to delay its implementation. Individual entrepreneurs, startup companies, and the National Venture Capital Association— the largest organization of venture capitalists in the United States—were harmed by the abrupt halt to the rule and filed suit. A federal court quickly ruled against the administration’s attempt to delay the rule and DHS began accepting foreign entrepreneurs’ applications. Despite that court ruling in early December, DHS has not yet approved any entrepreneur parole applications. Now, it appears DHS will end the program. Instead of attracting and capitalizing on talented foreign entrepreneurs who want to bring new ideas to the United States, this administration has chosen to undo a program with enormous potential before it even got off the ground.l been victims of a crime. Often victims are unaware of such protections, thus frontline workers serve as a critical link for immigrant victims. There are specific protections for victims of domestic violence, victims of certain crimes, and victims of human trafficking. All agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including USCIS, are legally prohibited from disclosing that a victim has applied for VAWA, T, or U immigration benefits. Victims are not required to be in legal immigration status, but they must: • Be a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons, • Be physically present in the United States on account of the trafficking, • Comply with any reasonable requests for assistance in the investigation or prosecution (or be under the age of 18), and • Suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the United States. A survey of hundreds of police officers, victims’ advocates and prosecutors across all 50 states, released by the American Civil Liberties Union in May, found numerous reports that undocumented immigrants are now more reluctant to call the police, press criminal charges and testify against assailants. A total of 82 percent of the prosecutors surveyed said that domestic abuse cases have become harder to prosecute. Domestic violence should not happen to anybody, ever; but it does and we want the victims to know help is available and they are not alone. Domestic violence happens in all relationships and families of different cultures, income levels, religious beliefs, and affects women and girls, as well as men and boys. We have to take a stand and decide enough is enough and it’s time to end the abuse in our communities. We are destroying our hopes, dreams and that of our children. In addition to experiencing the sheer horror of domestic violence in its many forms, immigrants are faced with the burden of being further dependent on their U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse to assist them with their legal status. We want you to know that help is available. You don’t need to be in Green Card slavery anymore. As a victim of domestic violence you can petition for yourself and your children.l
Where Is My Child? Who Will Take Care of My Child?/continued from page 1
In another courtroom in El Paso, Texas, a judge asked a government prosecutor: “What are the arresting agency’s procedures for providing information (e.g. location and well-being) regarding the unaccompanied minor children of undocumented alien defendants charged with a petty misdemeanor such as illegal entry . . . ?” Government lawyers didn’t seem to have an answer. The same is happening with DHS at the border. When her 18-month-old son was physically taken from her by DHS at the border, a mother begged for answers. Although she was told that her son would be taken to a foster home in Texas, she said: I wasn’t told who was taking care of him, how long he would be there or when I would see him next. I was given a phone number to call, but I had no access to a phone. David Leopold, Chair of Immigration at Ulmer & Berne and former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said: The Trump administration’s diabolical policy of ripping children from their parents at the border is plain evil, that much is clear. But if tearing apart a baby from her mother’s arms is harsh, what follows is even more problematic. Who’s responsible for tracking the child to make sure the separation from her mother doesn’t become permanent? Who ensures that the separated children – some only infants and toddlers – are able to one day reunite with their parents? Who makes sure that the child, who would be too young to know her mother’s name, or even what country she came from, isn’t permanently lost? If there is no tracking system, how may a parent communicate with a child? The Trump administration owes the public answers to these critical questions. Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch, a project of America’s Voice, said: Any parent–- any human being – knows it is beyond cruel and extremely harmful to unnecessarily take a child from a parent. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association have described the irreparable harm that occurs when children are taken from parents. But the Trump administration refuses to recognize this reality and continues to harm children hoping it will sow fear and deter parents from seeking protection in the U.S. On top of this, the administration is drastically increasing the number of separated children without even basic child welfare plans. They have no way of systematically keeping children in contact with parents throughout the separation; they have no plans to reunite parents with children; they have no answers for parents who have basic questions about the well-being of children, even infants and toddlers. This is barbaric and must be stopped.l
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New USCIS Policy Places Certain Students and Exchange Visitors at Serious Risk of Being Barred Entry
BY LESLIE DELLON
n another attempt to restrict legal immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a policy change to the way foreign students and exchange visitors accrue unlawful presence—a legal term used to describe any time spent in the United States after a foreign national’s period of authorized stay has ended. Effective August 9, 2018, this policy will directly impact foreign nationals currently or previously in academic student (F-1), vocational student (M-1), and exchange visitor (J-1) status and their spouses and children in the related dependent status. All three are nonimmigrant visa classifications that permit foreign nationals to come to the United States temporarily. The new policy will significantly impact how “unlawful presence” is calculated— resulting in these noncitizens accruing unlawful presence at an earlier point in time. The accrual of “unlawful presence” can have harsh consequences. Generally, a nonimmigrant who leaves the United States after being unlawfully present in the United States for more than 180 days, but less than one year, is barred from returning for three years. The bar to returning becomes ten years if the person was unlawfully present for one year or longer. Children under age 18 do not accrue unlawful presence. The new policy ignores existing limits on the accrual of unlawful presence which does not begin until after a nonim-
migrant’s authorized period of stay ends. Generally, the authorized period of stay would end on the day after (1) the last day of admission when the length of time was specified, or (2) an immigration judge or a USCIS officer finds that a status violation occurred. Most nonimmigrants are authorized to remain in the United States until a specific date. In contrast, those admitted as F-1 students or J-1 visitors are frequently authorized to stay for the duration of their status because so many variables affect the length of time that they would be authorized to remain in the United States. Under USCIS’ new policy, the day after an event that is considered by the agency to be a violation of F, M, or J status in most cases will now be the starting date for calculating unlawful presence.
For example, an F-1 student with duration of status had permission to work on campus for 20 hours per week while school was in session. One week, she inadvertently worked three extra hours. Under the current policy, if an employer later filed an H-1B (specialty occupation) petition for her, with a change of status request, USCIS could approve the H-1B petition but deny the change of status because the three extra work hours were a technical violation of F-1 status. She would begin to accrue unlawful presence beginning the day after the USCIS official denied the change of status. If she timely left the United States, she could apply for and be issued an H-1B visa abroad and then be admitted to the United States in H-1B status, so long as she was otherwise eligible.
Sessions Ends Administrative Closure/ continued from page 1
Administrative closure has long been an uncontroversial management tool used by immigration judges to manage their caseload. It allows a judge to temporarily take a case off the court docket, usually to allow for completion of related proceedings that will impact the outcome of the individual’s removal proceeding. Sessions’ decision largely eliminates this vital tool. Judges now will be forced to keep long-pending cases on their active dockets, contributing to the already massive backlog of immigration cases. In his lengthy decision, Sessions concluded that judges lack legal authority to grant administrative closure. But he pays short shrift to the legal authority that does not support his view. As amicus (friend of the court) briefs submitted in the case pointed out, the Board of Immigration Appeals repeatedly has declared that administrative closure stems from immigration judges’ inherent authority to conduct proceedings and take actions necessary to decide a case. No federal court has questioned immi-
gration judges’ authority to grant administrative closure. Not only is Sessions misinterpreting the law, he is creating terrible policy. The National Association of Immigration Judges urged Sessions not to end administrative closure, arguing that its termination could “overwhelm the system” and “waste precious hearing time.” A 2017 report commissioned by the immigration court system concluded that more cases should be administratively closed in order to reduce the courts’ backlogs. Others argue that ending administrative closure will harm vulnerable populations, including children and individuals of limited competency. Many of these individuals need to pause their proceedings to allow other federal and state entities to make determinations that would prevent
their deportations. Furthermore, Sessions’ move to insert himself in this case is particularly alarming given his anti-immigrant bias. As immigrant rights groups explained in the case, Sessions’ long history of anti-immigrant rhetoric prevents him from being an impartial adjudicator. The groups called for his recusal from this decision-making process. In the decision, Sessions determined that administrative closure “encumbered the fair and efficient administration of immigration cases.” Yet, his decision will result in the very widespread unfairness and inefficiency he claims to oppose, restricting the authority of immigration judges to control their dockets and punishing immigrants who need additional time to obtain the results of other federal
Under the new policy, if she exceeded the 20-hour limit on August 1, 2019, and USCIS denied the change of status on November 1, 2020, she would accrue unlawful presence from August 2, 2019, and even if she left the United States on November 2, she would be barred from returning for ten years. As a result, USCIS’ unlawful presence determinations will be harsher for foreign nationals who have been in these visa categories than for other nonimmigrants. Moreover, if found to be “unlawfully present” under the new policy, their status in the United States could be revoked, they could become ineligible to apply for permanent residence in the United States, and, if they leave the United States, they could be barred for years from returning. A spouse or child in F, M, or J dependent status is treated even more unreasonably—as after the fact, USCIS can find that they were out of status and accruing unlawful presence (unless the child is under 18), solely due to their relative’s status violation. For example, if an F-1 student accidentally dropped slightly below the required number of credit hours for a full course of study, and years later a USCIS officer determined that the F-1’s mistake was a status violation, the F-2 spouse also would be out of status and accruing unlawful presence. This is an overly punitive and unnecessary change and yet another attempt to restrict immigration laws and make the United States less welcoming.l and state agency proceedings to qualify for immigration relief. And we should be wary of the ways he downplays the impact of this decision. He notes, for example, that judges who need to extend cases may grant “continuances” instead of administratively closing cases while simultaneously neglecting to mention that he is weighing in on another immigration case that may greatly reduce the availability of continuances. Though Sessions ended administrative closure for future cases, regulations still permit the practice in a limited number of cases. As for the 350,000 cases currently administratively closed, those cases will gradually make their way back onto court dockets in the coming weeks and months through motions by the government. The fact remains that this is a devastating decision for those who want to preserve due process in immigration courts. Sessions has not only restricted the authority of immigration judges, but he also has found another way to make immigrants increasingly vulnerable in a system that is already stacked against them.l .
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Top Ten Legal Mistakes that Can Sink Your Landlord Business
BY JANET PORTMAN
eing a successful landlord requires lots of practical knowhow, business moxie, and familiarity with the market. Until about 30 years ago, the law didn't have much to do with it. Now, however, federal law and most states closely regulate nearly every aspect of your business. Not knowing the rules can land you in lots of legal hot water.
1. Using Generic or Outdated Lease Forms Most landlords know it's important to have a written lease or rental agreement. But using the wrong form can get you into trouble. So-called "standard" forms that are sold everywhere, probably aren't compliant with the laws in
your state. If you use a stationery store lease that short-cuts tenants' rights, you could find yourself at the losing end of a lawsuit because of an unenforceable lease clause. On the other hand, some standard forms actually impose greater obligations and restrictions on you than your state's law does! (My favorite requires landlords to return security deposits within ten days, which no state requires.)
2. Asking the Wrong Questions During Applicant Screening Thorough tenant screening is the most important part of your business— if you choose poorly, you're in for nothing but headaches with tenants who don't pay the rent, trash your place, or worse. But there are limits to what you can ask. Many landlords don't realize that even well-meaning questions (such as asking a disabled person
5 Ways Millennial Buyers Can Snag Their Dream Home
ccording to the 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, millennials bought 34% of the homes sold, the largest of any generation last year. Millennials looking to buy their first, or second, home need to ready themselves for a shockingly competitive market. Lack of supply causes attractive homes to garner multiple offers in just a few hours! So, what can a millennial buyer do to appeal to sellers and be the one who ends up with the home? Here are 5 ways they can snag their dream home in this seller's market:
Be Decisive A hot real estate market is no time for cold feet. Millennials should proactively create a list of must-haves and be ready with an offer when they find a home that meets their requirements. Taking too long to mull over whether they like the house, the neighborhood, or the price can get a dream house sold right out from under them.
Get Pre-Approved Sellers like to avoid nasty surprises. Being pre-approved shows the seller the homebuyer is serious and financially able to purchase their home. Getting pre-approved is perhaps the best move a millennial homebuyer makes. Speaking to a mortgage originator, letting her pull credit and look at finances determines how much of a mortgage is possible. They can then use the approval as part of their offer letter.
Get Real Low-balling an offer won't end happily in this market. Millennials should research pricing in the neighborhoods they like, and lean on their real estate agent for helpful guidance. Making a fair, reasonable offer close to, or even above, the asking price is the best course of action to land the home they want.
Agree to the Seller's Timetable Sellers often prefer unloading their house fast. Or, they may want to wait to move until their kids are out of school or the new home they are building is ready.
Millennial buyers need to dig to get this information and use it to their advantage. Being flexible might just set them up as the best choice for the seller.
Show Personality If sellers feel like they know the buyer, they are more likely to choose them over a faceless offer. Include a personal letter with the offer. Go into detail about why the house is appealing, and how the millennial buyer wants to raise children, plant a garden, enjoy the kitchen, etc. If all buyers are equal, a heartfelt letter might tip the scales. While challenging, it's not impossible for millennials to end up with the house of their dreams. With a bit of planning, decisiveness, and flexibility, they can make homeownership a reality! For more information about local real estate opportunities, give our team a call today. We're happy to share some amazing listings that perfectly suit your needs. Call us at 888-670-6791.n
Smart homeowners and first-time homebuyers read this paper!
about his disability or asking if a couple is married) can be illegal forms of discrimination. If the applicant doesn't get the rental, even though your rejection had nothing to do with the offending question, that disappointed tenant has ammunition for a fair housing complaint (which fair housing watchdog groups are eager to pursue).
3. Setting Policies that Discriminate against Families Although it's been illegal to discriminate against families for over 20 years, many owners' practices are far from family-friendly—and are downright illegal. Excluding families because you feel children cause more wear and tear and you prefer a "macontinued on page 3
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Buying a Foreclosure: 5 Things to Know
uying a property out of foreclosure can be a very smart move, financially. But it can also be complicated, expensive, and stressful. Here are 5 things to keep in mind before you take a first step in that direction:
Cash or Preapproval Required Buying a house that has been returned to the lender through foreclosure means dealing with bureaucracy rather than with a motivated seller. Large lenders are notorious for taking their time to approve a contract, even if the offer is for the exact amount specified. Then there's the paperwork, which can seem endless. Most lenders require that prospective buyers have cash on hand, or a pre-authorized loan in place in order to even submit an offer.
There's Little Room for Negotiation Although in certain circumstances there may be an opportunity for some discussion about the price, that is not the norm in a foreclosure. The minimum price is usually written in stone, even during an on-site property auction, and the only direction is up! The days of buying foreclosures for a song are long past, if indeed they ever really existed.
As-Is Condition Means Just That Some buyers specialize in foreclosures while other investors run in the other direction. There are pros and cons, of course, to every transaction. Sage advice is to always pay the fee for a property inspection on a foreclosed property, even if you have experience. A third-party evaluation is especially valuable if the home has been vacant for an extended period of time, if the utilities have been turned off, or if there are extensive visible defects. Foreclosures can be like icebergs: What you see may be nothing compared to what lies below the surface. Also, with the findings in writing, always confirm that your loan commitment and insurance quotes will be honored in spite of the existing condition.
The Need for an Experienced Realtor Navigating the landscape of property foreclosures is a specialty field, and caution is the name of the game. As a prospective buyer of a pre-foreclosure, a short-sale or a foreclosed home, an experienced realtor is your best resource. A real estate professional will help you deal with all timelines and requirements, and has the knowledge and expertise to recommend lenders, in-
spectors, insurance agents and contractors to help you make a decision.
Always Consider Future Value Although the initial price might be right, there are additional variables at play in every real estate transaction. What can you expect in terms of appreciation over the short term? What is the long-term outlook for the neighborhood? Will needed repairs and improvements add to the home's value, or simply bring its condition up to stan-
dard? Do you plan to live in the home, or is it strictly for resale? Your trusted real estate professional is the best resource to help you thoroughly evaluate all the information about every foreclosure. We are happy to help and share our insight and experience to help you with the selling process. Schedule an appointment today. Call 888-670-6791. n
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Legal Mistakes/ continued from page 1
ture, quiet" environment, is illegal. And while you're permitted to limit the number of residents in a unit (in most situations, two occupants per bedroom), you may not apply that standard differently when dealing with families. The cost of this mistake can be another trip to your lawyer's office, to deal with a fair housing complaint.
4. Making Promises that You Don't Deliver On It's fine to be enthusiastic about the benefits of your property, and it's necessary to do so in competitive markets, but understand that your enthusiastic promises will become binding if applicants rely on them when deciding to rent. For example, you may have to deliver the goods if you assure an applicant of a parking space, satellite service, or a new paint job. A tenant who feels ripped off may legally break the lease or sue you for the difference in value between what he was promised and what you delivered. Whether the tenant will win is hardly the point -- you'll have to respond, which will cost time and money. 5. Charging Excessive Late Fees Late fees can be a powerful tool to motivate tenants to pay the rent on time. And while a higher fee can be a better motivator, some landlords cross the line, by setting fees that bear little resemblance to the actual dam-
Not knowing the rules can land you in lots of legal hot water.
ages they suffer when tenants pay late. Courts are increasingly invalidating excessive late fees that can't be justified with hard evidence. You're better off setting a modest fee that reflects your true damages, and dealing with chronic late-payers with pay-or-quit notices.
6. Violating Tenants' Rights to Privacy Most states have detailed rules on when, for what reasons, and with how much notice you may enter a tenant's home. Yet many landlords stop by unannounced, asking to check things over, perform an on-the-spot repair, or show the place to prospective tenants. Repeated violations of a tenant's privacy (or even one outrageous violation) can excuse a tenant from any further obligations under the lease and may also result in court-ordered money damages against the landlord.
7. Using Security Deposits for the Wrong Projects The most frequent types of cases heard in small claims court are arguments over security deposit retentions. Yet the basic rule — that deposits should be used only to cover damage beyond wear and tear, needed cleaning, and unpaid rent — isn't hard to understand. Still, landlords rou-
tinely use the deposit to cover appliance upgrades, cosmetic improvements and other refurbishing, not repairs. Not surprisingly, many of these landlords lose these cases in small claims court.
8. Ignoring Dangerous Conditions in and around the Rental Landlords in virtually every state are required to offer and maintain housing that meets basic health and safety standards, such as those set by state and local building codes, health ordinances, and landlord-tenant laws. If you fail to take care of important repairs, deal with environmental hazards, or respond when your property has become an easy mark for criminals, tenants may break the lease and, in many states, withhold the rent or make the repair themselves and deduct the expense from the rent. Landlords who have failed to make their properties reasonably secure in the face of repeated on-site crime are often ordered to compensate the tenant-victim when yet another criminal intrudes. These are expensive ways to learn the law. 9. Keeping Security Deposits When Tenants Break a Lease When tenants break a lease and leave early,
landlords often keep the entire deposit, reasoning that the tenant's bad behavior justifies doing so, and that they'll ultimately need it anyway to cover the rent. In many states, this is illegal — you must take reasonably prompt steps to re-rent, and credit any new rent toward the tenant's obligation for the rest of the lease. Keeping a two months' rent deposit and re-renting within a month is not legal. 10. Failing to Return Security Deposits According to Law This list wouldn't be complete without another reference to security deposits. Not only are they used improperly, they're often not returned according to state law, either. Many states have deadlines by which landlords must itemize their use of the deposit and return any balance. It's not uncommon for tenants to wait many weeks or months for this accounting. In some states, the deliberate or "bad faith" retention of the deposit will result in harsh penalties against the landlord, such as an order that the landlord pay two or three times the deposit to the tenant.n
Source: nolo.com For all the information, explanations, and legal forms the savvy landlord needs to rent property right, read Every Landlord's Legal Guide, by Marcia Stewart, Ralph Warner and Janet Portman (Nolo).
Know Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
hen you are filling out a mortgage application, the lender will be asking you for specific financial information. One of the reasons they ask for this information is to enable the underwriter to calculate your debt to income ratio. This ratio is what most mortgage lenders use to determine the level of risk they are taking when they agree to provide you a mortgage. Keep in mind, most mortgage lenders will use your debt to income ratio to determine your interest rate, down payment requirements, and in some instances, escrow requirements.
How Lenders Calculate Debt-to-Income Ratio When your loan is being underwritten, the lender will look at both a "front-end" and a "back-end" debt to income ratio. There are two separate calculations for these ratios which are: ●Front end – this calculation is based entirely on your housing costs. The lender will add up all housing costs including mortgage payments, interest payments on your mortgage, personal mortgage insurance, and insurance payments. The total will then be divided by your current monthly income before taxes and other deductions in order to to find the ratio. Ideally, a lender would not want this number to exceed 36 percent.
●Back end – the debt to income ratio on the back end includes all expenses including housing. Your lender will likely use your open credit accounts showing on your credit report which could include car loans, revolving credit lines, and student debt. For most mortgages, your debt to income ratio should be no higher than 43 percent.
Current Rent and Housing Expenses If you are currently paying more than 36 percent of your total income for rental expenses, the lender may consider this when calculating your front-end ratio. For example, if your current rent payment is 40 percent of your total gross income and you can demonstrate you have been making payments on time, as agreed for a long period of time, the lender may be more flexible with the terms of your loan. Keep in mind however, that you could pay an interest premium if this is the case. The back-end ratios are also important. This is because for a lender to have your loan backed by an approved mortgage backer, your ratio would have to be lower than 43 percent. There are exceptions to this rule but in general, a borrower would face challenges obtaining a mortgage if their debt ratios are too high.
Lowering Debt to Income Ratio There are two ways to improve your debt
to income ratio. The first is to earn more money and the second is to lower your debt. Lowering debt can be accomplished by paying off some of your outstanding debt, putting a larger down payment on your home purchase, or taking a mortgage with a lower interest rate. For most consumers, paying off debt is the best way to lower their ratio. Keep in mind, even if you have open credit lines that are not being used, your mortgage lender may take them into consideration when calculating your debt to income ratios. Before closing an account however, talk to your mortgage lender about what options you should explore. In some instances, a lender may offer you a shorter-term loan or a loan with an adjustable rate to help you qualify. Borrowers should be aware their credit scores are not tied to their debt to income ratios. However, a lower debt to income ratio combined with a higher credit score can make a big difference when it comes to what loan programs a lender may be willing to offer to you. When you're ready to discuss a mortgage for your new home, give our team a call. We will be happy to advise you on the mortgage offer that suits your needs, budget and credit. Call us at 888-6706791.n
Call Equity Smart Realty at 888-670-6791 for a FREE consultation.
A centerpiece of Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency was a promise to strictly enforce the nation’s immigration laws, both at the border a...
Published on Jun 8, 2018
A centerpiece of Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency was a promise to strictly enforce the nation’s immigration laws, both at the border a...