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  • 19 Oct 2018 5:56 PM | Priscila Barron Sanchez (Administrator)

    Judicial Council Announces Several Openings on the Committee for Equality and Justice


    Posted: September 26, 2018


    The Minnesota Judicial Council is seeking applications from those who would like to serve on the Minnesota Judicial Branch Committee for Equality and Justice (CEJ). Committee members serve staggered three-year terms and no member shall serve more than two consecutive terms. The term begins January 1, 2019.


    The Committee for Equality and Justice was established to work collaboratively across the Judicial Branch to advance efforts to eliminate bias from court operations, promote equal access to the courts, and inspire a high level of trust and public confidence in the Minnesota Judicial Branch.

    The Committee for Equality and Justice meets approximately four times per year in St. Paul. Meetings generally take place for three and a half hours. In addition, members participate in subcommittees that meet between the full CEJ meetings.


    Membership for the Committee for Equality and Justice is reflective of the state's geographic and demographic diversity and is comprised of 26 individuals. Members of the public, justice system partners, attorneys, court staff and judges are encouraged to apply.


    Specific questions about membership on the committee may be directed to CEJ staff at (651) 284-4343 or CEJ@courts.state.mn.us.


    To be considered for appointment, submit a letter of interest and resume to CEJ@courts.state.mn.us or:

    Minnesota Judicial Council

    Committee for Equality and Justice

    Attention: Melanie Larsen Sinouthasy

    25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

    St. Paul, MN 55155


    The application deadline is 4:30 p.m., Friday, October 26, 2018.

  • 10 Sep 2018 6:28 PM | Priscila Barron Sanchez (Administrator)

    Elder Law Institute Scholarships

    The MSBA Elder Law Section has allocated funds to offer up to five or six (5 or 6) scholarships to attend the 2018 Elder Law Institute. Scholarship Committee will exercise its discretion to determine the exact way funds are divided based on the number if applications and any other pertinent factors. The institute occurs on October 22 and 23, 2018, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center in Minneapolis. Each scholarship covers the complete cost of tuition. (Recipients will need to cover any other expenses that they may incur.)
    To qualify: 
    1) you must practice at least partly in elder law;
    2) you must be practicing law within a solo, small firm, legal aid, or public interest law practice in either a paid or unpaid capacity; and 
    3) you must either reside over 150 miles from the Twin Cities or have started your practice in elder law within the last three (3) years. 

    Preference will be given to applicants who come from and/or serve diverse and underserved populations. Unemployed and underemployed attorneys are particularly encouraged to apply.  Applications are available here.
    Interested applicants must apply by midnight on Friday, September 21, 2018.  Scholarship recipients will be notified by Tuesday, September 26, 2018.  Scholarship recipients must be MSBA Elder Law Section members by October 22, 2018; however, applicants do not need to be section members in order to apply and be selected.  Previous recipients of scholarships from the MSBA Elder Law Section are ineligible.

  • 09 Sep 2018 10:53 PM | Priscila Barron Sanchez (Administrator)

    Congratulations to MHBA Past Presidents, Hon. Peter M. Reyes (Latino Judge of the Year) and Tamara Cabán-Ramirez (Latina Attorney of the Year), on their recognitions at the Hispanic National Bar Association’s 2018 Annual Convention.

  • 03 Aug 2018 12:59 AM | Priscila Barron Sanchez (Administrator)
    USCIS Continues to Expand Digital Delivery of FOIA Requests

    We are introducing the second phase of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Immigration Records SysTem (FIRST), which will allow all FOIA requestors to track their requests through a USCIS online account and receive their documents digitally. During the first phase, requestors reported that they could easily login to their account and download their documents.

    Phase two now allows all FOIA requestors to create a USCIS online account, track their cases, and receive their responses electronically.

    Until this new system is fully operational, requestors must continue filing their FOIA requests through the current process (by mail, fax, or email). When fully implemented, FIRST will allow online submission, online case management, and digital delivery for all USCIS FOIA requests.

    This digital delivery process will save time, improve efficiency, and eliminate potential errors that can occur with manually issuing a CD.

    USCIS Announces Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Opportunities

    WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is now accepting applications for two funding opportunities under the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program that will provide up to $10 million in grants for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country.

    These competitive grant opportunities are for organizations that prepare lawful permanent residents for naturalization and promote civic assimilation through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history and civics.

    USCIS seeks to expand availability of high-quality citizenship preparation services throughout the country with these two grant opportunities:

    • Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services. This grant opportunity will fund up to 36 organizations that offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to lawful permanent residents. Applications are due by Aug. 8, 2018.
    • The Refugee and Asylee Assimilation Program. This grant opportunity will fund up to four organizations to provide individualized services to lawful permanent residents who entered the United States under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program or were granted asylum. These services will help them to obtain the skills and knowledge required for successful citizenship and to foster a sense of belonging and attachment to the United States. This grant strives to promote long term civic assimilation of those lawful permanent residents who have identified naturalization as a goal, yet may need additional information, instruction and services to attain it. Applications are due by Aug. 15, 2018.

    USCIS will take into account various program and organizational factors, including past grantee performance and whether an applicant and any sub-awardees are enrolled in E-Verify, when making final award decisions.

    USCIS expects to announce award recipients in September.

    Since 2009, USCIS has awarded approximately $73 million through 353 grants to immigrant-serving organizations. These organizations have provided citizenship preparation services to more than 200,000 lawful permanent residents in 37 states and the District of Columbia. The funding of these grant opportunities is supported by fee funds.

    To apply for one of these funding opportunities, visit grants.gov. For additional information on the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program for fiscal year 2018, visit uscis.gov/grants or email the USCIS Office of Citizenship at citizenshipgrantprogram@uscis.dhs.gov.

    For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook (/uscis).

    New Law Extends CNMI CW-1 Program, Mandates New Fraud Fee, and Will Require E-Verify Participation

    On July 24, 2018, President Trump signed the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018 (the Workforce Act), extending the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker program (the CW-1 program) through 2029 and increasing the CW-1 cap for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The CW-1 program allows employers within the CNMI to apply for permission to employ foreign (nonimmigrant) workers who are otherwise ineligible to work in the CNMI under other nonimmigrant worker categories.

    Effective immediately, CW-1 employers must pay a mandatory $50 fraud prevention and detection fee with each petition, in addition to other current fees. USCIS will reject any petition received after July 24, 2018 that includes incorrect or insufficient fees. This new fraud prevention and detection fee does not apply to CW petitions already filed and pending with USCIS as of July 24, 2018.

    Importantly, the Workforce Act will require CNMI employers seeking CW-1 workers to enroll in E-Verify and comply with the requirements of the E-Verify program. E-Verify is a web-based system that compares information from Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to government records to confirm that an employee is authorized to work in the United States. Although E-Verify enrollment is not currently required it will soon be a requirement for all employers filing for CW-1 visas. USCIS strongly encourages CNMI employers to enroll in the E-Verify program as soon as possible.

    The Workforce Act raises the CW-1 cap for FY 2019 from 4,999 to 13,000, and provides new CW-1 caps for subsequent fiscal years. After announcing on April 11 that it had received CW-1 petitions for more than the number of visas previously available for FY 2019, USCIS will now resume accepting CW-1 petitions. Employers whose petitions were previously rejected because the cap was reached must file a new petition if they want CW workers to be considered under the increased cap. USCIS did not retain and cannot reopen previously rejected petitions.

    In addition to extending the CW-1 program, the Workforce Act extends the following Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 provisions until December 31, 2029:

    • The exemption from national caps for H-1B and H-2B workers in the CNMI and on Guam;
    • The bar on asylum applications in the CNMI; and
    • The CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Investor (E-2C) program.

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is exercising its discretion, as provided in the Act, to delay implementation of other changes to the CW program affecting CW-1 filers until DHS issues an interim final rule. As of July 24, 2018, USCIS will only accept the May 9, 2018, version of Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker. USCIS will reject and return fees for any petitions submitted using a December 11, 2017, or earlier version date of Form I-129CW.

  • 26 Jul 2018 9:42 PM | Priscila Barron Sanchez (Administrator)

    The Hispanic Contractors Association of Minnesota is accepting new board members.

    Time commitment is as follows:

    1. We meet once every two months for an hour for our board meetings

    2. We conduct OSHA safety training, presentations and work with other construction workforce and safety related organizations.  We have a live 30 minute radio show-during the summer twice a month.  We have had PSA's with Univision TV.  All in all the time is about 10 to 15 hours a month.


    We mostly communicate via email, text and phone calls among our board members.

    We are looking for someone that is not afraid to speak in public in both English and in Spanish with potential members, sponsors and state senators and representative as well as with government officials such as MN Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Ken Peterson, MN-OSHA Directors, etc...


    The Hispanic Contractors Association of Minnesota (HCA-MN) is in support of equity and non-discrimination construction work conditions in the construction industry. We are an organization that implements good faith efforts to benefit and support union and non-union affiliated organizations that have the best interest in mind of the Hispanic construction community in MN.  Our initiatives are not based on union or non-union objectives or issues but are rather based on the Hispanic construction community's well-being and economic growth.  Our interest encourages the improvement of the undeserved and underrepresented group's lives and protection of their federal right to have a workplace free of recognized health & safety hazards, standards/non-discrimination in the workplace.  The HCA-MN has union affiliated  and non-union affiliated contractor members, individual members as well as sponsors, and for that reason we are neither against nor in favor of unions." 

    If you're interested in serving, please contact pedro@hispaniccontractorsmn.org.

  • 20 Jul 2018 11:05 AM | Aleida Conners (Administrator)

    Minnesota Lawyer has announced its 2018 Diversity & Inclusion Awards Honorees. The MHBA congratulates all of the recipients, including MHBA Past-President Bryan Browning and MHBA members Judge Jeffrey Bryan and Jim Rowader.


  • 07 Jul 2018 3:13 PM | Priscila Barron Sanchez (Administrator)

     The ABA is partnering with the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University to do a research project which examines the opportunities and challenges facing individuals in the legal profession of the 21st century, with consideration of women, minorities, people of differing sexual orientations and gender identities, people with disabilities, and others.

    Please take a few moments to complete this 15-minute, anonymous survey.  The findings will be used to help develop best practices in the legal profession.

  • 12 Apr 2018 4:48 PM | Priscila Barron Sanchez (Administrator)

    Minnesota Women Lawyers Announces its 2018 Annual Awards Recipients

    Tuesday, April 10, 2018   (0 Comments
    Posted by: Hannah Zuercher

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  

    April 10, 2018
    Contact: Debra Pexa (612/338-3205; dpexa@mwlawyers.org)

    Minnesota Women Lawyers Announces its 2018 Annual Awards Recipients

    Minnesota Women Lawyers is pleased to announce its 2018 Annual Award recipients.  The Awards will be presented at MWL's 46th Annual Meeting on April 27, 2018.


    The MWL Equal Justice Award will be presented to Rebecca Rosefelt, a second-year law student at the University of Minnesota Law School, for her paper entitled “Empowerment to Breastfeed as a Right: Making Minneapolis a Global Leader in Women’s Rights.”  Honorable mention recognition will also go to Trevor Matthews, a third-year law student at University of Minnesota Law School for his paper entitled “Most Integrated Setting:  Omstead, Fry and Segregated Public Schools for Students with Disabilities.”  All Minnesota law students are invited to submit papers or articles they have written on a topic involving law and social justice.

    The MWL Leadership Award will be presented to Fish & Richardson P.C.  This award recognizes legal employers throughout the state that strive to enhance the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ.

    The Myra Bradwell Award will be presented to Luz Maria Frias, President & CEO at YWCA Minneapolis. This award is presented to an MWL member who expresses the highest ideals of the legal profession and who possesses the qualities exemplified by Myra Bradwell such as courage, perseverance and leadership on issues of concern to women. 

    The Service to MWL Award will be presented to Veena Iyer, Shareholder at Nilan Johnson Lewis.  This award is designed to recognize the MWL member, group of members or 100% club member whose efforts during the past program year have contributed substantially to advance MWL’s mission.

    Please join us at the MWL 46th Annual Meeting luncheon, as we honor each of our award recipients. All Annual Meeting guests and MWL Conference attendees are also invited to join us for a dessert reception immediately following the Annual Meeting luncheon and program.  Registration is available HERE.  Please RSVP by Monday, April 23rd, 2018.

    COMING SOON: MWL will highlight each of our award recipients in the forthcoming April 2018 issue of With Equal Right.

    For more information, Executive Director Debra Pexa (612/338-3205; dpexa@mwlawyers.org)

    Minnesota Women Lawyers is an association of nearly 1,300 attorneys, judges, law students and legal employers, dedicated to advancing the success of women attorneys and striving for a just society. 

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