As Scott Hicks may say… Tales from the labyrinth. This is a response to a B-2 visa visitor extension of status. The Applicant is a 6 year old girl who had heart transplant at Cincinnati children’s Hospital. #USCIS wants to know why she needs to remain in the USA and is seeking to deny her visa. No kidding. Just to let you know her transplant was fully paid for by a large foundation and has private insurance foreign to cover her current costs. She is not taking advantage of the system. #immigration

Customs and legalization of Marijuana

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforces the laws of the United States and U.S. laws will not change following Canada’s legalization of marijuana. Requirements for international travelers wishing to enter the United States are governed by and conducted in accordance with U.S. Federal Law, which supersedes state laws.


HOWEVER, if a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.

Although medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. States and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana or the facilitation of the aforementioned remain illegal under U.S. Federal Law.

Consequently, crossing the border or arriving at a U.S. port of entry in violation of this law may result in denied admission, seizure, fines, and apprehension.

Generally, any arriving alien who is determined to be a drug abuser or addict, or who is convicted of, admits having committed, or admits committing, acts which constitute the essential elements of a violation of (or an attempt or conspiracy to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance, is inadmissible to the United States.

A Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S.

USCIS to implement NTA memo – with an important exception… for now

Notice to Appear, NTA

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin implementing the June 28 Updated
Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving
Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens Policy Memorandum (PM) (PDF, 140 KB) on Oct. 1, 2018. USCIS will
take an incremental approach to implement this memo.

An NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge. This is the first
step in starting removal proceedings. Starting Oct. 1, 2018, USCIS may issue NTAs on denied status impacting
applications, including but not limited to, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent
Residence or Adjust Status, and Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

USCIS will send denial letters for status-impacting applications that ensures benefit seekers are provided
adequate notice when an application for a benefit is denied. If applicants are no longer in a period of
authorized stay, and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA. USCIS will provide details
on how applicants can review information regarding their period of authorized stay, check travel
compliance, or validate departure from the United States.

The June 2018 NTA Policy Memo will not be implemented with respect to employment-based petitions
and humanitarian applications and petitions at this time. Existing guidance for these case types will
remain in effect.

USCIS will continue to prioritize cases of individuals with criminal records, fraud, or national security
concerns. There has been no change to the current processes for issuing NTAs on these case types, and
USCIS will continue to use its discretion in issuing NTAs for these cases.

Master’s Series #2. Richard Fleischer Talks about Letters of Recommendation

Richard I. Fleischer - Immigration and Naturalization Lawyer

   Letters of Recommendation in Certain Employment-Based Cases

In general, the two most common ways to obtain legal permanent residence in the United States (symbolized by the so-called “green card” are through certain family members or through employment.

If through employment a potential employer goes through the labor certification process to show, if able, that there are no U.S. workers who are ready, willing and able to be hired for the job.

There are several categories in which there are exceptions to having the potential employer go through this recruiting process such as Aliens of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researchers and National Interest Waiver cases. No test of the labor market is needed for these categories, but the regulations and case law require proof that the elements of each are met.

In those cases that do not require an alien labor certification, letters of recommendation are a “must.” These letters are not in a style that one requests for a job, that is showing a person’s uniqueness, hard working style, or easy to work with personality. The letters that are needed are all about a petitioner’s IMPACT on a field of endeavor.

Therefore, the key is picking the field of endeavor as all letters of recommendation go toward this. I like to make the field as narrow as possible to show impact easier, but not so narrow that that there may be a problem finding an employer in the same field. An employer is not necessary to actually file the petition for Outstanding Researchers (EB 1-2) and National Interest Waivers (waiver of alien labor certification) (EB-2) but is necessary for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability EB 1-1. However, a potential employer is for all these employment-based categories once the initial petition is approved, to get the next step, the immigrant visa or if in the US the application for adjustment of status to legal permanent residence. Such employment must be in the field that the initial approved petition was approved for.

Once the field is picked the letters of recommendation go toward showing the alien’s impact on the field.

Letters should come from people that do not know the alien directly but do know if his/her work. USCIS still thinks the letters only from people who know the alien, maybe a colleague or mentor, will always be favorable and therefore not as reliable as compared to writers who do not work with the alien and, therefore, will give an unbiased impact opinion as he/she has “nothing” to lose.

Letters should come from inside the U.S. and if can, from outside the U.S. If in the U.S. they should come from as many different locations as possible to show wide impact. If can, letters should come form industry and well as form academia.

Since a number of writers of the letters are not used to writing in the way the USCIS favors, obtaining a rough draft is advisable in order to edit it. Also, sending sample letters to writers is helpful as a guide.