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.

STEM employees are no longer to work at third Party Sites

In April 2018, USCIS updated the page on its website for Optional Practice Training for STEM students which seems to indicate its view that F-1 students in the STEM OPT program are not permitted to engage in OPT at third party locations. Of particular concern is the following statement: “For instance, the training experience may not take place at the place of business or worksite of the employer’s clients or customers because ICE would lack authority to visit such sites.” According to the preamble to the March 11, 2016 STEM OPT Final Rule:

There are several aspects of the STEM OPT extension that do not make it apt for certain types of arrangements, including multiple employer arrangements, sole proprietorships, employment through ”temp” agencies, employment through consulting firm arrangements that provide labor for hire, and other relationships that do not constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship…. Accordingly, DHS clarifies that students cannot qualify for STEM OPT extensions unless they will be bona fide employees of the employer signing the Training Plan, and the employer that signs the Training Plan must be the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience.

Therefore, it appears that the change in language on the USCIS website is overreaching, and that a STEM OPT employee could be placed at the worksite of an employer’s client or customer, as long as the STEM OPT student is a bona fide employee of the employer signing the training plan, and the employer that signs the training plan provides the practical training experience. This issue has been brought to the attention of DHS and interested members of Congress through industry groups and others and we understand that the issue is currently under review. AILA is monitoring this issue closely and will update this page with additional information as it becomes available.

How will the Government Shutdown affect the Immigration process and Immigration Agencies?

How will the Shut Down affect he Immigration Process and their Agencies? ?

Generally, if the government shuts for budgetary reasons, all but “essential” personnel are furloughed and are not allowed to work.

USCIS: USCIS is a fee-funded agency with the exception of E-Verify, so if the government shuts down, only E-Verify shuts down. Otherwise, it’s business as usual.

January 21, 2018 Update: USCIS has confirmed that DACA renewal processing will continue.
DOS: Visa and passport operations are fee-funded and should not be impacted by a lapse in appropriations, but operating status and funding will need to be monitored closely. If visa operations are affected, consular posts will generally only handle diplomatic visas and “life or death” emergencies.

CBP: Inspection and law enforcement personnel are considered “essential.” Ports of entry will be open; however, processing of applications filed at the border may be impacted.

ICE: ICE enforcement and removal operations will continue, and ICE attorneys will typically focus on the detained docket during a shutdown. The ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) offices are unaffected since SEVP is funded by fees.

EOIR: EOIR’s detained docket is typically considered an essential function and would therefore continue to operate. During the 2013 shutdown, EOIR continued to accept court filings, even in non-detained cases.

DOL: The OFLC would cease processing all applications in the event of a government shutdown, and personnel would not be available to respond to e-mail or other inquiries. OFLC’s web-based systems, iCERT and PERM, would be inaccessible, and BALCA dockets will be placed on hold.

CIS Ombudsman: The DHS Office of the CIS Ombudsman would close and would not accept any inquiries through its online case intake system.

L Visa and The Texas Service Center

Texas Service Center to Begin Processing Form I-129 for L Visas
On February 12, 2018, the Texas Service Center (TSC) will begin processing certain Form I-129, Petition for
a Nonimmigrant Worker petitions for L nonimmigrant classification, also known as L visas. The TSC will
share this workload with the California Service Center to balance workloads and to provide flexibility as
USCIS works towards improving processing times and efficiency. The Vermont Service Center will no
longer process any new Form I‑129 petitions requesting L nonimmigrant classification.
Petitioners requesting an L nonimmigrant classification should file their Form I-129 at the address
indicated on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker page. Starting
March 12, 2018, USCIS may reject any of these applications that are filed at the wrong service center.