October 2018

CBP Issues Statement on Admissibility of Canadians in Canada’s Marijuana Industry

U. S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Newsroom statement regarding Canada’s marijuana legalization, stated that "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. 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. "

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USCIS Announces Workload Transfer of H-1B Petitions from CSC to NSC

In an effort to advance processing times for H1B nonimmigrant petitions, on October 1, 2018, USCIS announced that it transferred some H1B nonimmigrant Form I-129 Petitions for Nonimmigrant Workers from the California Service Center (CSC) to the Nebraska Service Center (NSC).

Hopefully, this will provide some relief to anxious F-1 previously employed on H1B Cap Gap. Since, August 28, 2018, USCIS had announced premium processing suspension was extended for H-1B Cap petitions until February 19, 2019.

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USCIS Updated Information on Issuance of RFEs and NOIDs

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on July 13, 2018, posted a RFE NOID Policy Memorandum (PM) effective September 11, 2018, provided guidance to USCIS adjudicators regarding their discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) when required initial evidence was not submitted or the evidence of record fails to establish eligibility.

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USCIS Using Tablets to Administer the English Reading and Writing Tests for Naturalization

On Oct. 1, USCIS began using digital tablets to administer the English reading and writing tests during naturalization interviews as part of the agency’s ongoing business modernization efforts. Although USCIS applicants already use digital tablets to sign or verify parts of their applications, this new approach expands tablet usage, allowing the device to be used for a greater portion of the application process. USCIS will be able to continue using the paper process on a case-by-case basis.

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Proposed Changes to Public Charge

American Immigration Council article summarizes public charge current law and proposed changes to the law.

Under current law, immigrants can be blocked from obtaining a green card on public charge grounds if they have received or are likely to receive public benefits in the form of cash assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The government must believe the immigrant is "primarily dependent" on these benefits to be declared a public charge.

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October 1, 2018 USCIS To Implement New Policy Memo on NTAs

On June 28, the USCIS issued a new Notice to Appear (NTA) policy memorandum (PM) (PDF, 140 KB), providing guidance on when USCIS may issue Form I-862, Notice to Appear.

An NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge. This is the first step in starting removal proceedings against them.

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F-1 "Cap-gap" Status and Work Authorization Extension Only Valid Through Sept. 30, 2018

F-1 students with "cap-gap" work authorization valid through Sept. 30 whose H-1B petition remains pending on or after Oct. 1, are not authorized to continue to work on or after Oct. 1. F-1 cap-gap student that continue to work without authorization accrue unlawful presence.

While USCIS has allowed H1B cap petitions to receive premium processing in past years. And, despite lower H1B cap petition filings, USCIS has not adjudicated H-1B change of status petitions for many F-1 students as of Oct. 1.

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