Court Rules in Favor of DACA Applicants – For Now

For those keeping track of the ongoing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, debate, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently ruled in favor of DACA applicants.  Trump ended the program, which provides employment authorization and protection from deportation for approximately 700,000 young people, back in March. The District Court has since held that the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to rescind DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” and vacated the termination of the program. As a part of this ruling, the government must now continue to accept and process new and renewal DACA applications, but the government has 90 days to respond to this ruling.

This ruling is important because it once again allows for first-time applicants to apply for DACA, if at least temporarily. Of course, because the government has until July 23, 2018 to respond, it is likely that this current ruling is only the most recent decision affecting thousands of DACA applicants. If and when the government responds, this could again change the rules for first-time DACA applicants. It is also possible that Congress could weigh in and finally put the program to a vote and decide to formalize it, or some version of it, into law. In any case, many DACA recipients remain in a state of limbo, as all three branches of government wrestle with the program’s fate.

NAFTA Employees Critical to U.S. Economy

The North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA, not only contains trade provisions between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, but also provides important immigration provisions as well.  If eliminated, many critical U.S. industries would suffer as a result.

TN employees run the spectrum of career types; including nurses, scientists, consultants, professors, lawyers, economists, and engineers. This cross-border mobility not only helps companies hiring these individuals, but also helps the local economy and individuals benefiting from the services of these employees.  For example, the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit alone employs about 300 Canadian nurses. If the TN were eliminated, the Detroit metropolitan area would feel the impacts immediately in its healthcare industry, as would the patients who rely on these nurses for care. Further, U.S. university students are taught by instructors in TN status, and TN visas allow technology, service, and manufacturing companies to transfer employees across the border. Losing the immigration benefits of NAFTA would harm U.S. workers, consumers, and companies.  The relatively free-flow of professionals and ideas between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico is critical to continuing to help the economies of all three countries grow and prosper.

H-1B Lottery Winners Selected

USCIS announced that it has completed its selection of H-1B lottery winners for fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions. This H-1B season, we have had another successful year with a 66% selection rate and 0 rejections for our clients! Now, we must continue to wait as the government processes these applications and provides approval notices.

For those cases not selected for the H-1B lottery yet, the chance of selection is very low.  However, we do not know for sure until USCIS returns the petitions.   USCIS cannot provide a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions, but we estimate they will be returned within the next couple of months. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the unselected petitions have been returned. If your application was not selected for the H-1B lottery and you would like a consultation on possible creative, alternative solutions, let us know.

This year, USCIS may transfer some H-1B season applications between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the distribution of cases. If your case is transferred, your attorney will receive a notification in the mail regarding the transfer.  Further, Premium Processing of H-1B applications continues to be suspended until further notice. We will continue to track the availability of Premium Processing and the status of all selected petitions to keep our clients updated and informed. Congratulations to all the lucky H-1B lottery winners!

On Radio News Broadcast, Navid Dayzad Shares Travel Ban Analysis

On the news, Navid Dayzad shared his expertise about the travel ban argued at the Supreme Court.  The news story aired on Voice of America, the largest U.S. international news broadcast established in 1942.

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments regarding the legality of the President’s third attempt at a travel ban. As one of the most highly-anticipated Court cases this session, the Court’s decision could not only have significant impacts on the authority of the executive branch for years to come, but also could have tragic consequences for many individuals seeking entry into the United States. The administration argued the legality of its third ban, while the state of Hawaii argued that the ban is unconstitutional and a pretense to deny a group of individuals based on their religion. Navid further shared his legal analysis and interpretation of the arguments, which you can read in part below:

  • About the travel ban, in general: “What you have here is a president making a very broad, blanket stance about a whole category of people without a specific assessment of that individual applicant.”
  • About the administration’s rationale for the countries involved in the ban: “The government has based its choosing of these countries on whether that country has a good system of sharing information with the United States in vetting these people. Purportedly, that’s logical and it makes sense. On the other hand, it leaves a lot of leeway for the president to pick and choose which countries it wants to include in the ban and not to include in the ban.”
  • Interpreting the Justices line of questioning at oral arguments: “There’s no question that the conservative-leaning justices did not want to clip the wings of the president and his powers… This case will have far-reaching ramifications…”
  • Reflections on the travel ban’s moral implications: “This case is very significant because I think it is a true test of our moral compass. Sadly, the travel ban is reminiscent of the ships of refugees who were turned away at Elis Island during World War II, leading instead to their deaths in the concentration camps. And when we reflect on these moments in our history, most of us recognize the immorality, but here we are in the midst of a very similar dilemma. I think this is really the test where we get to show as America that we are not going to let our moral compass falter.”

The Supreme Court will decide whether to keep or strike the Travel Ban by the end of June.  For a preview of how the Justices, may decide, listen to Navid’s news interview.  Visit, scroll to the middle of the page, and click play as shown in the picture below.Screenshot for blog

Immigration Risks of Legalized Marijuana

As more and more states legalize the recreational use of marijuana, it is important to understand how these new laws affect intending immigrants. Noncitizens living in states where marijuana is legal may reasonably think that using marijuana in accordance with state law will not hurt their immigration status or prospects for obtaining lawful status. However, this is incorrect.  With regard to immigration, federal law controls, not state law. It remains a federal offense to possess marijuana.

Particularly, noncitizens who admit to an immigration official that he or she possessed marijuana can be found inadmissible, denied entry into the United States, or have an application for lawful status or naturalization denied. Depending on the circumstances, it can make a lawful permanent resident deportable.  Some immigration officers are aggressively asking noncitizens if they have ever possessed marijuana, so it is important to be mindful of this if you are seeking an immigration benefit.  Therefore, even if you live in a state where it is legal, you should consider the immigration consequences of marijuana use until you are a U.S. citizen.