The Conflict between U.S. and Foreign Marijuana Legalization Laws and U.S. Federal Drug and Immigration Laws

The use of legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and the recreational use of marijuana is legal in 10 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Other U.S. states are currently considering the enactment of similar legalization of marijuana laws. Numerous foreign countries, such as Canada where the Cannabis Act came into effect on October 17, 2018, also have decriminalized marijuana use.
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On April 1, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new rule for the lottery process for H-lB cap-subject petitions will become final. The significant changes are as follows:

  1. An electronic registration requirement for U.S. employers wishing to file H-lB cap subject petitions; and
  2. Reversal of the order by which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will select petitions under the H-1B cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemptions.


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On Friday, April 27, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that as of April 30th it will begin phasing in use of the U.S. Postal Service’s (“USPS”) Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery Service for certain benefit-conferring immigration documents. The affected documents include permanent resident cards (e.g. “green cards”), employment authorization cards (“EAD”) and

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced on April 11 that the agency had randomly selected enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally mandated cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for FY2019.  USCIS received 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 2, including petitions filed

Certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-lB visa holders have been eligible for U.S. employment authorization, following a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) rule change in May 2015[1]. Since that time, thousands of spouses with H-4 classifications have applied for and obtained employment authorization documents (“EAD”). With these EADs, they have entered the

On January 31, 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that an extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Syria was warranted, given that the armed conflict and extraordinary conditions supporting Syria’s original designation for TPS are ongoing. Having reached this determination after discussion with interagency partners, Syria’s TPS designation has been extended

Those of us who have occasion to visit our local, state or federal criminal courts do not expect to see law enforcement officers, particularly federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) officers, enter such respected and orderly places to arrest targeted foreign nationals for civil immigration violations leading to their removal or deportation from the

The answer to this question is “not necessarily.”  After the FY 2018 H-1B lottery, many participating U.S. employers and beneficiaries breathed a sigh of relief and gave a hearty cheer when their checks for the H-1B filing fees were cashed and a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) receipt notice was received for their

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) Service Center Operations Directorate has confirmed that they are not anticipating any procedural changes for the fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) H-1B cap season. USCIS intends to follow the same procedures that were used for the 2018 H-1B cap season, which presumably would not include a pre-registration system. In