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The USCIS has issued a policy alert stating that although many states have decriminalized the sale, possession, and use of marijuana, such acts are nevertheless in violation of federal law. Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a “Schedule I” controlled substance whose manufacture, cultivation, possession, or distribution may lead to criminal
and immigration consequences. Hence, a violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, established by a conviction or admission, is generally a bar to establishing "Good Moral Character" for naturalization even where the conduct does not violate state law.

As of April 19, 2019, an applicant who is involved in certain marijuana related activities may be denied naturalization to U.S. citizenship, even if such activity is not unlawful under applicable state or foreign laws. In order to be eligible to naturalize to U.S. citizenship, an applicant must be a lawful permanent resident for 5 years and be physically present in the U.S. for at least 1/2 of that time. All applicants must show good moral character and be otherwise admissible to the U.S. Permanent residents who were sponsored by a U.S. citizen spouse and are still married to that spouse have a shorter time requirement. See here for more information about the naturalization process and requirements. It is important to note that if an application for naturalization is denied due to failure to show good moral character, the applicant could be placed into removal / deportation proceedings.

Please note that the information provided on this website is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed nor relied upon as legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. For a free consultation with Attorney Thomas M. Lee, please contact us.

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Ever since I began practicing immigration law in 2000, I have used the same methodology in preparing my countless clients for their green card / adjustment of status interviews. First impressions are truly important during any interview with the USCIS. A key to making that important first impression is thoughtful organization of your supporting documents. Many USCIS adjudicating officers have complimented me on how I prepare my clients for their interviews and tell me terrible nightmare stories for those who come to their interviews unprepared. In particular, the USCIS officers tend to disfavor the unprepared - those who bring their documents in a disorganized fashion piled randomly in a shopping bag. This is because the unprepared inter...

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The Court of Appeal for this district recently held that an employee is obliged to arbitrate any disputes with the employer once the employer declares that continued employment manifests assent to such a requirement, even if the employee declines to sign an arbitration agreement.

Policy Announcement

An employee brought her action against her employer on December 22, 2016. Twenty days earlier, the employer had announced its policy requiring arbitration of disputes.

The day after the employee sued, she and her lawyer presented a letter to the employer indicating that she would not sign the arbitration agreement.

Implied Consent

The Court of Appeal nevertheless held that “California law in this area is settled: when an employee continues h...

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced the start of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap season, start dates for premium processing of cap-subject H-1B petitions, and the launch of its new H-1B data hub, while reminding petitioners of its new H-1B cap selection process. These new efforts underscore the agency’s commitment to supporting President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order designed to protect U.S. workers.

“USCIS continually strives to improve the administration of the H-1B program and make it work better for employers, our agency, and U.S. workers,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “We are also committed to fulfilling the president’s Buy Ame...

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The USCIS will resume premium processing on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, for all H-1B petitions. If you received a request for evidence (RFE) for a pending petition, you should include the RFE response with the premium processing request.

When an H-1B petitioner properly requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the USCIS does not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee of $1,410.00 and continues with expedited processing of the petition.

If you received a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition, and you are requesting premium processing service, you must submit the premium pro...

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The new calendar year brings in new employment laws that both employees and employers should consider. Notably, the changes are geared towards providing more protections for employees in the workplace and some are in response to recent high profile sexual harassment incidents in the entertainment industry. Please note that the information provided here is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed nor relied upon as legal advice.

1) Expanded Sexual Harassment Training Requirements: Government Code section 12950.1 has been revised to require that employers with five or more employees to provide anti-harassment training to all employees, not just supervisory employees. All applicable supervisory employee...

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The USCIS will resume premium processing on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (the “master’s cap”). Petitioners who have received requests for evidence (RFEs) for pending FY 2019 cap petitions should include their RFE response with any request for premium processing they may submit.

H-1B visas provide employers with skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the USCIS does not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, it refunds the petitioner’s premi...

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to first electronically register with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period. Under the proposed rule, USCIS would also reverse the order by which USCIS selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption, likely increasing the number of beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected for an H-1B cap number, and introducing a more meritorious selection of beneficiaries.

The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily em...

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The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a preliminary injunction keeping in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program pending judgment in a challenge to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision to cancel it.

Judge Kim M. Wardlaw wrote the 90-page majority opinion, joined in by Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen. Judge John B. Owens wrote an opinion in which he concurred in the result.

Since its inception in 2012 by then-President Barack H. Obama, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) has allowed certain illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to apply for permission to remain in the country and legally work for a two-year, renewable period. The program does ...

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The California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in the matter of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles earlier this year establishing a new and employee-friendly test in determining whether an employee has been misclassified as an independent contractor.

In particular, the Court embraced a standard presuming that all workers are employees instead of contractors, and placed the burden on any entity (business, corporation, or person, etc.) classifying an individual as an independent contractor of establishing that such classification is proper under a newly adopted “ABC test.”

Under the ABC test, a worker will be deemed to be an employee and not an independent contractor unless the entity proves:

(...

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