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Update – 5/6/19


Visa Bulletin Shows Slight Forward Progress in Some Backlogged Preference Categories

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for May 2019 shows slight forward progress for EB-1 for all chargeability areas except China and India, EB-2 for China and India, EB-3 and Other Workers China, India, and the Philippines, and EB-5 China and Vietnam. The remainder of the priority dates remain current with per-country quotas not reached.

Regarding EB-1 for China and India, the bulletin notes a continued “extremely high rate of demand” that may require temporary retrogression until October.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the agency will follow the “Final Action Dates” chart for the month for accepting I-485 Adjustment of Status applications.

Details: Visa Bulletin for May 2019 is here; USCIS announcement is here.


New USCIS Policy Guidance Clarifies Marijuana-Related Activities Bar on Naturalization

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued policy guidance to clarify that certain marijuana-related activities generally bar naturalization even if they are decriminalized under applicable state laws. Such an applicant may be deemed to lack good moral character if found to have violated federal law, the guidance states.

Federal law classifies marijuana as a “Schedule I” controlled substance whose manufacture (which includes production, such as planting, cultivation, growing, or harvesting), distribution, dispensing, or possession may lead to immigration consequences. Some practitioners are advising clients not to work for or invest in marijuana-related companies. Reportedly, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is also checking social media accounts.

Details: Announcement and policy manual update is here; Video warning immigrants co-produced by Servicios De La Raza and the Marijuana Industry Group is here.


State Dept. to Issue Final Rule on “Discontinuing” Granting Visas When Country is Sanctioned

The Department of State will publish a final rule, effective April 22, 2019, modifying current regulations to reflect that consular officers are to discontinue granting visas to individuals from certain sanctioned countries.

Under the current regulation, consular officers either grant or deny every visa application. The final rule creates a third and different action, requiring consular officers to discontinue granting visas when a country has been sanctioned for “denying or delaying accepting one or more of its nationals subject to a final order of removal from the United States.”

Details: Final rule is here.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Announces New Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention, New CBP Commissioner

Kevin McAleenan, formerly head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the new Acting Homeland Security Secretary, has replaced Kirstjen Nielsen, who was forced to resign recently amid President Trump’s declarations that he wanted a “tougher direction” for immigration. One of his first acts was announcing the establishment of a new Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on April 19, 2019. Acting Secretary McAleenan also designated John P. Sanders, CBP Chief Operating Officer, as the senior official performing the functions and duties of the CBP Commissioner.

Details: Statement from Secretary McAleenan is here; Announcement of new office is here; Announcement of Mr. Sanders as head of CBP is here; notes on Secretary McAleenan’s recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border are here;McAleenan bio is here.


Attorney General’s Decision Opens Door to Indefinite Detention of Asylum Seekers

A new decision by Attorney General William Barr holds that a person who is transferred from expedited removal proceedings to full removal proceedings after establishing a credible fear of persecution or torture is ineligible for release on bond. Such a person “must be detained until his removal proceedings conclude, unless he is granted parole,” the decision states.

Details: Matter of M-S- is here.

Klasko News


William A. Stock Spoke with Law360 about Recent Changes for Canadians Regarding J-1 Visa Holders
Bill was quoted in this Law360 article about how Canadians are no longer subject to J-1 visa residency requirements.

William A. Stock Quoted on about the H-1B Process
Bill was quoted multiple times in this article addressing criticism of the H1B visa.

Klasko Spring Seminar Featured on
The firm’s 15th Annual Spring Seminar hosted at the Union League of Philadelphia was picked up on the

William A. Stock Spoke to WJLA ABC 7 about Undocumented Students and In-State Tuition
Bill was quoted in this article about how in-state tuition policies affect costs for U.S. student citizens and undocumented students, and what the federal government is trying to do about it.

Bloomberg Law Spoke with Bill Stock about the Latest Visa Lottery Results of the H-1B Visa Program
Bill was quoted in this Bloomberg Law article regarding this year’s statistics of H-1B visa lottery petition submissions.

William A. Stock on about Applying New Standards to H-1B Adjudications
Bill was quoted in this article about a huge increase in first quarter H-1B denials, even for those that were previously approved.


Lisa T. Felix | Maria M. Mihaylova
Associates Lisa and Maria spoke to students at Rutgers University on April 5th about post-graduation employment options.

H. Ronald Klasko
Ron presented on 3 panels for the AILA Colorado Chapter Federal Litigation CLE Conference on April 10th about litigation options and guidance.

William A. Stock l Karuna Simbeck
Bill and Karuna spoke at Wistar Institute about green card options for researchers on April 22nd


Andrew J. Zeltner
Drew will be speaking on a panel with young professionals about new services and products for Philadelphians making waves in the tech industry at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia on May 7th.


Saving Immigration Cases Through Litigation
Drew Zeltner explains the process of challenging USCIS denials as a last resort option and the factors that lead up to successful litigation in this article published by The Legal Intelligencer.

CLIENT ALERT: Israeli Nationals Now Eligible for E-2 Visas
Oliver Yang issued this client alert about the E-2 visa becoming a new option for companies and citizens of Israel.



On Tuesday April 16, Klasko Immigration Law Partners hosted its 15th annual Spring Seminar. The firm hosted over 200 guests at the Union League of Philadelphia for a day packed with the latest updates and trends including RFE and NOIDs, litigation, and strategies for success. The firm looks forward to hosting guests again next year.

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This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Klasko Immigration Law Partners is an active member.

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