Legalization of Marijuana in Canada and its Implications for Cross-border Travel

The Canadian Senate passed a bill on June 19, 2018, that will allow for the legalization of recreational marijuana. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 52-29. This was a historic moment, since Canada is only the second country in the world and the first G7 country to allow a nationwide marijuana market. This bill was originally introduced on April 13, 2017. It passed the House of Commons in November of 2017. A vote in the Senate was the last step in the process. The Canadian government is expecting to select a date in September to implement the bill.  The intent of this bill is to discourage the Canadian youth from using marijuana and decrease the profits that criminals and organized crime gain from illegal drug activity. Once the bill is formally approved, adults will be able to carry and share marijuana in public, in addition to cultivating plants and preparing marijuana products for personal use. The Canadian government expects to see benefits to the economy as a result of this bill’s passage and implementation.  Consumers will be able to purchase marijuana from retailers that are regulated by provinces or territories, or from federally-licensed producers. Consumers will not be […]
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Department of Homeland Security Publishes Goals to Ensure Security at the Northern Border

On June 12, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a document titled the DHS Northern Border Strategy. This document published findings of the assessment DHS conducted in 2017 regarding security issues and concerns at the U.S. border with Canada. While DHS concluded that the northern border faced more limited threats compared to the southern border, there nevertheless remain some concerns. This document presents DHS’s three main goals, along with additional objectives and instructions that will help accomplish these goals. DHS aims to implement this plan in fiscal year 2020, and reexamine it every five years for updates. The Northern Border Strategy aims to safeguard the northern border against terrorist and criminal threats, facilitate the flow of lawful cross-border trade and travel and strengthen cross-border resilience. These efforts will be coordinated between federal, state, local, tribal and Canadian entities. DHS notes that the main concern at the Canadian border is the bi-directional flow of drugs, although there are other issues present such as active transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). The first goal presented in this document is to enhance security operations at the Canadian border. DHS proposes to accomplish this goal in several ways. First, the U.S. and Canada must […]
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DACA Update: Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal of DACA Ruling

In September, the Trump administration announced that it would shut down the DACA program on March 5. Since then, two federal judges have ordered the administration to maintain major components of the program while legal challenges move forward. In January, Judge William H. Alsup of the Federal District Court in San Francisco ruled that the administration had abused its discretion and had acted arbitrarily and capriciously in rescinding the program, and earlier this month, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn issued a similar ruling. As expected, the Trump administration promptly appealed Judge Alsup’s ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, and that court put the appeal on a fast track. In an unusual move, however, the administration also asked the Supreme Court to grant immediate review, a rarely used procedure that if granted would completely bypass the appeals court. The procedure itself is called “certiorari before judgment,” and it is hardly ever used and almost always denied. So how did the Supreme Court respond?  In a major blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of Judge Alsup’s ruling, a decision that […]
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Immigration Update: AOS Applicants to Experience Delays in Issuance of EAD & Advance Parole Cards

If an individual is currently residing in the U.S. and qualifies for permanent resident status, a green card may be obtained without leaving the country. This process is called Adjustment of Status (AOS). Part of the AOS application process involves applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD or work permit) and a travel permit (Advance Parole or AP). These documents enable the applicant to work in the U.S. and travel abroad while their AOS application is pending. If an individual departs the U.S. prior to issuance of an EAD/Advance Parole document, their AOS application is considered abandoned and will be denied. Delay of EAD/AP Cards Historically, USCIS was required to adjudicate EAD applications within 90 days of receipt. Very recently, however, this government requirement was rescinded. As a result, AOS applicants are now experiencing significant delays in the issuance of these EAD/AP cards. Within the last two weeks, current trends and industry reports are indicating that these cards will now take between five to seven months for receipt. What This Means for AOS Applicants This is hugely problematic, as delays with EAD applications may impact an applicant’s continued ability to work in the U.S. and travel abroad. Individuals with underlying […]
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Immigration Update: AOS Applicants to Experience Delays in Issuance of EAD & Advance Parole Cards

If an individual is currently residing in the U.S. and qualifies for permanent resident status, a green card may be obtained without leaving the country. This process is called Adjustment of Status (AOS). Part of the AOS application process involves applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD or work permit) and a travel permit (Advance Parole or AP). These documents enable the applicant to work in the U.S. and travel abroad while their AOS application is pending. If an individual departs the U.S. prior to issuance of an EAD/Advance Parole document, their AOS application is considered abandoned and will be denied. Delay of EAD/AP Cards Historically, USCIS was required to adjudicate EAD applications within 90 days of receipt. Very recently, however, this government requirement was rescinded. As a result, AOS applicants are now experiencing significant delays in the issuance of these EAD/AP cards. Within the last two weeks, current trends and industry reports are indicating that these cards will now take between five to seven months for receipt. What This Means for AOS Applicants This is hugely problematic, as delays with EAD applications may impact an applicant’s continued ability to work in the U.S. and travel abroad. Individuals with underlying […]
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What to Keep in Mind During NAFTA Renegotiations

One of the critical debates surrounding the original NAFTA negotiations was the impact the treaty would have on U.S. labor markets. Many feared that millions of U.S. jobs would be lost to competition. Labor costs are cheaper in Mexico, so U.S. companies move factories there to take advantage. This idea is what fueled President Trump’s campaign promise to end the treaty altogether, but his stance has changed a little since then. In April, he, along with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, agreed to renegotiate the pact. A deal will not be reached overnight, and the President continues to warn the foreign leaders of his willingness to terminate the treaty if a fair deal is not struck. The renegotiations, however, provide all three nations with an opportunity to modernize many outdated provisions.    NAFTA Goals and Benefits The intended consequences of NAFTA were to bolster economic growth. Initially, the goals and objectives of the treaty were to: Eliminate tariffs for certain products; Eliminate certain non-tariff barriers; Establish standards in areas such as health, safety and industry; Expand telecommunications trade; Reduce textile and apparel barriers; Expand free trade in agriculture; Expand trade in financial services; Open insurance markets; Increase investment opportunities; […]
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Travel Ban Guidance

On June 26, the Supreme Court partially restored President Trump’s travel ban. To gain entry to the U.S., individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are now required to demonstrate a credible claim of a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Implementation of the travel ban began at 8 p.m. (EDT) on June 29, 2017. What is a “bona fide relationship”? The Supreme Court did not answer this question. Many have been left wondering how the decision will affect adjudication procedures, and who it will impact. The Department of State has responded. A policy memorandum has been issued to all diplomatic and consular posts around the world. It explains how officers are to approach visa applications, and it provides guidance as to what qualifies as a “bona fide relationship.” For starters, the travel ban does not apply to: Applicants who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S.; Applicants who are inside the U.S. on June 29, 2017; Applicants who had a valid visa at 5 p.m. EST on January 27, 2017; Any applicant who has a valid visa on June 29, 2017; Lawful […]
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