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When the U.S. State Department offered and then reversed its offer for skilled foreign workers to apply for green cards earlier this month, the effect reverberated throughout immigration law practices throughout the country. The government’s surprise move has also spawned a class action lawsuit that is expected to be filed this week, in which at least one Pennsylvania law firm will have a connection. Ron Klasko, managing partner of immigration boutique Klasko Rulon Stock & Seltzer, said his firm would not be directly involved in the lawsuit, but would have an informal consulting role with the organization that is expected to file the suit, the American Immigration Law Foundation. Klasko Rulon, like other immigration practices throughout the state, has felt a direct impact since the U.S. Department of State rescinded its bulletin on July 2 that had alerted certain skilled workers that they could file for long-awaited green cards throughout July. According to immigration attorneys, the State Department issued a bulletin on June 13 that gave the go-ahead for nearly all skilled foreign workers, many of them high-tech, previously deemed eligible for an employer-sponsored visa to now apply for green cards — an opening many had waited years for. The attorneys said their offices then scrambled to start filing on July 2 — the first day applications would be accepted — working nights and weekends only to be warned on June 29 that the State Department might change the bulletin. The department indeed reversed the bulletin on July 2, saying it had enough applications and that all of the about 140,000 employment-based green cards had been issued for the year. The move sparked outrage among the applicants, their attorneys, and immigration rights groups last week, one of the results of which is the anticipated AILF class action. (A lawsuit has already been filed in Chicago, according to one attorney.) Immigrant workers and their employers had canceled vacations, gotten medical exams, and flown children back to the U.S., among other things to properly file their applications, the attorneys said. State department officials have said the department already had sufficient applications to fill the remaining green cards. Richard D. Steel of immigration boutique Steel Rudnick & Ruben described the government’s action as “disgraceful and cruel.” Read more about it in Friday’s Legal.

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