Skip to main content

Basic Immigration Law 2016

Speaker(s): Alexis S. Axelrad, Avram E. Morell, Cristina Romero, Cyrus D. Mehta, David Grunblatt, Deborah Lee, Hon. Annie S. Garcy, IJ (personal capacity), Jun H. Lee, Karin Wolman, Linda Kenepaske, Lindsay A. Curcio, Mark R. von Sternberg, Marko C. Maglich, Patricia L. Gannon, Thomas E. Moseley, Timothy J. Houghton
Recorded on: Mar. 10, 2016
PLI Program #: 171392


This month, Judge Garcy will have been an Immigration Judge for 26 years – now the longest serving Immigration Judge in New Jersey.

Judge Garcy has maintained her active status as a specialist in the field of Immigration and Nationality Law with the State Bar of Texas since 1984. She has been an invited speaker at programs sponsored by the New Jersey FBA Immigration Section, New Jersey ICLE, Legal Services of New Jersey, KIND, Human Rights First, American Friends Service Committee, Seton Hall and Rutgers School of Law (also in Camden), National Association of Women Judges, and coordinated the Newark Immigration Court’s Model Hearing Program last year. By substituting for Immigration Judge Dorothy Harbeck this year, Judge Garcy is speaking at a PLI program for the first time. Because her first Immigration law training program was a PLI program in New York in 1978, Judge Garcy is very excited to be part of this PLI immigration conference.

Because Judge Garcy presided over the first non-detained juvenile docket in Newark, she has asked to serve as the keynote speaker at Rutgers School of Law’s Fall 2014 conference on juvenile immigrants, called Finding Home. In 2013, she was awarded the First William Strasser Award for dedication to CLE by the New Jersey FBA Immigration Section. She is a member of Judge Michael Chagares’ study group on expanding pro bono representation in the New Jersey Immigration Courts and, in part of that group, has coordinated training programs at two of the New Jersey law schools.

Cyrus D. Mehta, a graduate of Cambridge University and Columbia Law School, is the Managing Partner of Cyrus D. Mehta & Partners PLLC in New York City.

Mr. Mehta is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association   (AILA) where he currently serves as the Vice Chair of its  Ethics Committee overseeing the publication of the multi-volume AILA Ethics Compendium. Mr. Mehta is on the  editorial board of the AILA Law Journal and Bender’s Immigration Bulletin. He is a board member of The New York Immigration Coalition and a board member of Volunteers of Legal Services. He is also special counsel on immigration matters to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

Mr. Mehta was formerly a member of AILA’s Administrative Litigation Task Force; AILA’s FOIA Strategy Committee; AILA’ s EB-5 Committee, former chair  AILA’s Ethics Committee; former chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council and former chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the New York City Bar Association.

Mr. Mehta  is a frequent speaker and writer on various immigration-related issues, including on ethics, and is also an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches a course entitled Immigration and Work. He has also been Chair of the Practising Law Institute’s annual Basic Immigration Law program and the companion Asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Crime Victim, and Other Immigration Relief program for several years.

Mr. Mehta received the AILA 2018 Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award for advancing the practice of immigration law and the AILA 2011 Michael Maggio Memorial Award for his outstanding efforts in providing pro bono representation in the immigration field. He has also received three AILA Presidential Commendations in 2010, 2016 and 2020.  Mr. Mehta is ranked highly by Who’s Who Legal – Corporate Immigration Law and also by Chambers USA and Chambers Global in immigration law, among other rankings.

Deborah Lee is the Deputy Attorney-in-Charge within the Immigration Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society, where she helps manage the legal representation of a wide-range of immigrants before U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office for Immigration Review.  Prior to joining The Legal Aid Society, Deborah Lee was a Senior Staff Attorney with Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project, where she represented foreign-born victims of domestic violence, trafficking and gender violence.  Her previous experience includes serving as Supervising Attorney for the Children’s Legal Project at Americans for Immigrant Justice (previously known as Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center) and a Jesuit Refugee Service Fellow with Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).  Ms. Lee frequently trains and writes on immigration legal remedies for vulnerable populations.  She has published articles in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Immigration & Nationality Handbook, as well as a practice advisory with AILA on immigrant youth issues.  Ms. Lee is a graduate of Swarthmore College, Harvard Divinity School, and Georgetown University Law Center. 

Linda Kenepaske has been representing private and corporate clients in all aspects of immigration law in her New York City based practice for more than 25 years.  Linda has served as chair and member of many local and national AILA committees, was previously Chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee of the New York City Bar, is currently Co-Chair of the Association of Deportation Defense Attorneys  (ADDA) in New York City, and serves on the Federal Bar Association Immigration Law Section Advisory Board.  She lectures frequently on a variety of immigration topics. She is AV rated and has been selected as a “Super Lawyer” since 2009. 

Lindsay A. Curcio is a solo practitioner. Her practice includes employment-based and family-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visas as well as waivers, removal defense, U.S. citizenship issues and naturalization. She has taught as an adjunct professor at New York Law School and Molloy College. She is a co-author of Immigration and Nationality Law: Problems and Strategies (LexisNexis/Carolina Academic Press). Lindsay has received the Super Lawyers Immigration, Metro New York designation. Lindsay has a bachelor's degree in Spanish from Northwestern University, a juris doctor degree from IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law, an MBA (concentration in marketing with international business designation) from Fordham University an LLM in Transnational Commercial Practice at the Center for International Legal Studies/Lazarski University and a graduate certificate in health care compliance from the University of Pittsburgh Law School. She also is an actress and a writer of short stories.

Patricia Gannon practices in all areas of immigration law, with a focus on business immigration.  Many of her clients are in the telecommunications, pharmaceutical and banking industries.  She advises multi-nationals on employment verification matters and develops various compliance strategies and programs.

As a member of the Foreign American Counsel, Patricia concentrates her international practice on global immigration and provides outbound assistance to foreign companies.  Patricia facilitates and organizes global human resources through the implementation of visas and management of global mobility staff.

Prior to joining Wormser, Kiely, Galef & Jacobs, LLP, Patricia was a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig.  Prior to Greenberg Traurig, Patricia was the deputy district counsel for the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, where she spearheaded nationwide enforcement initiatives and worked with the Eastern Region Service Centers’ policy and enforcement of employment eligibility verification forms.  She also served as a special assistant to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York where she investigated and prosecuted many complex immigration civil cases.

Patricia has lectured nationally and internationally on immigration issues to bar associations and industry groups.  She has published numerous legal articles.


Co-Chair, Immigration Section, New York State Bar Association

Leadership Team, International Talent Mobility Team

Member, United States Chamber of Commerce, Employment Labor Committee, Immigration sub-Committee

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

Nominated, Employer Sanctions Legislative Committee and the Anti-Exploitation Task Force Committee to draft legislation before the House and Senate Committee

Awards & Recognition

Recipient of the InterContinental Finance Magazine’s Legal Excellence Award, 2011.

Listed, Best Lawyers 2013, 2014

Listed, Legal 500 US 2009 Edition

Listed, Who’s Who Legal

Nominated for the Attorney General award for Outstanding Compliance with EEO hiring practices

Outstanding Performance in Investigation and Prosecution, Department of Justice


Timothy J. Houghton entered on duty as District Director for District N-13 in March of 2020. He previously served as the Deputy District Director for District N-13 from December 2015 - March 2020.

Background Experience

Mr. Houghton has over 21 years of government service which began with legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) at the Garden City Office of the New York District in 1998. He has his held a variety of positions In United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

He began his federal service as a District Adjudications Officer at the Garden City Office of the New York District. In 2004, Mr. Houghton became a Supervisory District Adjudication Officer in the Naturalization Unit. In 2007, he was assigned to the Adjustment of Status Unit where he served as supervisor until May 2009. In 2008, Mr. Houghton received the Federal Executive Board Award as Supervisor of the year for his work in the Naturalization Unit by organizing a more efficient manner to receive documents from customers. In May 2009, he became a Supervisor for the Newark District Office in the Adjustment of Status Unit where he served in that position until March 2010. In March 2010, Mr. Houghton was selected by New York District to serve as Section Manager for Adjudications 2. The Adjudication 2 Unit adjudicated multiple immigration applications and adhered to the Stokes Agreement. In January of 2011, he was assigned as Section Manager for the Naturalization Unit. Mr. Houghton received the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; Distinguished Government Service Award on May 11, 2012. In May 2012, Mr. Houghton was selected as Field Office Director for the New York Queens Field office. In May 2014, Mr. Houghton was selected as the Field Office Director of New York Field office where he served until appointment as the Deputy District Director in December 2015. Mr. Houghton received the Manager/Supervisor of the Year in 2017.

Tina Romero is senior staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society.  She specializes in immigrant youth representation, practicing in both state and federal courts.  She advises the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice on immigration matters, supervises pro bono attorneys, and coordinates the New York City SIJS Advocates' group, which engages in local and national policy advocacy.  In 2014, she started the Immigrant Youth Advocacy Externship at Columbia Law School. She also assisted in the creation of the ICARE coalition to ensure unaccompanied children in New York City obtained representation in immigration court.  Tina graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2001 magna cum laude.  She received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2005.  She is admitted in New York and Illinois.

Born in New York City, Alexis S. Axelrad has over two decades of experience in immigration and nationality law. Ms. Axelrad received her B.A. from the University of Maryland at College Park (1994.) After earning her J.D. from New York Law School (1997), Ms. Axelrad was admitted to practice in New York in 1998.

Ms. Axelrad has been active in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) – the preeminent bar association for US immigration lawyers - since she began practicing law. Ms. Axelrad currently serves as an elected as a director of AILA National's Board of Governors (BOG) and as the Chair of AILA National’s Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).  Ms. Axelrad is a past Chair of the New York Chapter of AILA and served in every capacity on the NY chapter's executive committee.  She is currently the chair of the New York Chapter of AILA’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Committee and a member of the District Director Committee for over ten years. Ms. Axelrad is also an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Executives Association of New York.

Ms. Axelrad was also the recipient of the distinguished 2020 AILA Susan Quarles Service Award and a past recipient of AILA President's Commendation Award for Outstanding Service on the USCIS HQ liaison committee, June 2008-2010 & 2014, 2019. New York Super Lawyers has listed her in the 'rising stars' section of top immigration attorneys in New York in 2011 and 2012, and as a Super Lawyer from 2013 to present. She is recognized by Chambers & Partners USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.

Ms. Axelrad was the author of quarterly column on immigration matters published in the New York Law Journal and the researcher and writer of US Immigration Laws: Working, Living and Studying in America (1999). She is a frequent writer for periodicals and speaker on immigration and nationality law and is honored to be a source of information and guidance for her colleagues in and outside of the immigration bar and for the NYC SHRM community.

Ms. Axelrad maintains a busy corporate and family-based immigration practice with a particular emphasis on interaction with the various offices of Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department including USCIS, Department of State, and Customs and Border Protection.


I graduated with a B.A. from Cornell University majoring in Government with concentration in International Relations.  Graduated with a J.D. from Syracuse University School of Law.   I am admitted in the State if New York, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department. 

I have been a Staff Attorney with the Attorney Grievance Committee since 2001.  I am presently a Principal Staff Attorney investigating and prosecuting professional misconduct by attorneys in the First Department where allegations vary from neglect of legal matters to escrow violations.  In addition, I have been designated to oversee the investigation of complaints filed against attorneys practicing in the area of immigration law.  I am a member of the Katzman Study Group as well as a member of the Protecting Immigrants New York Task Force.

Avram Morell is a member of Pryor Cashman’s Immigration Law Group. His experience includes a wide range of areas of immigration and nationality law, including counseling employers in the hiring of foreign employees, representing entrepreneurs and investors seeking permission to live and work in the United States, obtaining immigrant and non-immigrant visas for professionals in a variety of industries, advising employers on all areas of immigration compliance, guiding individuals through the permanent residence and naturalization application processes, developing corporate immigration policies, and creating global mobility guidelines and procedures.

Mr. Morell is ranked among the leading immigration lawyers by Chambers USA and US Legal 500 and lectures regularly on immigration law to professional associations, educational institutes, and private businesses. He is the author of articles on areas of immigration law in state-wide, national and international publications and has contributed to Immigration Law and Procedure, the leading treatise on immigration law. Mr. Morell has also served in key capacities for the American Immigration Lawyers Association on the national Department of State Liaison Committee, the national Verification and Worksite Enforcement Liaison Committee, the Liaison Committee to the New York District Office of USCIS, and the Liaison Committee to Customs and Border Protection in New York and New Jersey. 

Mr. Morell is a 1993 graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he was a Samuel Belkin Scholar.

David Grunblatt is a Partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, heading its Immigration Practice Group and is an authority on employer immigration compliance and employment-based immigration benefits.  He served as Chair of the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and of its Vermont Service Center Liaison Committee.  He was formerly Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law and was Chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law at the New York County Lawyers Association.  He lectures and writes extensively on the subject of Immigration and Nationality Law.

Karin Wolman is Principal of the Law Office of Karin Wolman, PLLC, serving businesses of all sizes, non-profit organizations and individuals, across industries from healthcare and the sciences, academia, finance and technology, to the performing arts and entertainment, fine and graphic arts and new media, culinary arts, fashion and beauty, architecture and design. Ms. Wolman is a frequent speaker at local and national conferences on topics in immigration law ranging from aliens of extraordinary ability to naturalization, for organizations including the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Practising Law Institute, New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and New York State Bar Association. Ms. Wolman has been recognized among the top 5% of attorneys in the New York Metro area by SuperLawyers, and has a 10/10 “Superb” rating on Avvo. A graduate of Columbia University and UCLA School of Law, she worked at the Brooklyn Academy of Music when the O & P visa categories were first introduced. She has served since 2002 as moderator of the AILA InfoNet forum on O & P visas, as well as other forums, plus the Vermont Service Center liaison committee for AILA national and local committees for the New York chapter of AILA.

Thomas E. Moseley practices immigration law in Newark, New Jersey concentrating in federal court litigation and removal defense. He received his A.B. from Harvard College and his J.D. from Harvard Law School and previously served as Chief of the Immigration Unit in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He is a past chair of the Immigration Section of the Federal Bar Association and has lectured on immigration before the Federal Bar Association, New Jersey ICLE, the Practicing Law Institute, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”). He is the recipient of AILA’s 2016 Jack Wasserman award for excellence in immigration litigation.

Mark R. von Sternberg is a Senior Attorney with Catholic Charities Community Services/Archdiocese of New York where he concentrates on litigation before the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Mr. von Sternberg serves as an adjunct faculty member at Pace University School of Law where he teaches general immigration and comparative refugee law; he is also an adjunct faculty member at St. John’s University School of Law where he teaches an immigrant and refugee rights clinic. Mr. von Sternberg received a J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1973 and an LL.M. degree (in International Legal Studies) from New York University School of Law in 1984. He has lectured at law schools and at professional associations regarding immigration matters and has written extensively, particularly in the areas of refugee law, international humanitarian law, and human rights. Mr. von Sternberg is the author of an internationally recognized treatise regarding the refugee definition as applied in the United States and Canada. In 2002, he received the American Immigration Lawyers Association Pro Bono Award. Mr. von Sternberg is a former chair of the American Bar Association’s Immigration and Naturalization Committee and of the New York City Bar Association’s Immigration and Nationality Law Committee. Mr. von Sternberg has served as an active participant in significant international conferences regarding asylum such as the Refugee Rights and Realities Conference in Nottingham, England and, more recently (September 2012), the UNHCR's Expert Roundtable on "International Protection for Persons Fleeing Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence" in Cape Town, South Africa.

Marko C. Maglich is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Mr. Maglich practices immigration law exclusively, and is a member of the firm’s Immigration practice group. The practice deals with all aspects of business-related visas, compliance by employers and individuals with U.S. immigration law (including in M&A transactions and workplace enforcement), and proceedings before the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Labor.  His practice includes family-based immigration, and removal and admissibility issues on criminal and other grounds.  Having formerly practiced in the area of trusts and estates, Mr. Maglich regularly handles the immigration aspect of tax and immigration planning for high net worth families and individuals.  Mr. Maglich also leverages a network of practitioners around the world to co-ordinate "outbound" (non-U.S.) Immigration for Jackson Lewis and its clients.

Mr. Maglich has been a speaker, author, and teacher on immigration topics for organizations and schools including Human Rights First, the Practising Law Institute (PLI), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the New York State Society of CPAs.  Mr. Maglich earned his J.D. at Fordham University School of Law in 1999, his A.B. from Sarah Lawrence College, and a Diploma from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).  He is admitted to practice in New York State and Federally in the Southern District of New York.