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50th Annual Immigration and Naturalization Institute


Speaker(s): Albert Eskalis, Alexis S. Axelrad, Allen Orr, Jr., Anastasia Tonello, Austin T. Fragomen, Jr., Bill Rabung, Catherine L. Haight, Charles H. Kuck, Claire R. Thomas, Cynthia Juarez Lange, Cyrus D. Mehta, David Grunblatt, Ira J. Kurzban, Jodi Danis, Jojo Annobil, Kathleen Campbell Walker, Laurel Scott, Lenni B. Benson, Lucas Guttentag, Mark R. von Sternberg, Marketa Lindt, Rebecca Peters, Robert C. Divine, Sarah K. Peterson, Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, Vincent W. Lau
Recorded on: Dec. 6, 2017
PLI Program #: 180042

Professor Benson has been teaching and writing in the field of immigration law since 1994. She is a professor at New York Law School and serves as the director of the NYLS Safe Passage Project Clinic.The Clinic partners with The Safe Passage Project a nonprofit that recruits, trains and mentor pro bono attorneys to represent unaccompanied immigrant youth in removal proceedings and immigration applications. [http://www.safepassageproject.org]. In October of 2014, she was named by The New York Law Journal as an outstanding pro bono leader.  She speaks and writes nationally on issues related to unaccompanied immigrant youth and won the Jolie Humanitarian Award for her work in 2016.

In the winter of 2017, she joined the Executive Committee of the American Immigration Representation Project and works with the American Immigration Council and others to support pro bono representation for immigrants held in detention. Learn more at www. immigration.justice.us.

From 2012 -2015, she served as the Chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Work of that committee is reported here: http://www.nycbar.org/legislative-affairs/policy-issues-aamp-advocacy/protected-classes-aamp-civil-rights/immigration-a-nationality-law-committee.

In 2011-2012 she served as a consultant/researcher for the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). With Russell Wheeler of the Brookings Institution, she prepared a comprehensive report on ways to improve removal adjudication and that report resulted in a formal adoption of over thirty-eight recommendations by ACUS.

The report is found here: http://www.acus.gov/report/immigration-removal-adjudication-report.

On July 1, 2013, her book written with several co-authors, “Immigration and Nationality Law: Problems and Strategies” was published by LexisNexis. The book is now distributed by Carolina Academic Press and is updated annually. http://www.cap-press.com/books/isbn/9781422422168/Immigration-and-Nationality-Law

She serves on numerous boards of nonprofit immigration organizations and is an emeritus trustee of the American Immigration Council.


Al Gamil Eskalis joined the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in March 2014 and currently serves as the chief of customer service. He oversees the agency’s Customer Engagement Center along with self and live-help channels that allow customers and stakeholders to receive accurate information and effective resolution of their immigration issues during their first contact with the agency.  

Al came to the agency from the Department of Defense where he served as a senior communication strategist at the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters in the Pentagon. Throughout a 26-year career as an active-duty Marine, Al has led national and international public engagement and outreach programs and has served as senior communication counsel to top executives. He has served multiple combat deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and spent several tours in the Asia/Pacific region as a Marine Corps officer.  

Al is a native of Alexandria, Egypt. He is a graduate of the State University of New York and holds a Masters in Management and Public Relations from the University of Maryland. He is also accredited through the Public Relations Society of America.


Allen Orr is the founder of Orr Immigration Law Firm PC, a minority-owned law firm based in Washington, DC and focusing on a US corporate compliance as well as global corporate representation and assistance on immigration issues.

Mr. Orr previously helped to build one of the leading global immigration practices at a large global law firm, where he developed a global network of immigration practitioners, government officials and business leaders.  Mr. Orr managed an I-9 compliance audit for a Fortune 10 company which involved review and analysis of all immigration records relating to its 250,000 employees.

Mr. Orr is the recipient of the 2009 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award for contributions made in the immigration law field and specifically for his work with the Young Lawyers Division, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He is listed in The International Who’s who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers and The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers.  He is the Immigration Section Chair for the National Bar Association and the National Treasurer for AILA.

Mr. Orr is a frequent speaker on US and global emerging business immigration issues.  He is a Senior Editor of the Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook and an Associate Editor of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) Global Immigration Guide: A Country-by-Country Survey.

Mr. Orr received a BA in Philosophy from Morehouse College and a JD from Howard University’s School of Law.


Austin T. Fragomen, Jr. is Chairman of the global law firm of Fragomen Worldwide. Over the course of his career in immigration, Austin has served as staff counsel to the US House of Representatives subcommittee on immigration, citizenship and international law and as an adjunct professor of law at New York University School of Law and as Chairman of the New York City Bar Justice Center.  Austin has testified before Congress on a range of immigration issues.  He serves as Chairman, Business Mechanism, Global Forum Migration and Development; and has also participated as a panelist at multi-stakeholder hearings on the Global Compact on Migration at the United Nations.

Austin is also the founding co-author of a renowned series of immigration handbooks that provide information on the best practices and latest developments in the field of business immigration, published by Thomson Reuters/West. He is vice chairman of the board of directors of the Center for Migration Studies; editorial board member of the International Migration Review; chairman of the board of directors of the Council on Global Immigration; co-author of the Practising Law Institute's Immigration Fundamentals; distinguished author, Thomson Reuters/West, Member of the Board, Jesuit Refugee Service(JRS), Member Advisory Board, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University and fellow, American Bar Foundation.

Austin is admitted to practice in New York and the District of Columbia. His court admissions include the US Supreme Court; US District Court of the Southern District of New York and the District of Columbia; US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Third Circuit and District of Columbia Circuit. He was educated at Case Western Reserve School of Law, JD, and Georgetown University, BS.


Catherine L. Haight is the founding member of Haight Law Group, PC in Los Angeles, California.  She has been practicing immigration law since 1989, specializing in business, entertainment, and sports related matters.  Ms. Haight obtained her Bachelor’s degree from U.C. Berkeley and J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law.  She has authored many published articles on immigration subjects and has been an invited speaker at numerous immigration law conferences and seminars. 


Claire R. Thomas  is an attorney, advocate, and adjunct professor. Her interests and expertise include: U.S. immigration law, asylum and refugee law, unaccompanied children, immigrant access to public benefits, and empowerment for women and girls facing poverty and gender-based violence.

She graduated from the University of Chicago and also studied at the Université de Paris X, Nanterre. She holds a graduate degree from NYU’s Center for Global Affairs and a law degree from New York Law School. She was a visiting scholar at The New School's Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility.

Claire directs the Asylum Clinic at New York Law School, in which she teaches law students how to represent immigrants seeking asylum and other humanitarian immigration protections in the United States. As an Adjunct Professor at NYLS, she also teaches the introductory immigration law course. She is also a contract attorney with CUNY Citizenship Now! and assists immigrants applying for naturalization, and is a consultant for The Door, a NYC non-profit, in which she supervises attorneys working with immigrant youth.

Previously, she provided local and national trainings on immigration law to over 5,000 individuals with the Safe Passage Project, and advocated for the rights of African, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern immigrants at African Services Committee, a Harlem-based non-profit assisting persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Claire's television appearances include Voice of America in both English and French. She has been quoted in local and national publications including The New York Times, The Bangkok Post, The New Statesman, The Queens Daily Eagle and Law at the Margins. Her Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor have been published in the Queens Daily Eagle, Women Across Frontiers, and the New York Times. Her academic publications (Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Drexel Law Review, and New York Law School) focus on unaccompanied children in immigration removal proceedings and immigrant access to public benefits.


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 a member of AILA’s Administrative Litigation Task Force; AILA’s EB-5 Committee; former chair of AILA’s Ethics Committee; special counsel on immigration matters to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee, Appellate Division, First Department, New York; member of the ABA Commission on Immigration; board member of Volunteers for Legal Services and board member of New York Immigration Coalition.  Mr. Mehta is the 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. He 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.  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 two AILA Presidential Commendations in 2010 and 2016.  Mr. Mehta is ranked among the most highly regarded lawyers in North America by Who’s Who Legal – Corporate Immigration Law 2019 and is also ranked in Chambers USA and Chambers Global 2019 in immigration law, among other rankings.


Jojo Annobil is the Executive Director of Immigrant Justice Corps, an innovative two year fellowship program for recent law school and college graduates.

He is also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law where he co-teaches the Immigrant Defense Clinic and serves as Special Counsel to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division First Department’s Disciplinary Committee on Immigration matters.

He also serves as co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Immigration Representation.


Lucas Guttentag teaches immigration law and constitutional litigation at Stanford Law School, where he is Professor of the Practice, and at Yale Law School, where he is Distinguished Senior Fellow and Senior Research Scholar.  He is the founder and former national director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, which he led from 1985 to 2010 in New York and San Francisco. From 2014 to 2016, he served in the Obama administration as a senior advisor on immigration policy, including as Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson.

Guttentag has engaged in extensive class action and appellate litigation throughout the country for more than thirty years, including arguing successfully in the Supreme Court, to advance the civil and constitutional rights of non-citizens. He has testified in Congress, writes and speaks widely on immigration issues, and often appears in national media. He listed in Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the recipient of an honorary degree from CUNY Law School, and was named a “human rights hero” by the American Bar Association Human Rights journal in 2002.  He has received the top litigation award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) four times, named California Lawyer “Lawyer of the Year” in appellate law, a Top 100 lawyer in Northern California, and was recognized in 2007 as one of the country’s top 25 immigrant advocates of the last 25 years by the National Immigration Forum.  His litigation includes designing a five-year legal strategy and arguing INS v. St. Cyr to uphold habeas corpus protections for immigrants facing deportation and prohibiting retroactive elimination of 212(c) waivers.  Other significant cases include American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, providing protection to 500,000 Central American refugees, Haitian Centers Council v. McNary, representing Haitian refugees at Guantanamo, a series of cases challenging the immigration marriage fraud statute that led to congressional repeal, suing government officials for torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, and directing the ACLU’s challenge to state and local anti-immigrant laws, including Arizona’s SB1070.  He is currently serving as counsel in Nielsen v. Preap challenging mandatory immigration detention in the Supreme Court.  Guttentag serves as a consultant, advisor and board member to numerous non-profit and philanthropic immigration advocacy and legal organizations.  Guttentag served as a law clerk to Texas federal judge William Wayne Justice, practiced civil rights law in Los Angeles, and taught at Columbia Law School before joining the ACLU.  He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Harvard Law School.


Marketa Lindt works with U.S. and multinational corporations to implement efficient business immigration visa programs to best attract and retain foreign national talent. Marketa also leads Sidley’s I-9 compliance practice, where she counsels and defends companies regarding their hiring practices of foreign national employees and compliance with the government’s I-9 verification requirements. Her I-9 compliance practice includes providing proactive counseling on I-9 hiring practices and the E-Verify process, defending employers in civil and criminal workplace enforcement actions, conducting immigration-related internal investigations, and conducting due diligence and analysis of I-9 issues in mergers, acquisitions and other corporate transactions.

In addition to representing U.S. companies with their business immigration and I-9 compliance needs, Marketa is actively engaged in national and regional advocacy efforts to change our laws and regulations so that they better serve U.S. employers, foster economic growth and promote fairness and justice in the immigration system. She currently serves as elected President-Elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and as a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce immigration policy committee.

Marketa regularly speaks at national and regional conferences regarding immigration law and I-9 compliance. She is a primary author of the immigration law and practice treatise Business Immigration Law. Marketa has also authored articles for a number of leading immigration texts, including AILA’s Guide to Worksite Enforcement and Compliance, the Guide to PERM Labor Certification, and numerous annual editions of the Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook.  She serves as an editor of Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook. She has appeared a number of times on television, radio and print regarding developments in immigration law. Marketa is recognized as a leading corporate immigration attorney worldwide in the International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers and Who’s Who Legal: Illinois.

Marketa is committed to providing access to counsel for underserved immigrants. She serves in an advisory capacity to several Chicago-area cultural institutions and organizations that provide assistance to underserved immigrant communities. For a number of years, Marketa has served as a member of the Leadership Board of the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago.


Stephen Yale-Loehr has practiced immigration law for 35 years. He is co-author of Immigration Law and Procedure, the leading 21-volume treatise on U.S. immigration law. He also teaches immigration and asylum law at Cornell Law School as Professor of Immigration Practice and is of counsel at Miller Mayer in Ithaca, New York. He also founded and was the original executive director of Invest In the USA, a trade association of EB-5 immigrant investor regional centers.

Mr. Yale-Loehr received his B.A. degree from Cornell University in 1977 and his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School in 1981. He was editor-in-chief of the Cornell International Law Journal. After graduation, Mr. Yale-Loehr clerked for a federal judge.

From 1982 to 1986 Mr. Yale-Loehr practiced international trade and immigration law at a large law firm in Washington, D.C. From 1986 to 1994 he was managing editor of Interpreter Releases and executive editor of Immigration Briefings, two leading immigration law publications.

Mr. Yale-Loehr is the coauthor or editor of many books, including Green Card Stories; America’s Challenge: Domestic Security, Civil Liberties and National Unity After September 11; Balancing Interests: Rethinking the Selection of Skilled Immigrants; Global Business Immigration Practice Guide; J Visa Guidebook; Understanding the Immigration Act of 1990; Understanding the 1986 Immigration Law, and numerous law review articles.

Mr. Yale-Loehr is a member of the New York bar and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a non-resident Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC. He chairs the business immigration committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He is also a founding member of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, www.abil.com, a global consortium of top business immigration attorneys.

Mr. Yale-Loehr is annually listed in Chambers Global, Chambers USA, and An International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers as one of the best immigration lawyers in the world. He is listed in Who’s Who in America. He is frequently quoted in the press on immigration issues and has often testified before Congress. He is the 2001 recipient of AILA’s Elmer Fried Award for excellence in teaching and the 2004 recipient of AILA’s Edith Lowenstein Award for excellence in advancing the practice of immigration law. He is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

For more information see http://stephenyaleloehr.com.


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

Ms. Axelrad has been active in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) since she began practicing law. Ms. Axelrad currently serves as an elected as a director of AILA National's Board of Governors (BOG) and served as the Chair of the Vermont Service Center committee from June 2013 to June 2015. She is the Vice-Chair of AILA National’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Committee and a Past Vice-Chair and was a member of AILA National’s USCIS Headquarters Benfits/Policy Committee for over a decade. 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 Emeritus 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 serves on the Board of Directors and is a member of the Executives Association of New York.

Ms. Axelrad was also the recipient of the AILA President's Commendation Award for Outstanding Service on the USCIS HQ liaison committee, June 2008-2010 & 2014. 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 is a frequent speaker throughout the United States and Europe on US Immigration Law. Ms. Axelrad was the researcher and writer of US Immigration Laws: Working, Living and Studying in America (1999). 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.


Cynthia leads the firm’s High Tech practice in the heart of Silicon Valley.

As the Managing Partner of the firm’s Northern California practice, she directs the strategic representation of companies ranging from large Fortune 500 companies to small start-up companies in the firm’s “e-group.” She has worked with numerous companies to set up and manage worldwide immigration compliance programs. She also offers legal advice to individual investors (i.e., EB-5).

Cynthia is a longtime Adjunct Professor at Southwestern University School of Law where she has taught since 1988. She also frequently lectures on corporate immigration and, as a thought leader in the industry, she has written numerous articles on business immigration law matters.

Cynthia is also the Managing Partner in charge of the firm’s I-9 Service Center, which offers state of the art electronic I-9 tools and advisory services for proper I-9 and E-Verify completion. She is experienced in government investigations, audits and establishing compliance programs for companies.

Cynthia has served as a member of Fragomen's Executive Committee. Cynthia joined Fragomen over 30 years ago, after beginning her career at the U.S. Department of Justice as an INS trial attorney.


Prior to joining the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Mrs. Peters worked with the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI) in the Washington DC metro-area for nearly fifteen years, helping to advance high skilled immigration and employment verification reforms with the U.S. Congress, the White House and the federal agencies. She has served as a chair of the policy committee of the Compete America coalition. She also serves on other coalitions and working groups to educate and advance immigration system efficiencies and to ensure critical changes to employer immigration compliance are reasonable.

She is a frequent speaker on issues of high skilled immigration reform and is viewed as an immigration policy expert both inside and outside the beltway. Mrs. Peters also serves on the Women in Government Relations leadership team, as a Vice Chair of its membership committee and is SHRM’s liaison with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Before CFGI, she practiced immigration law at a Washington D.C.- based law firm and has also served as an attorney and policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service. Mrs. Peters also spent time representing the government in immigration court proceedings. She received her J.D. and M.P.A. from Syracuse University’s College of Law and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.


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.


Bill Rabung is the Director of Operations, for the Office of Foreign Labor Certification.  In this position, he is responsible for the operations of the three OFLC National Processing Centers in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington D.C.  He previously served as the National Director of the PERM program, the Director of the National Prevailing Wage Center, and several other management positions in the OFLC National Office. Bill has been with the U.S. Department of Labor for over 30 years, and has worked in a number of management positions within the Employment and Training Administration and Employment Standards Administration.  Bill is a multiple recipient of the Secretary’s Exceptional Achievement award, and he has made numerous national presentations and conducted workshops on labor force and performance topics.  Bill started his public service career with the State of California, Employment Development Department where he worked in a variety of programs including Unemployment Insurance, Job Service, and Labor Market Information.


Charles H. (“Chuck”) Kuck is the Managing Attorney at Kuck Baxter Immigration Partners LLC in Atlanta, Georgia.  Chuck served as the National President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association from 2008-2009.  He also served as President of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Emory Law School.  He was named one of the top 5 immigration attorneys in the world by Chambers & Partners again in 2017, the “Best Lawyer-Immigration in Georgia by Best Lawyers in 2017, and was previously named one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend magazine.  He has practiced immigration law for 28 years, has spoken to numerous legal and business conferences on all types of immigration related topics, has testified in Congress on various aspects of Immigration Law and Immigration Reform, is frequently quoted in the national press, and appears regularly on national and local television and cable news outlets.


Jodi B. Danis is a Special Litigation Counsel in the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (formerly the Office of Special Counsel of Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices) of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.  She has been serving as the acting head of that office since February 2017.  Ms. Danis supervises the office’s enforcement of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, 8 U.S.C. § 1324b, as well as the office’s policy and outreach activities.  Ms. Danis joined the Civil Rights Division as a trial attorney in the Employment Litigation Section in October 1999.  She was a Deputy Chief in the Employment Litigation section from 2003-2010, served as Special Counsel in that office from 2010-2013, and was an attorney in the Appellate Section from 2013-2015.   Before joining DOJ, Ms. Danis was an appellate attorney in the Office of General Counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1997-1999) and was an associate at the law firm of Arnold & Porter, in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Danis completed a Ninth Circuit clerkship with Sr. Judge William Canby, Jr. in Phoenix, Arizona, and is a 1995 graduate of Harvard Law School.  She was raised in Clark, New Jersey, and has two sons.


Kathleen Campbell Walker is a former national president of (2007-08) and general counsel (2009-10) to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) www.aila.com. She is a member of the Dickinson Wright PLLC law firm headquartered in Detroit. She practices from the El Paso, Texas office. In 2014, Ms. Walker received the AILA Founder's Award which is given from time to time to the person or entity having the most substantial impact on the field of immigration law or policy. In 2012, she was selected by Texas Lawyer as its top "Go-To" Lawyer in Texas in immigration law. Board certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, she was selected to serve on the Council of Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, which was co-chaired by former Governor Jeb Bush. She has testified multiple times before Congress and at the state level in Texas regarding immigration policy and law.


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.


Robert C. Divine chairs of the Immigration Group of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C., a law firm of 800 lawyers and public policy advisors with offices in 24 U.S. cities including Washington, D.C.  Mr. Divine served from July 2004 until November 2006 as Chief Counsel and for a time Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).  He is the author of Immigration Practice, a 1,600 page practical treatise on all aspects of U.S. immigration law that is revised and reprinted annually to reflect the law’s constant changes.  He has practiced immigration law since 1986 and has served as Chair of various committees of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and served for seven years as Vice President of the Association to Invest in the USA (IIUSA), an association for EB-5 regional centers. His practice includes all aspects of U.S. immigration law, representing large and small international and domestic employers, family sponsors, developers and investment regional centers, and individual foreign nationals.  He has also litigated significant business matters, including class action employment discrimination, contract, commercial, product liability, antitrust, ERISA benefits, business torts, and immigration-related civil and criminal matters.


Sarah K. Peterson is the founder of SPS Immigration PLLC based in Minneapolis, MN. Her employment-based practice focuses on physicians, academia, start-ups, and high-tech companies. Sarah actively participates in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) on both a local and national level. She currently serves as Chair of AILA’s DOL liaison committee and has been an active Elected Director on the AILA Board of Governors since 2012. Sarah has previously served on AILA national Liaison committees with the California and Nebraska USCIS Service Centers, Chaired AILA’s Healthcare Professionals Committee and served as a member for several years, and Chaired the Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter of AILA. Sarah serves on the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota’s (ILCM) Public Policy Committee since 2013. Sarah was recognized in 2016 and 2017 as one of 40 Up and Comers in Employment Law by HRE/Law Dragon, is listed in the International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers since 2014, and was selected as one of Minnesota’s Lawyer’s Up and Coming Attorneys for 2010. She was a contributing author to AILA’s Business Immigration Law & Procedure, second edition, frequently speaks with the press, and travels internationally to speak on employment-based immigration. Sarah is scheduled to teach an advanced Immigration Law class at the University of Minnesota Law School in 2018. Sarah holds a joint law degree and master in public policy from the University of Minnesota Law School and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.


Vincent W. Lau is the managing partner of Clark Lau LLC in Cambridge, Massachusetts and he counsels employers and employees on a range of temporary and permanent immigration options.  He enjoys taking complex immigration legal concepts and breaking them down into tangible and comprehensible ideas for employers and employees.  It is with this same spirit that he speaks regularly at immigration conferences across the country, serves fellow immigration attorneys as one of the Vice Chairs of AILA’s national liaison committee with the U.S. Department of Labor, and developed the curriculum for the business immigration course at New England Law Boston.  Vince received his B.A., cum laude, in Political Science from Yale University, M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the Boston College School of Education, and J.D. from the Boston College School of Law.  Vince has been voted among “The Best Lawyers in America” since 2010 and listed with “Who’s Who Legal: Corporate Immigration” since 2015.


Anastasia is the Managing Partner of Laura Devine Attorneys LLC in New York and a Partner of Laura Devine Solicitors in London. She is also global head of the firm’s US immigration team. Anastasia is internationally recognized in the leading legal directories, including the Legal 500 UK Edition, Chambers Global, Chambers US and Chambers UK, Super Lawyers, Who's Who Legal Corporate Immigration, and Best Lawyers in America. An active member of, AILA, Anastasia was a charter member and officer of AILA's RDC EMEA Chapter and Chair of AILA's Department of State Liaison Committee.  Anastasia currently serves on AILA's Executive Committee as President Elect and is on the board of the American Immigration Council. She and her team are regular participants in pro bono activities, including the AILA New York chapter's juvenile docket project. She received a B.A. from Indiana University and a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame.  Anastasia, a national of the U.S., U.K. and Italy, is admitted to the Bar of the State of New York and is a Solicitor of England and Wales.  You can follow Anastasia on Twitter @anastasianylon.


J.D. and M.A., University of California, Berkeley.  Mr. Kurzban is a partner in the law firm of Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli and Pratt, P.A., of Miami, Florida.  He is a past-national President and former General Counsel of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is a Fellow of the American Bar Association. He has litigated over fifty federal cases concerning the rights of aliens, including Jean v. Nelson, Commissioner v. Jean, and McNary v. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc., which he argued before the United States Supreme Court.  Mr. Kurzban is an adjunct faculty member in Immigration and Nationality Law at the University of Miami School of Law. He is the author of Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook, the most widely used one-volume immigration source in the United States and he has lectured and otherwise published extensively in the field of immigration law, including articles in the Harvard Law Review and Columbia University Press. 


Laurel received a BA from Simon's Rock College, a Master's Degree from Duke University, and a Law Degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA where she completed the Temple University Immigration Law Clinical. She spent a year studying at the Queen's University of Belfast and completed an internship at the European Parliament. She started work on her first waiver of inadmissibility in 2003 and quickly realized that waivers were an ideal niche for her new firm. Over the years, she emerged as one of the nation's leading experts in this type of case, publishing numerous articles on the subject and speaking at many events for immigration lawyers. Licensed in Texas.