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47th Annual Immigration and Naturalization Institute

Speaker(s): Austin T. Fragomen, Jr., Carolyn S. Lee, Charles H. Kuck, Cynthia Juarez Lange, Cyrus D. Mehta, Deborah J. Notkin, Ellen Gallagher, Gary N. Merson, Ira J. Kurzban, Jeffrey H. Gorsky, Lenni B. Benson, Mark R. von Sternberg, Mary E. Pivec, Pamela Partenheimer Mick, Rebecca Tallent, Robert C. Divine, Robert E. Juceam, Suzanne B. Seltzer, Tom Jawetz, William A. Stock
Recorded on: Dec. 18, 2014
PLI Program #: 51445

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. []. 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.

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:

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:

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.

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

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.

Charles H. (“Chuck”) Kuck is the Managing Attorney at Kuck Baxter Immigration 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 from 2010-2014 and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at Emory Law School.  He previously served as an Adjunct at the University of Georgia for 13 years for both survey and advanced immigration law classes.  He was named one of the top 5 immigration attorneys in the world by Chambers & Partners again in 2020, the “Best Lawyer-Immigration” in Georgia by Best Lawyers in 2020 and was previously named one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend magazine.  He has practiced immigration law for over 30 years, has spoken at 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.

Cynthia provides strategic immigration counsel to various 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 establish and manage worldwide immigration compliance programs and is experienced in government investigations and audits. Cynthia also offers legal advice to individual investors.

Cynthia is a longtime Adjunct Professor at Southwestern University School of Law, where she taught for 18 years. 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 previously served as a member of Fragomen's Executive Committee and as the Managing Partner of the firm’s Northern California practice and I-9 Service Center. Cynthia joined Fragomen more than 30 years ago, after beginning her career at the U.S. Department of Justice as an INS trial attorney.

Jeffrey Gorsky, Chief, Legal Advisory Opinion Section, Visa Office, Bureau of Consular Affairs, State Dept. B.A. and J.D. from George Washington University. Entered the State Department in 1980 as a Foreign Service Officer, served in Medellin and Bogota, Colombia, and Bilbao, Spain. I have worked for the Visa Office since 1988.

Becky Tallent currently serves as Assistant to the Speaker for Policy, focusing on Judiciary and Homeland Security issues, specifically immigration reform.  She came to the Speaker’s office from the Bipartisan Policy Center where she served as the Director of Immigration policy and prior to her work at the BPC, served as Senator John McCain’s Chief of Staff.  She returned to Washington DC via Arizona where she previously served as his State Director after being Legislative Director and a policy staffer in Sen. McCain’s Capitol Hill Office. 

Becky started her career on Capitol Hill in Senator McCain’s office in 2001.  In 2003, she moved to the House of Representatives to work for Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) where she focused on several legislative policy areas including immigration, energy, transportation, agriculture and public land use.  Upon leaving Congressman Kolbe’s office, Becky returned to Senator McCain’s office in the summer of 2005 and continued her work on immigration and environmental policy helping to draft several comprehensive immigration reform bills, including the “Border Security and Immigration Improvement Act” in the 108th Congress, the “Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act” in the 109th Congress, and the “STRIVE Act” and “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007” in the 110th Congress.    Becky also served as a Senior Policy Advisor on the McCain-Palin Presidential campaign and traveling Domestic Policy Advisor for Governor Palin.   

During her time at the BPC, Becky helped to author several studies and white papers on immigration reform including an extensive study of immigration reform’s economic costs and benefits entitled Immigration Reform: Implications for Growth, Budgets and Housing. 

Becky attended Carleton College in Northfield, MN and hails from Tucson, AZ.



For almost twenty years, Ellen Gallagher has worked as an attorney in the United States Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to ensure the full and fair application of immigration law and regulations.  She entered on duty in 1995 in New York City, representing the government in deportation and removal proceedings, and subsequently accepted assignments in San Antonio, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Boston, Massachusetts.

After serving for ten years as Special Counsel in the Citizenship and Immigration Services Office of the Chief Counsel, Ms. Gallagher worked at the Department of Homeland Security Office of the CIS Ombudsman and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Ms. Gallagher graduated from Harvard College and Northeastern School of Law.  She was awarded a Skadden Fellowship in 1991 to work at the Massachusetts Center for Law and Education and Advocates for Children of New York.  She has published articles, reports and recommendations related to the impact of homelessness on children and their families, inclusive education for students with disabilities, and various immigration processes and benefit programs. 

J.D. and M.A., University of California, Berkeley.  Mr. Kurzban is a partner in the law firm of Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & 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. 

Deborah J. Notkin is a partner in the firm of Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP and maintains a large international immigration and nationality practice.  During her 25 years in practice, she has acquired a nationally recognized expertise in business immigration matters. Ms. Notkin is the lead attorney at Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP for the PERM Unit and maintains a corporate client base spanning all business immigration matters.

She is a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), 2005-2006 and serves on its Board of Governors. Within AILA, she has held numerous leadership positions including Chair of the National Labor Liaison Committee, Chair of the Vermont Service Center Committee, Chair of AILA’s Interagency Committee and New York Chapter Chair.  She served  also as the Co-chair of the New York Chapter Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law.

For the past seven years, Human Resource Executive has named Ms. Notkin one of the 20 most powerful business immigration attorneys in the U.S.  In June 2010, Ms. Notkin received the American Immigration Lawyers Media Award for her work in advocating for reasonable immigration laws.  She is listed in Best Lawyers in America; the International Who is Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers, and Chambers USA as recommended immigration counsel.  New York Super Lawyers has listed her as one of the top immigration attorneys in New York and one of the overall top women attorneys in New York City.

Deborah has served as the Chair of AILA’s Media Advocacy Committee and on AILA’s Labor Liaison Committee.  As an advocate for positive immigration reform, Deborah Notkin has appeared on many television and radio programs and has addressed many religious and business organizations. She remains a resource and occasional commentator for MSNBC, CNBC and Fox News regarding immigration legislation and related issues.

A noted expert in business immigration she has been a lecturer for many years at the Practicing Law Institute’s (PLI) annual Immigration Law Institute, PLI’s Basics Seminar, the New York State Bar Association’s bi-annual immigration seminar and AILA’s Annual and regional conferences. She has also been a presenter at many different venues including the American Council of International Personnel (ACIP), the Pacific Chapter and New York Chapter of the US Mexico Chamber of Commerce and the Global Independence Organization.

Robert E. Juceam, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and former Chair of its National Committee on Ethics, is Of Counsel and a former Partner of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and a member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers. His practice includes representation of attorneys in discipline matters as well as complex commercial litigation and insurance and reinsurance disputes. His full bio is at

Carolyn S. Lee is a Partner in Miller Mayer’s Immigration practice group.

Ms. Lee is the Managing Partner of Miller Mayer’s EB-5 Group.  Her practice focuses on EB-5 regional centers, developers, funds, and investors.  She has been practicing immigration law at Miller Mayer for 14 years, developing her EB-5 practice for the past 10 years.  Prior to joining Miller Mayer, Ms. Lee practiced corporate law in New York City.

Ms. Lee is currently the Co-Chair of American Immigration Lawyers (AILA) EB-5 Committee, and has previously served as Chair.  She also serves on the Public Policy Committee of Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the leading EB-5 trade association.  Ms. Lee has been actively advising the industry on current EB-5 legislation, identifying priorities and drafting comments [HYPERLINK TO S. 1501 COMMENTS].  Under her leadership, the EB-5 Committee has advanced important improvements to the EB-5 program reflected in the final USCIS EB-5 Policy Memorandum.  Ms. Lee is a prominent national and international speaker and on EB-5 matters and is considered a preeminent authority on EB-5 law.

Ms. Lee is the author of leading EB-5 publications, including Material Change: Managing the Inevitable During EB-5 Visa Retrogression (PLI, December 2014), State Designations of EB-5 Targeted Employment Areas (IIUSA, March 2014), Effect of Material Change Doctrine in EB-5 Deference Policy (AILA 2012), “Material Change” in EB-5 Petitions: A Need to Return to the Drawing Board (AILA 2010), and The Meaning of “At Risk” in EB-5 Investment (AILA 2009).  She is also a co-author of EB-5 publications, including Relevance of U.S. Securities Laws to Immigrant InvestorsEB-5 Regional Centers and Their Advisors (2009) and the comprehensive EB-5 update article for the AILA annual conference handbook.  She frequently authors EB-5 articles published by IIUSA, AILA, and Bender's Immigration Bulletin.

Ms. Lee is listed in the International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers and in The Best Lawyers in America in the practice area of Immigration Law.  She is also a recipient of AILA’s Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award and Presidential Commendation.

Ms. Lee is a member of the New York State bar.  She received her J.D. from Cornell Law School where she served as Chancellor of the Moot Court Board, and her B.A cum laude from Williams College.  She has been a visiting scholar at Exeter College, Oxford University and is also a graduate of Stuyvesant High School (New York).

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 the American Immigration Lawyer’s  (AILA) Administrative Litigation Task Force; AILA’s FOIA Strategy Committee; former chair and current member of AILA’s Ethics Committee; special counsel on immigration matters to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee, Appellate Division, First Department, New York; board member of Volunteers for Legal Services and board member of The 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 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.

Gary N. Merson has been with the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman since April 2005 and currently serves as the Acting Deputy.  From February 2012 through December 2012, Mr. Merson served as a Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.  Prior to joining the Ombudsman’s Office, Mr. Merson was Government Affairs Counsel with Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy from 1999 to 2005, and prior to that an Advocacy Associate with the American Immigration Lawyers Association from 1998 to 1999.  Mr. Merson is a graduate of Tulane Law School and Vanderbilt University.

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.

Mary Pivec is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Ford Harrison LLP.  Ms. Pivec’s immigration compliance practice focuses on the growing intersection between immigration enforcement and immigration-related labor protections. She represents employers in civil and criminal worksite enforcement cases, I-9 compliance counseling and worksite audits, immigration-related discrimination investigations, H1-B/LCA investigations and enforcement proceedings, and in administrative hearings and tribunals with jurisdiction over immigration enforcement and immigration-related labor and discrimination matters.  She has been at the forefront of the practice of I-9 worksite enforcement law since enactment of The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and is also a leading practitioner in the field of LCA employer-defense.  Ms. Pivec has also served as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases in matters relating to immigration law and enforcement.  Ms. Pivec is peer review rated  AV® Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, a Fellow of the ABA College of Labor and Employment Attorneys, a Member of the 2015 Law360 Immigration Advisory Board, and listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Immigration Law.

Pamela Partenheimer Mick is the Founder and Managing Principal of Partenheimer Mick Immigration Law in Chicago, Illinois.  Ms. Partenheimer Mick graduated from DePauw University with a degree in Asian Studies.  After a stint living and working in Japan, she obtained her Juris Doctor from Indiana University leading into her career in employment based immigration law.  Ms. Partenheimer Mick handles the full spectrum of temporary work visas, employment based green cards and immigration related compliance for companies of all sizes and industries.  In addition, Ms. Partenheimer Mick is an active member of AILA and currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Labor Committee.

Robert C. Divine chairs 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.

Suzanne B. Seltzer is the Principal of The Seltzer Firm, PLLC.  Ms. Seltzer is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) USCIS Benefits and Policy Committee, having recently completed her tenure as Chair of AILA’s Service Center Operations (SCOPS) Liaison Committee.  Ms. Seltzer also co-founded the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) in 2002 and continues to sit on its Steering Committee. Ms. Seltzer regularly speaks and publishes on matters relating to immigration law.  Ms. Seltzer is ranked among the nation’s top 20 practitioners in the area of Immigration Law by LawDragon, and is also ranked in Chambers Global, Chambers USA, and included in Best Lawyers in America, New York Super Lawyers, and New York Magazine’s Best Lawyer’s in New York. She obtained her JD from Georgetown University Law Center, and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Tom Jawetz is the Democratic Chief Counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security of the House Committee on the Judiciary.  He received his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1999 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 2003.  Following law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Kimba M. Wood in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  From 2004-2005, Tom received an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship to work at the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.  During his fellowship, he represented asylum seekers in removal proceedings and helped to establish a screening program for persons appearing without counsel at the Arlington Immigration Court.  In 2005, he accepted a litigation fellowship at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, where he later worked as the Immigration Detention Staff Attorney.  During his time at the ACLU, he co-counseled several detention conditions lawsuits involving issues ranging from overcrowding to inadequate medical care.  He testified twice before the House Judiciary Committee, once on the issue of immigration detainee medical care and deaths in custody and once on the Private Prison Information Act of 2007.  He additionally co-authored a report detailing the experiences of thousands of prisoners who were trapped in the New Orleans jail during Hurricane Katrina.  He has worked for the House Judiciary Committee since May 2009.

William A. Stock is a founding partner of Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP, where he leads the Employment-Based Immigration Team from the firm’s Philadelphia headquarters.  He handles all aspects of immigration law, including assisting companies and individuals in obtaining employment- and family-based visas; resolving citizenship issues and obtaining naturalization; and defending clients in DHS and Department of Labor enforcement proceedings.  He is featured in The Best Lawyers in America, The Chambers Global Guide, Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, and Who’s Who of Business Lawyers.  He has received the highest (“AV”) rating from the Martindale-Hubble Peer Review system, has taught immigration law at Villanova University School of Law, is a frequent speaker and author on immigration law topics, and is a Past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the 14,000 member national organization of immigration lawyers.