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48th Annual Immigration and Naturalization Institute

Speaker(s): Angelo A. Paparelli, Austin T. Fragomen, Jr., Charles H. Kuck, Claire R. Thomas, Cynthia Juarez Lange, Cyrus D. Mehta, Deborah J. Notkin, Ellen Gallagher, Frederick Troncone, Ira J. Kurzban, Jeffrey L. Pilgreen, Mark R. von Sternberg, Mary E. Pivec, Pamela Partenheimer Mick, Peter T. Schiron, Jr., Rebecca Peters, Robert C. Divine, Robert E. Juceam, Robin K. Paulino, Ted J. Chiappari
Recorded on: Dec. 3, 2015
PLI Program #: 57356

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.

Claire R. Thomas is an attorney, advocate, and professor interested in migration, statelessness, human rights, 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 New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, a law degree from New York Law School, and was a Visiting Scholar at The New School’s Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility.

Currently, she is professor at New York Law School, where she directs the Asylum Clinic, a year-long immigration law clinic for adults and children facing removal from the United States, as well as teaches the introductory immigration law course. Ms. Thomas provides legal assistance for naturalization applicants through bi-monthly immigration clinics with CUNY Citizenship Now as a contract attorney. She also supervises two attorneys as a consultant with The Door’s Legal Services Center. In addition, Ms. Thomas volunteers assisting refugee mothers and children with the CARA Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas and with asylum-seekers in Tijuana, Mexico with the bi-national organization Al Otro Lado.

Previously, Ms. Thomas served as Director of Training at Safe Passage Project, a non-profit housed at New York Law School, in which she mentored pro bono attorneys representing immigrant children; supervised law students, fellows and staff; coordinated a monthly Juvenile Docket at the New York Immigration Court; planned, organized and conducted local and national trainings for over 5,000 interested persons; and engaged in advocacy efforts with other non-profit organizations as well as city, state, and federal agencies. Before, she advocated for the rights of African, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern immigrants as a legal intern, then staff attorney at African Services Committee, a Harlem-based non-profit that assists persons living with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, Ms. Thomas provided pro bono representation for survivors of gender-based violence, including minors, in immigration proceedings. Ms. Thomas also directed “Projet Aimée,” African Services Committee’s women’s empowerment group for survivors of gender-based violence, funded by a Community Action Grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Ms. Thomas is a member of the Immigration & Nationality Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association. Her writings have appeared in various law journals and she is frequent Op-Ed contributor for news outlets. She was an opinion columnist for Anthropology News, a publication of the American Anthropological Association. She speaks French fluently and is learning Spanish.

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.

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.

Jeffrey L. Pilgreen
Post Liaison
National Visa Center                        

Jeffrey came to the National Visa Center in October 2015.  Before that he was the immigrant visa chief at the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the State Department’s largest immigrant visa processing post.  Prior to that assignment Jeff was a student at the Inter American Defense College (2012 – 2013) where he earned a Certificate in Security and Defense Studies.  From 2009 to 2012, Jeffrey was the Nonimmigrant Visa Unit Chief in Vancouver, Canada.  Prior to Vancouver, he was a Desk Officer (2008 – 2009) in the Office of Provincial Affairs at the Embassy in Baghdad, supporting Provincial Reconstruction Team efforts in Western and Southern Iraq.  He previously served in Ciudad Juarez as a consular officer, Nonimmigrant Visa Deputy, and acting NIV Chief from 2005 to 2008.  His first assignment in the Foreign Service was as the Financial Management and Human Resources Officer in Belgrade, Serbia (2002 – 2004).

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Jeffrey worked as school teacher in Southern California (1995 – 2001).  He also taught English in the Czech Republic from 1992 to 1993.  Jeffrey graduated from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls in 1991 with a degree in history and geography and holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California.

Rebecca Peters is a Director of Public Policy, Semiconductor Policy at Samsung Electronics America.  Rebecca leads the public affairs’ workforce, education, research and intellectual property portfolios.  Prior to joining Samsung, Peters was Vice President of Member Engagement and Public Policy at Worldwide ERC®.  While there she contributed to the organization’s overall strategy as a part of the CEO’s leadership team reporting to its Board.  She led the organization’s public policy and membership divisions.  She also led workplace immigration public policy strategy for eight years at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). While at SHRM, she served on the CEO’s Culture Club and was a member of the organization’s senior management team. Before SHRM, Peters was the Director of Government Affairs at the Council for Global Immigration, leading its public policy efforts and the Board’s policy committee. She has also served as a policy chair for the U.S. immigration advocacy coalition Compete America and SHRM’s employer immigration compliance coalition.

She is a frequent speaker on issues of global mobility and high-skilled immigration reform and is viewed as an immigration policy expert both inside and outside the beltway.

Earlier in her career, Peters practiced immigration law at a Washington D.C.- based law firm and served as an attorney and policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Justice’s legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service. She was a Presidential Management fellow and received her J.D. and M.P.A. from Syracuse University’s College of Law and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, respectively. Peters also served for four years on the Women in Government Relations leadership team as a vice chair and chair of its membership and engagement committee.

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 founder of 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 in its 17th Edition 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.

Mr. Kurzban has practiced Immigration and Nationality Law for over 40 years and has won numerous awards for his work. He was the first recipient of the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award presented to him by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court for his work in protecting Haitian asylum seekers. He was selected as an  Honorary Fellow by the University of Pennsylvania Law School for his work on behalf of refugees.  He has been the recipient of the Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship from Harvard Law School and in 2020 he received the  Leonard J. Theberge Award for Private International Law from the American Bar Association.

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

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.

Angelo A. Paparelli, a partner in the 800-lawyer firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP, practices immigration law in Los Angeles and New York. His practice covers the full range of immigration law issues with special emphasis in employment-based immigration, particularly the EB-5, E-2, H-1B, L-1 visa categories, immigration worksite compliance and defense of employers in government investigations, and the immigration consequences of mergers, acquisitions and other forms of corporate restructuring. Angelo is the founder and a past President of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, a 40-member worldwide alliance of leading immigration firms. With an immigration career spanning more than 35 years, he has substantial experience in helping businesses and families obtain immigration benefits and advising and defending employers in U.S. immigration compliance and enforcement actions. A Certified Immigration and Nationality Law Specialist (State Bar of CA Board of Legal Specialization), Angelo has been rated three times as the World’s Leading Corporate Immigration Lawyer in annual peer rankings of the International Who’sWho of Corporate Lawyers, and as a Star Individual in Immigration Law – the highest rating – by Chambers and Partners in several annual rankings. A 2010 recipient of the Edith Lowenstein Award for advancing the practice of immigration law, he also blogs on solutions to America's dysfunctional immigration system at and served as the Lead Editor of Forming and Operating an EB-5 Regional Center: A Guide for Developers and Business Innovators (ILW, May 2014), and Editor, with Matt Gordon and L. Batya Schwartz Ehrens, The EB-5 Book 2014-2015 Edition (ILW, April, 2015). He can be reached at 213-270-9797 and

Frederick Troncone joined the Ombudsman’s Office in March 2008, and currently serves as a Senior Advisor on Business Affairs.  In this capacity, he is the office lead on EB-5 issues, and speaks on behalf of the Ombudsman’s Office at a variety of events addressing business immigration related issues, including those sponsored by groups such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, Council for Global Immigration, Invest in The USA, Federal Bar Association Practicing Law Institute, and others.  The mission of the DHS, Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman is to assist individuals and employers in resolving problems with the USCIS, to identify serious and pervasive systemic issues affecting the delivery of immigration benefits and agency’s responsiveness to the public it serves. The Ombudsman’s Office makes both formal and informal recommendations for changes in policies and/or procedures to mitigate the problems identified, and issues an Annual Report to Congress, which provides an independent assessment by the Department on the performance of the agency.  Before joining the Ombudsman’s Office, Mr. Troncone practiced immigration and nationality law, as well as employment law, for over 20 years in the private sector in Washington DC, and in Hawaii, where he served as the Chair of the Hawaii Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Troncone also served as an Attorney-Advisor to the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel’s Office, Division of Enforcement Litigation, from 1983-1988.  

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.

Peter T. Schiron, Jr., is an assistant general counsel with Deloitte LLP in New York City, where he provides strategic legal advice and counseling to the organization on a wide range of immigration and employment law matters, with a focus on global business immigration and international workforce compliance issues. In this role, he oversees the global mobility legal function of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries, and guides leadership and senior management in formulating U.S. and global immigration policies and compliance practices for the organization. Mr. Schiron received his law degree from William and Mary School of Law in Williamsburg, VA, and a bachelor's degree in Political Science from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He is a frequent speaker on topics relating to business immigration and employment practices.

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.

Robin Kandell Paulino is Assistant General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation's U.S. immigration program. In her role, Ms. Paulino oversees a team of 18 immigration professionals providing strategic legal advice to senior leadership, as well as support to foreign national employees (and their dependents) from over 130 countries. Ms. Paulino started her legal career practicing in the area of deportation defense. In 1998, she joined Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy's Northern California practice. While at Fragomen, Ms. Paulino represented mid to large size Fortune 500 companies and served as the Managing Attorney over the I-9 Service Center until she joined Microsoft in 2007. Ms. Paulino is a member of Microsoft's Pro Bono Steering Committee and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Immigration Subcommittee. She received her undergraduate degree from University of Arizona, her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, and is a member of the State Bar of California. 

Ted J. Chiappari, a partner at Satterlee Stephens LLP, concentrates his practice in the area of business immigration. He represents companies, not-for-profits and religious organizations seeking to acquire temporary work permits or permanent resident status for their foreign employees. He also advises on complex citizenship issues, maintenance of permanent resident status while abroad and tax aspects of international transfer of personnel. In addition, he has developed and conducted training programs on immigration for his clients, including a major New York City agency.

Admitted to practice in New York State, Mr. Chiappari is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the American Council on Germany.  He has served as a panelist at AILA chapter and national conferences, as well as NJICLE and PLI conferences, and has written and edited numerous articles.  He previously co-authored a column in the New York Law Journal and served as an adjunct faculty member at Teachers College at Columbia University.

Mr. Chiappari has been selected by his peers for inclusion in Chambers USA, Who’s Who Legal, The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers.

Mr. Chiappari earned his undergraduate degree magna cum laude (B.S.) from Santa Clara University.  Fluent in German, he studied political science and law for two years in Freiburg, Germany.  He received his law degree (J.D.) from Harvard University.