Steve handles a wide variety of immigration and naturalization matters on behalf of aliens seeking authorization for U.S. residence or employment. Those areas include, but are not limited to, the following:
Steve has specialized in immigration law since 1993.
Gone are the days of immigration law 'business as usual.' Since 1997 in particular, Congress and immigration agencies have implemented changes in U.S. immigration law, many of them sweeping. Moreover, immigration enforcement authorities have recently become more aggressive in initiating removal proceedings - and sometimes detention - in certain cases, while in the business immigration area visas (such as H-1B and H-2B) have presented aliens and their would-be employer sponsors with severe quota-based timing issues. These days, in order to provide legal services in this area of law, a lawyer must possess strong research, analytical, advocacy and planning skills and the willingness to navigate in an increasingly variable legal landscape.
Two examples of Steve's work in this shifting landscape of law:
Severe problems are being experienced by some aliens on entry into the U.S. even when they have valid passport visas. Such problems include being handcuffed, being detained for hours or days and being denied access to hosts, family or legal counsel. Steve handled one such case, featured by the columnist Anthony Lewis in the Friday, December 12, 1997 issue of the New York Times (Page A35, Op-Ed). Steve obtained governmental reversal of the removal order and readmission for his client despite the re-entry ban. To do so, he mounted a three-pronged attack on INS's five-year ban on entry in that case. He obtained acceptance of his client by the American Immigration Lawyers Association free of charge into a landmark court action challenging abuses of the expedited removal process, he obtained the aforementioned New York Times coverage of the injustices involved, and he prepared an extensive application to INS for readmission. On their part, governmental authorities conducted an administrative investigation of the abusive INS officer involved in that case.
RELIEF FROM REMOVAL FOR CERTAIN ALIENS WITH CRIMINAL
Changes of law since 1997 may bring about disastrous immigration consequences based on past criminal convictions - even for longstanding U.S. lawful permanent residents, and even where criminal convictions were trivial and happened long before the recent changes in law. Steve won relief from deportation for a lawful permanent resident alien in one such case, as a result of four years of what might be called creative lawyering. That particular case involved an alien who had had one conviction for possession of cocaine; he had served honorably in the U.S. military, had a father and many siblings with U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status in the U.S. and other factors generally favoring relief from deportation in his case. Unfortunately, however, during the midst of this proceeding, Congress passed legislation which threatened to reverse relevant law 180 degrees. Worse yet, the Justice Department then interpreted certain ambiguities in that law to apply it to those in Steve's client's position to bar them from even the possibility of applying for relief from deportation. At the lowest point in this case, it appeared that this alien would be ordered deported with little or no prospect for relief on appeal. At that point, in a novel move, Steve petitioned the Attorney General directly, using the bare authority of a statutory provision in new law, to terminate deportation proceedings and reinitiate them as removal proceedings, in an attempt to obtain lawful permanent residence status for this client. While that petition was pending, and while INS objected to its use, two favorable things happened in the case. The Attorney General decided to afford many aliens, such as Steve's client, the possibility of applying for the newer form of relief. Perhaps more importantly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overruled the Justice Department's interpretation of the new law, meaning in effect that Steve's client would be allowed to apply for the relief he had initially sought. These developments ultimately allowed Steve to obtain relief from deportation for this client.
The foregoing case histories, and the content of this web site generally, are not intended to be and should not be relied upon as legal advice. To be effective and reliable, legal advice must be tailored to the specific facts and relevant law pertaining to each individual case.
The foregoing case examples demonstrate Steve's down-to-earth analysis and forceful handling of tough immigration problems now arising in a shifting and sometimes harsh legal landscape.
Steve apprenticed on pro bono cases with a legal aid organization based in Brooklyn, NY. Like his early mentor at that organization, Steve serves clients of every race and religion, from all over the world, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and South and Central America.
Steve added immigration law to a corporate, trusts and estates and entertainment law practice. This addition was largely motivated by his enjoyment of work abroad (three months on film production in Mexico City), travel (in Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean), and amateur soccer, which has brought him into contact with players from the Caribbean, South and Central America, the U.K., Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and by his love of cultural variety. In his immigration practice he is spirited in service of the freedom of movement.
Steve has been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) since 1997. He is currently a moderator of the H-2A/H-2B forum in the AILA Message Center. He was a speaker on the three-member panel on Federal Litigation of Business Immigration Cases at the April, 2015, joint annual spring conference of the Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma chapters of AILA in Santa Fe, NM.