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  • About Steven A. Sklar



    Steve has over 25 years of experience specializing in immigration law. He handles a wide variety of immigration and naturalization matters on behalf of aliens seeking authorization for U.S. residence and employment, in areas including but not limited to:

    Steve has specialized in immigration law since 1994.


    Gone are the days of immigration law 'business as usual.' Since 1997, Congress and immigration agencies have implemented sweeping 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 and inconsistent governmental decision-making. 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 changeable legal landscape.

    Particularly challenging immigration cases that Steve has handled successfully include:

    • Obtaining a grant of asylum from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in 2001, reversing the decision of Immigration Judge (IJ) William F. Jankun. Judge Jankun had on April 25, 1996, denied Steve’s Mauritanian client’s asylum claim. You can read a redacted version of that BIA decision here. Two facts about this successful outcome for Steve’s client are particularly noteworthy:
      • Judge Jankun had denied asylum on the ground that he found the applicant’s testimony not credible. The BIA decision confirms that credibility findings are a ground of denial that is very hard to overturn, given that the BIA accords great deference to Immigration Judges’ credibility determinations. In the appeal to the BIA, Steve pointed out in detail, and the BIA very largely agreed, that the judge’s credibility findings were themselves baseless.
      • In the late 1990s, Immigration Judge Jankun had an asylum grant rate of only 1.7%, the LOWEST asylum grant rate of any of the 193 Immigration Judges in the U.S. See 1994 to 1999 U.S. Immigration Judges' Asylum Denial Rates Report Table.
    • U.S. Passport application case: obtaining documentation of U.S. citizenship status of adult client born abroad, out of wedlock, to a U.S. citizen father and foreign mother. Case had significant time pressure and required:
      • Searching for and analyzing old versions of automatic citizenship law, sources of law not readily available in current texts on the subject.
      • Arguing to a U.S. Passport Agency office why non-standard case should be approved, to counter-act agency’s unfamiliarity with governing statutory law in the case and related resistance to granting passport.
      • Supervising relevant document acquisition by client in old and hard to find birth records. War conditions in client’s country of birth made records acquisition difficult.
    • Obtaining rescission of old order of removal to obtain marriage-based lawful permanent residence status for client. Prepared successful Lozada motion to reopen removal proceedings.
    • Obtaining rescission of old order of removal to obtain T (trafficking victim) status for client; client was then able to obtain LPR status based on T status. Prepared successful Lozada motion to reopen removal proceedings.
    • Obtaining affirmative asylum for client based on soldier’s threats of imprisonment, where prison conditions would be extremely harsh and possibly fatal; threats were triggered by client’s human-rights-related activities.
    • Obtaining asylum grant in Immigration Court in case based on anti-semitic attack on client by neo-Nazi thugs; case was made more challenging by administrative delay in case processing, which resulted in gap of well over 10 years between acts of persecution and asylum hearing.
    • Obtaining H-2B petition approval for youth soccer instruction staff despite heavy time pressure related to the threat of imminent quota exhaustion.
    • Obtaining reversal of an order of expedited removal: Client was browbeaten by immigration inspections officer. Steve got such maltreatment written up in a New York Times article by prominent columnist Anthony Lewis. Inspections officer was investigated by governmental authorities; Steve 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; Steve got five-year ban on his client’s re-entry to the U.S. rescinded by the U.S. immigration authorities.
    • Obtaining relief from removal for a client convicted of drug possession: Steve was able to petition the Attorney General directly in a novel procedural move that bought the case time for favorable changes of law by the Attorney General and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to take effect. Those changes enabled Steve to keep his client’s lawful permanent resident status and avoid removal from the U.S.
    The foregoing case highlights, and the content of this web site generally, are for informational purposes only and 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, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome in other cases.

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    Steve enjoys analyzing an immigration case to develop case strategy. In doing so, he draws upon his broad knowledge of the ramifications of different courses of action, and takes into account such things as:
    • short- vs. mid- vs. long-term immigration considerations
    • choice of best alternative courses of action
    • governmentally estimated processing times
    • recent changes in law
    • potential conflicts between types of visas in effect or sought
    • non-immigration business, personal or legal concerns raised by the client

    The case highlights listed above demonstrate Steve’s ability to analyze a case and his forceful handling of tough immigration problems that can arise in what is a shifting, and lately also an increasingly harsh, legal landscape.

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    Photo via Good Free Photos


    Twenty-five years ago, in order to explore the field of immigration law, Steve apprenticed on pro bono cases with a legal aid organization based in Brooklyn, NY. In that field, Steve now serves clients of every race, ethnicity, religious background and gender identity, from every continent of the globe.

    Steve added immigration law to what was initially 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. Starting in 2002, he has developed a sub-specialty handling immigration matters involving youth soccer coaches and instructors. In his immigration practice he is spirited and wholehearted in service of the freedom of movement, a basic human right.

    Before becoming a lawyer, Steve worked in many aspects of film and video production, on feature films, TV commercials and industrials. His roles have included producer, director, cameraman and editor (industrials), special effects computer animator (commercials), and production assistant (features). He has published articles on film business and computer-generated special effects in Variety and has written on entertainment law in the New York Law Journal.

    When not practicing law, Steve spends his time studying and performing improv, storytelling, creating videos and writing. His essay describing the experience of visiting a client in immigration detention was published in the Fall, 2017, issue of The Threepenny Review.

    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.

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    H-1B Visa Application Services
    Testimonials From Clients
    Trusts & Estates Practice Background
    Personal Profiles of Steven A. Sklar, Esq. and Nila M. Pusin, Esq.
    Firm Practice Philosophy: How We Practice Law
    Articles & essays by Steven A. Sklar
    Directions To/Location Of Pusin & Sklar Law Office

    e-mail to: sklar@stevensklar.com

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