Holland & Knight's Immigration, Nationality and Consular Team is distinguished by the scope of the matters it handles and the diverse experience of its attorneys, including those who came to the firm after serving in leadership positions in immigration-related government agencies. As a result, we have a rich portfolio of experience and relationships inside the federal government that enable us to address almost any immigration problem encountered by businesses or individuals.
Our Immigration, Nationality and Consular Team provides proactive and practical counsel on all types of business immigration law. In recent years, we have seen considerable disruption to legal immigration with unprecedented backlogs and delays of applications by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Unfortunately, this also has created challenges for many companies that need to bring foreign national employees to the U.S.
We understand that immigration issues are vital to companies that must bring talent to the U.S. from foreign affiliates or fill positions that require special skill sets. Our immigration lawyers advise clients in securing waivers or achieving other mitigation when visas or travel requests are rejected by immigration officials.
Our Immigration, Nationality and Consular Team works closely with the firm's transactional teams in mergers and acquisitions to ensure appropriate due diligence and drafting of deal documents to protect key employees and executives. Clients benefit from a full-service and strategic approach that considers immigration in the context of a company's cross-border operations. Over the past decade, we have worked with investors, startups and multinationals in finance and banking, law firms, entertainment, media and communications, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, energy, technology, aviation and real estate. These engagements often work in concert with Holland & Knight's practices that serve these industries in transactions, litigation or public policy.
We also advise nonprofits and educational institutions to help them secure visas for students, researchers, faculty and other employees. Athletes, sports teams and entertainers also turn to us to secure authorization to travel or work in the U.S.
While immigration laws have not changed much under the current administration, policies and enforcement priorities have. Generally, this has resulted in more delays, requests for additional documentation, and enforcement actions or investigations. Our lawyers represent clients in criminal and civil investigations, the mitigation of fines, Form I-9 guidance and audits, and every area of compliance and training. We also train human resources departments and managers on compliance, creating policy manuals and implementing best practices. Our goal is to help clients achieve maximum compliance and to find efficient ways to address problems when they arise. Efforts to guide clients are informed by our attorneys' prior experience in government, where they enforced or shaped immigration policy.
We encourage clients to be open to a range of solutions for immigration problems, rather than focusing on a specific visa. Tell us your problem, and we will find a way to address it. Our lawyers have helped clients obtain every type of visa and address all types of immigration-related issues, including:
Immigration officials are given considerable flexibility in interpreting and implementing the complex regulations that govern visas, refugee status, investigations, enforcement and penalties. Our attorneys, some of whom have more than 20 years of experience in handling immigration matters, bring an inside perspective to the immigration processes that affect clients, having worked in immigration agency leadership positions in the administrations of former President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.
For example, one of our lawyers served as a high-level official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and has been an adviser on immigration, security and customs issues to the White House and Congress. Another attorney, one of our Chambers-recognized practice leaders, was a deputy assistant attorney general for immigration litigation in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and was responsible for drafting key immigration and border security legislation as a congressional staff attorney. He was the primary drafter of the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill of 2013 and serves on the Homeland Security Advisory Council's CBP Families and Children Care Panel.
We work closely with Holland & Knight's Public Policy & Regulation Group in Washington, D.C., to monitor changes in immigration policy and assert our clients' views on regulatory or other changes that may affect their operations. Our teams work together to help clients understand the volatile landscape of immigration law and regulations.
In 2018, Holland & Knight worked on 38 pro bono immigration matters and invested more than $1 million in attorney time representing children – some as young as 9 years old – who fled their homes for safety in the U.S. Many of our young clients witnessed horrific violence against close family members in their home countries, resulting in severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some were separated from their parents when they arrived in the U.S.
Holland & Knight is a founding member of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a global organization that provides free legal help to migrant children. Since 2014, more than 260,000 unaccompanied children have arrived at the southern border of the U.S., many of them fleeing Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, three of the most dangerous countries in the world. KIND-trained attorneys represent these children in immigration court and related proceedings, usually preventing deportation that would place their lives in danger.
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