If Not Now, When? Immigration Reform At A Time Of National Crisis

By: Brad Williams, Vice President, Government Relations, Detroit Regional Chamber

“We have the responsibility to (secure the border), but we cannot blame everything on border security. The more we do that, the more we talk ourselves into a false solution,” said former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference.

He went on to add: “If we are 100 percent successful at sealing our border and sealing overstays of visas, then God help us, then we’ll see what a real recession is like.”

With our country in the midst of a recession like nothing we have seen before because of COVID-19, advocates for meaningful immigration reform are a raising key question that strikes at the heart of the effectiveness of our federal government at this point in time.

If not now, when?

Yet amid a time of national crisis, some in the current administration appears to be attempting to shut down one of our biggest economic tools when we need innovation, talent, and job creation more than ever.

The U.S. Chamber recently filed a lawsuit aiming to convince President Trump and his administration to pull back on restrictive immigration policies that threaten to strip our country of one of its historical competitive advantages. It is further evidence of a growing frustration among business leaders partisanship overwhelming meaningful policy, something that dates back years.

That comes on the heels of a different lawsuit filed by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that forced the administration to rescind a policy that would have banned international students from staying in the U.S. if their college or university held classes virtually in the fall.

Clearly the politics around immigration have not only stymied long called for reforms, such as revising the visa system to better suit employers’ needs, but have actually started to move toward more restrictive policies.

For business leaders, the region’s and country’s economic recovery from the pandemic must be inclusive to be successful.

In July, the Chamber partnered with city and county leaders, the New American Economy, and Global Detroit to release a report highlighting how immigrants are essential to the region’s COVID-19 response, and its economic recovery.

In 2018, for instance, immigrants had $12.3 billion in spending power and comprised more than 11.7% of all health care workers.

The math is clear amid consistent support and calls for action.

In February, the Detroit Regional Chamber also signed on to the Michigan Compact on Immigration which outlines five principles to guide the discussion in our state.

The Compact very clearly calls on the federal government to take this issue head-on, putting politics aside and charting a sensible path forward that empowers immigrants to strengthen the economy and our competitiveness.

The signatories represent more than 20,000 companies and more than one million employees and calls for a federal immigration system that responds to the needs of Michigan employers and workers in a time when talent attraction and retention are critical to the state’s economic growth.

Of course, back in 2013, Secretary Gutierrez wasn’t alone.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush also made the economic case for reforms as the topic was central to discussing Michigan’s competitiveness in the 21st century.

“A path to residency should be made easier so that these great catalytic converters of sustained economic growth pursue their dreams in this country rather than be trained here and shipped back to their country of origin to be our economic competitors,” said Governor Bush.

Unfortunately, the political gridlock since then has resulted in another seven years of stalled reform.

If not then, perhaps now the overdue change will come, as the country deals with a global pandemic that’s challenging it in unprecedented ways.

Nemeth Law’s Raising the Bar tackles critical immigration and compliance challenges facing employers at its May 8 session

Detroit — April 16, 2019 — Raising the Bar, an educational series increasing employer awareness of current issues in employment and labor law and offered by Detroit-based Nemeth Law, P.C., returns on Wednesday, May 8, to discuss employers’ ongoing compliance challenges relating to immigration.

According to Nemeth Law partner Terry Bonnette, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stepped up its actions in 2018 and has promised to maintain heightened enforcement efforts through 2019.

“On April 4, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Unit executed criminal search warrants at a north Texas telecommunication repair company, arresting 280 employees—making it the largest single work site action taken by ICE in more than a decade,” Bonnette said.

“In fiscal 2018, ICE opened 6,848 worksite investigations and arrested more than 2,300 people at work. Criminal charges were brought against 113 members of management for violations of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986,” he added.

Immigration attorney Dorothy Basmaji will join Nemeth Law attorneys at Raising the Bar as a guest speaker to discuss how U.S. immigration policy may affect companies’ employment practices, what they need to be doing to stay in compliance, and how to handle issues that may come up. Topics include:

  • I-9 compliance: preparing for and surviving an ICE audit
  • The changing landscape in obtaining and defending H-1B entry
  • National origin discrimination: Title VII, ELCRA, and IRCA
  • The latest trends and updates in IRCA enforcement and how those are impacting employers

Raising the Bar will be held on Wednesday, May 8, at the Management Education Center, 811 West Square Lake Road, Troy, 48098. Continental breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. The program begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 11:45 a.m. with one 15-minute break. The cost of the event is $75 per person and pre-registration is requested. To register, e-mail Pamela Perkowski at pperkowski@nemethlawpc.com or call 313.567.5921.

Nemeth Law, P.C. is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP professional development credits (PDCs). This program is valid for 2.5 PDCs.

About Nemeth Law, P.C.
Nemeth Law specializes in arbitration, mediation, workplace investigations, employment litigation, traditional labor law and management consultation/training for private and public sector employers. It is the largest woman-owned law firm in Michigan to exclusively represent management in the prevention, resolution and litigation of labor and employment disputes.


2019 Legislative Priorities Focus on Growing the Detroit Region

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors recently adopted its legislative priorities for 2019. These 14 priorities, which are critical to economic development and growth of the region, include investing in infrastructure, support for a reliable regional transit system, maintaining a pro-growth tax structure, and creating pathways to postsecondary education and careers, among many other pro-business policy issues. This year’s priorities are aligned with the five pillars that guide the Chamber’s economic development strategy to position the region for global competitiveness.


  • Maintain a pro-growth tax structure that allows Michigan to compete globally for business and talent.
  • Encourage smart spending policies and long-term budgeting that prioritizes fiscal solvency.
  • Maintain a regulatory climate that is conducive to Michigan’s growing economy.
  • Support reforms for Michigan’s criminal justice system that reduce lengthy and costly sentences and provide age-appropriate rehabilitation.
  • Support policies that expand employment opportunities for chronically underemployed populations.


  • Increase dedicated infrastructure funding and lead efforts to prioritize regional transit options for the Detroit region.
  • Encourage regional policies that are consistent with state and federal law and balance local needs with economic growth.
  • Promote policies that increase access to health insurance while opposing policies that drive up costs for employers and individuals.


  • Maintain rigorous K-12 standards that allow students to succeed in the global economy.
  • Create greater accountability for quality and siting in charter schools.
  • Increase postsecondary education attainment through policies such as increased dual enrollment and expanded, need-based financial aid.

Global Connectivity:

  • Create pathways to career opportunities in the automotive industry that develop high-skilled talent, including support for immigration reform and the attraction of international students.
  • Promote smart trade policy, including continued USMCA participation and resisting short-sighted trade restrictions or tariffs that inhibit growth.

Next-Generation Mobility:

  • Support policies that allow Michigan to continue to lead in research and development testing for next generation mobility solutions and other emerging industry sectors.


Business Immigration Attorney Elissa Noujaim Pinto Joins Dickinson Wright’s Troy Office

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Attorney Elissa Noujaim Pinto has joined the firm’s Troy office as Of Counsel.

Over the last seventeen years, Ms. Pinto has focused her immigration practice on business immigration, and she has gained extensive experience representing local, national and international companies in obtaining authorization for foreign national employees to work temporarily and permanently in the United States, through various work-authorized visa classifications and employment-based permanent residence processes.

Ms. Pinto regularly provides comprehensive guidance to business clients with respect to their foreign national workforce, including short and long-term strategy and planning, immigration compliance as well as immigration-related issues that arise on a daily basis. She has assisted clients with internal audits and provides useful and practical training on how to conduct self-audits to ensure compliance with ever-evolving and complex immigration laws and policies. Ms. Pinto has also advised on the drafting and establishment of immigration policies and practices for companies, in conjunction with human resources personnel and management input. She regularly provides training that is tailored to company workforce and foreign employment policies and practices, including strategy and best-practice reviews to streamline the immigration process for human resources staff, management, and their foreign national employees.

This year, Ms. Pinto has given several presentations in Portuguese in various cities in Brazil, including a seminar hosted by the Brazilian American Chamber (AmCham Brasil) on the U.S. business immigration process, and a series of seminars in collaboration with Baker Tilly on the EB-5 Investor Greencard process. This fall she is collaborating with Baker Tilly on another series of seminars on the EB-5 program, to be presented in Portuguese in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association’s International Law Section, and the State Bar of Michigan’s International Law Section. She is recognized as a leader in her field by Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers “Rising Stars”, and was featured in the “2018 Powered by Women” section in DBusiness.

Ms. Pinto received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School. She is fluent in Portuguese (Brazilian) and proficient in Spanish and French.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 19 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 12 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville and Music Row, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

FLG’s Managing Partner Rami Fakhoury receives nomination from Who’s Who Legal “Corporate Immigration”

Mr. Rami D. Fakhoury, Managing Director of Fakhoury Law Group (FLG), has been nominated for inclusion in Who’s Who Legal’s Corporate Immigration 2016 volume. Who’s Who Legal, a publication by the esteemed London-based Law Business Research, Ltd., identifies the foremost practitioners in various areas of the law and the top private practice lawyers in over 100 national jurisdictions (http://whoswholegal.com/). Mr. Fakhoury achieved this distinction based on the recommendations of his peers and on Law Business Research’s independent research. The nomination confirms Mr. Fakhoury’s status as one of the world’s leading immigration attorneys. For the past twenty years, FLG has steadily grown to become Michigan’s largest independently-owned immigration law firm. Today FLG specializes in U.S. and global business-based immigration and represents many of the world’s leading brands in the automotive, engineering, health care, and information technology sectors, among others.

Given its growing worldwide client base, FLG has added four offices in California, Colorado, New York, and India to its headquarters in Troy, Michigan. Mr. Fakhoury’s core values of comprehensive immigration expertise and customer-centered service has shaped his firm’s approach to immigration law. FLG has distinguished itself from other such firms by emphasizing technology-driven solutions and Six Sigma processes. Mr. Fakhoury and the Fakhoury Law Group have received multiple awards such as an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, US News and World Report’s Best Law Firms for 2015, and Global Immigration Law Firm of the Year for Excellence by Corporate NTL. All of these awards, along with his inclusion into the Who’s Whos Legal Corporate Immigration 2016 volume, attest to Mr. Fakhoury’s superlative contributions to, and the high ethical standards he upholds in, the practice of immigration law.

For more information, please contact Timothy Braswell at timb@employmentimmigration.com or visit us at www.employmentimmigration.com.

Dickinson Wright to Host a Sunrise Seminar on U.S. Immigration 101

DETROIT, Mich., September 16, 2014 – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that it will host a Sunrise Seminar titled “U.S. Immigration 101: What Every Global Mobility Professional Needs to Know” on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at Automation Alley in Troy, Mich.

As the world’s workforce continues to become increasingly mobile, and as the U.S. economy continues to rebound, companies of all sizes and in all industries are finding that a basic understanding of U.S. immigration law concepts is critical. Join Dickinson Wright’s Immigration Group for a morning of foundational information and practical insights into the maze that is the U.S. immigration law system. Participants will learn about a variety of topics, including: understanding immigration terminology and government agency structure; common temporary work visas and how to get them; greencard sponsorship options for high performers; myths and misconceptions; and compliance best practices.

The seminar will be led by Dickinson Wright Immigration Attorneys Christian Allen, Elise Levasseur, and Suzanne Sukkar. Below are the events details:

Dickinson Wright Sunrise Seminar: “U.S. Immigration 101: What Every Global Mobility Professional Needs to Know”

Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Time: 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Automation Alley
2675 Bellingham Drive
Troy, MI 48083

To register for this event, please contact Mellissa Boyd at 313-223-3125 or at mboyd@dickinsonwright.com.


Christian S. Allen – After more than two decades focusing exclusively on immigration law, Mr. Allen joined the Dickinson Wright Immigration Group in 2013. With a specialty certificate in European Law from Tulane University and a passion for technology and innovation, Chris has helped countless companies to establish themselves in the U.S. and to make the Global Mobility process for their employees as seamless as possible.

Elise S. Levasseur – Ms. Levasseur has been a member of Dickinson Wright since 1999 and has similarly focused her practice exclusively on immigration law for nearly 30 years. Elise has invaluable experience assisting long-time Dickinson Wright corporate clients with the full range of U.S. immigration services. She is frequently called upon to advise employers on business traveler issues, and has served as counsel for organizations facing serious I-9 audits and investigations from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Suzanne K. Sukkar – As the newest member to join the Dickinson Wright Immigration Group this year, Ms. Sukkar is based in Dickinson Wright’s Ann Arbor office and has more than a decade of experience in immigration law, including, nonimmigrant and immigrant employment-based visas, outbound (global) immigration, family-based immigration, and naturalization. She represents clients around the world including Europe, China, Japan, the Middle East, and is passionate about helping the client grow and develop creative long-term immigration strategies and solutions for its foreign nationals.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a full-service law firm with more than 40 practice areas. Founded in 1878, Dickinson Wright PLLC has over 350 lawyers in offices located in Detroit, Troy, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Saginaw, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Las Vegas, Nev.; Nashville, Tenn.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. Dickinson Wright LLP has over 35 lawyers in Toronto, Canada.

Immigration Attorney Suzanne K. Sukkar Joins Dickinson Wright’s Ann Arbor Office

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Immigration Attorney Suzanne K. Sukkar has joined the firm’s Ann Arbor office as Of Counsel.

Ms. Sukkar has years of experience in all areas of immigration law, including obtaining non-immigrant employment-based visas, immigrant employment-based visas, outbound (global) immigration, family-based immigration, and naturalization. She has also developed a niche expertise in the area of E-1/E-2 (treaty trader/investor) visa applications, intracompany transfers, consular processing, and start-up ventures. She works with clients in a wide array of industries including automotive, healthcare, education, financial services, hospitality/food, IT/technology, engineering, religious, and not-for-profit. Ms. Sukkar represents clients before government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of State, and Department of Labor.

Ms. Sukkar is an active member of the community and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Washtenaw County Bar Association, Women’s Exchange and the National Association of Professional Women. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and serves as the Board Treasurer of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce and Vice President of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan.

Ms. Sukkar is a recognized leader in the field by Michigan Super Lawyers and received the 2011 National Woman of the Year Award from the National Association of Professional Women. She is a frequent lecturer and speaker on immigration issues to the legal and business communities throughout Michigan. Ms. Sukkar received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a full-service law firm with more than 40 practice areas. Founded in 1878, Dickinson Wright PLLC has over 350 lawyers in offices located in Detroit, Troy, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Saginaw, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Las Vegas, Nev.; Nashville, Tenn.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. Dickinson Wright LLP has over 35 lawyers in Toronto, Canada.

Fakhoury Law Group Attorney Selected for Michigan Super Lawyer’s List.

Fakhoury Law Group Director Named Michigan Super Lawyer

TROY, Michigan (May 20, 2014) Fakhoury Law Group is pleased to announce that Managing Director, Rami D. Fakhoury has been selected for the Michigan Super Lawyer’s list. This honor is bestowed upon lawyers who demonstrate excellence in the practice of law and is limited to no more than five percent of the attorneys in Michigan. As a result of his selection, Mr. Fakhoury will be listed in Michigan Super Lawyer’s magazine, Crain’s Detroit Business supplement, and Super Lawyer’s Business edition.
Rami Fakhoury is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Fakhoury Law Group, PC (FLG), a Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent® rated business immigration firm. Passionate about immigration law, Mr. Fakhoury is currently assisting the State of Michigan in developing immigration-friendly reform policies to attract business and professionals to Michigan. It is this same vision of global access and mobility that caused Mr. Fakhoury to pioneer establishing an office in Mumbai to better service FLG’s Indian IT and Engineering clients. “Global mobility permits individuals to have the ultimate choice of life and work. In short, immigration is the business of fulfilling destiny!” says Fakhoury.
Mr. Fakhoury’s knowledge of immigration and foresight into immigration trends and policy has earned him widespread recognition. Mr. Fakhoury was selected as Immigration Attorney of the Year (2011) by Detroit Lawyer Monthly, and is designated Top Lawyer in DBusiness and Hour magazines. He has also been listed in the International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers for two consecutive years. In 2009, Mr. Fakhoury became an Equity Partner of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL), the largest and most prestigious global immigration consortium, and has written numerous papers, articles and books on the subject of immigration.
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.