Overview

“Immigration law has never been for the faint of heart. Anyone even passingly familiar with this formerly backwater, now front-burner subject knows that it is routinely frustrating, confusing, illogical and dispiriting. Its complexity and obscurity have been assailed by the courts, Congressional researchers and even government officials charged with granting immigration benefits.” U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services spokesperson, Karen Kraushaar.

HunterMaclean’s immigration practice group has over twenty years of experience in a wide range of complex immigration issues and has represented foreign nationals and companies from all over the world.

Our representation includes:

  • Hospitals who wish to hire foreign physicians
  • Businesses who wish to hire foreign nationals or transfer existing employees to the United States
  • Companies subject to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) I-9 recordkeeping audits and investigations for knowingly, unknowingly, or negligently hiring illegal aliens
  • U.S. citizens who marry foreign nationals
  • Families who wish to bring loved ones to the United States

We represent our clients in front of the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of State, the National Visa Center, various U.S. consulates overseas, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

We work closely with our clients at the earliest possible stage to help them develop strategies to ensure that they maintain lawful status in the United States, do not violate the immigration laws, and are always authorized to work and travel.

When the government investigates, our immigration attorneys have represented employers in a variety of industries regarding form I-9 audits and have worked closely with defense counsel where the government claims criminal intent. We regularly conduct internal immigration audits for clients and advise clients with respect to compliance with form I-9 requirements, E-Verify, state immigration law, and federal contractor immigration obligations.

Our immigration practice group has been given top-tier designation by the US. News & World Report/Best Lawyers ranking. Our immigration attorneys are also members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

——————-DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS———————

On August 15, 2012 the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services began accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. Individuals whose cases are approved will not be removed from the United States for a two-year period and may also apply for employment authorization. Information provided in the deferral request is protected from disclosure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings unless the requestor meets the criteria for the issuance of a Notice to Appear. Information related to your family members or guardians that is contained in your request will not be referred to ICE for purposes of immigration enforcement against family members or guardians. Contact us if you wish to pursue deferred action.

 

Experience

One of our specialties is working with foreign physicians, and we understand the challenges such physicians face when working in the United States. If a foreign physician enters the United States with a J-1 visa to complete a medical residency and then wishes to stay and work, he or she must obtain a waiver of a “two-year home residency” requirement. We work directly with state Departments of Community Health, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to ensure that the physicians obtain waivers of the home residency requirement and obtain H-1B visas so they can work in the United States. Many of these physicians go on to obtain green cards and become U.S. citizens, and we have expertise in that area as well. Additional information regarding J-1 visa waivers for foreign physicians is attached.

We specialize in temporary work visas including: (i) H-1B visas for foreign nationals in “specialty occupations” where the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher is required; (ii) L-1A and L-1B intra-company visas for international companies needing to bring foreign employees to the United States; (iii) E visas for business owners, managers, and employees who are engaged in trade or investment in the United States; and (iv) O visas for aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics.

We also specialize in permanent residency (a/k/a “green card”) applications, which confer on foreign nationals the right to live and work in the United States without time limitations. The two most common ways of becoming a permanent resident are through close family ties to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or through employment in the United States, usually based on a job offer from a U.S. employer.

“Mills Fleming helped me obtain an O-1 extraordinary ability visa as a physician clinical geneticist in 2006. In 2011 he assisted me with an H-1B work visa as a professor and teaching physician at the James H. Quillen Medical School in Tennessee, and a green card based on my marriage to a U.S. citizen. Mr. Fleming and his staff have always been there for me and my family during the complex immigration application process. He is thoughtful, informed and always willing to help when unforeseen circumstances arise. Mr. Fleming is the immigration attorney I highly recommend.” Apostolos Psychogios, M.D. (citizen of Greece)

Additional Expertise

  • B visas for business and pleasure travelers
  • E treaty trader and treaty investor visas
  • F student visas
  • H-1B work visas for professionals
  • H-3 training visas
  • J exchange visitor visas
  • J-1 visa waivers and work visas for foreign physicians
  • K visas for fiancés and spouses of U.S. citizens
  • L intra-company transferee visas
  • O extraordinary ability visas in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics
  • P visas for entertainers and athletes
  • R religious worker visas
  • TN work visas for Canadian and Mexican foreign nationals
  • Family-sponsored permanent residence petitions
  • Employment-based permanent residence petitions
  • National Interest Waivers
  • Permanent labor certification (PERM)
  • Naturalization / U.S. citizenship
  • I-9 audits

Publications & Presentations

Publications

President Obama's executive order on immigration: Part 2 of 2

Sarah Lamar continues her discussion on President Obama’s executive order on immigration in Part 2 of this two-part series for the Savannah Morning News. In Part 2, she explores the elements of the new immigration plan that relate to businesses and high-skilled workers in particular.

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President Obama's executive order on immigration: Part 1 of 2

In Part 1 of this two-part column, attorney Sarah Lamar reviews the provisions of President Obama’s new immigration plan, which will allow up to 5 million undocumented aliens to remain and work in the United States by deferring their deportations for three years at a time.

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An Overview of Obama's Executive Order on Immigration

When President Obama announced his executive order on immigration in November 2014, the broad outline he presented raised many questions. This article by attorney Sarah Lamar is an overview of a two-part series in Savannah Morning News, detailing the upcoming changes and how they could impact businesses.

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New Immigration Laws Affect Local Employers

Sarah Lamar discusses the impact of new immigration legislation on area employers.

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Federal, State Immigration Law Reform: What Employers Need to Know

On September 21, 2011, the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives approved a proposed bill that would mandate the use of E-Verify for all new hires in the U.S. The bill will now go to the full House of Representatives for a vote, but a date has not been determined. The proposed bill is the latest in a series of state and federal attempts to create a solution to immigration and employment concerns across the nation.

Georgia already has a mandatory E-Verify law, House Bill 87. Every public employer and most private employers will eventually be required to use E-Verify to determine the work authorization of new employees. Georgia employers with 500 or more employees will be required to use E-Verify starting January 1, 2012; employers with 100 to 499 employees will be required to use it starting July 1, 2012; and, employers with 10 to 99 employees will be required to use the program starting July 1, 2013.

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Georgia Immigration Reform Effective July 1

By T. Mills Fleming, published on June 1, 2011, in Business in Savannah.

When Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 87 into law earlier this month, he helped shape the ongoing national debate about immigration reform and affected the way Georgia employers can be prosecuted for knowingly hiring undocumented residents.

The new legislation officially takes effect on July 1 at which time Georgia will become the third state in the U.S. to pass its own immigration reform measures. Although immigration enforcement is typically the responsibility of federal authorities, many states argue that the federal government has not done enough to secure our nation’s borders and to protect America from the financial burden of a seemingly endless sea of illegal immigration. Alabama and South Carolina are considering similar immigration bills that could pass later this year.

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Immigration Officials Increase I-9 Audits and Enforcement on Employers

By T. Mills Fleming, published on February 24, 2010, in Business in Savannah.

Immigration law may not be at the forefront of the political landscape, but that doesn’t mean you should be lulled into a false sense of security.

On the contrary, immigration officials lately have begun conducting more Form I-9 audits and have refocused their prosecution on employers rather than illegal immigrants. Employers who do not carefully check their employees’ identity and eligibility status could face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $1,100 per violation because a false statement on an I-9 form is considered felony perjury.

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Foreign Nationals: Patriot Act Brings Changes to Working in U.S.

By T. Mills Fleming, published in the Savannah Morning News on February 9, 2003.

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Presentations

Contractors, Immigration and Politics: How the Shortage of Craft Labor has Some Contractors Asking Politicians to Open the Borders

Presented at the 2016 ALFA International Construction Practice Group Seminar on July 29, 2016, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Sarah H. Lamar participated as a panelist.

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Visa Processing and the Conrad 30 Program for Foreign National Physicians

Co-presented by T. Mills Fleming and the Georgia Department of Community Health’s State Office of Rural Health at the Georgia Society for Healthcare Physician Services & Recruitment’s 2016 Annual Conference on July 22, 2016, at the Ritz-Carlton/Reynolds Plantation, Lake Oconee, Georgia.

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Immigration Law

Presented by T. Mills Fleming at the SEALA 2016 Annual Seminar on May 13, 2016.

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Health Care, Immigration and Physicians

Presented by T. Mills Fleming at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Osteopathic Internists on May 7, 2016.

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Immigration Law Update

Presented by T. Mills Fleming at the Savannah Bar Association’s Hot Topics Seminar in 2007.

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Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity

Presented by T. Mills Fleming at the Savannah Bar Association’s Hot Topics Seminar in 2006.

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Immigration in a Post 9/11 World

Presented by T. Mills Fleming at the SEALA Conference and Annual Meeting in 2004.

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Overview of U.S. Immigration Law

Presented by T. Mills Fleming to Global Shipping Engine Manufacturer in Annapolis, Maryland, in 2003.

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Undocumented Aliens: Finding a Place to Stand After September 11

Presented by T. Mills Fleming at the ICJE Annual Seminar in St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 2002.

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Nuts and Bolts of Immigration Law

Presented by T. Mills Fleming at the East Georgia College Foundation, Georgia Rural Economic Development Center in 2001.

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Immigration Basics: What Every Health Care Provider Needs to Know

Presented by T. Mills Fleming at the Georgia Academy of Healthcare Attorneys 2001 Healthcare Law Update and Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 4, 2001.

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Undocumented Alien Claims: Finding a Place to Stand

Presented at the ICLE Workers’ Compensation Judges Annual Seminar in Jekyll Island, Georgia, on April 2, 2001, by T. Mills Fleming.

The United States’ immigration policies have changed dramatically over the last 200 years from being a virtual open door to now being a tightly controlled and highly regulated set of rules and regulations. The first law limiting immigration was the Alien Act of 1798 wherein the president was authorized to expel any alien he deemed dangerous. From that time until the later part of the 19th century, Congress passed very little laws restricting immigrant flow to the U.S.

Beginning in 1875 Congress passed several immigration reform measures beginning with a statute providing for the exclusion of convicts and prostitutes. That law was followed by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which provided for the exclusion of persons from China – and was not repealed until 1943. Congress passed other laws to exclude cheap foreign labor and in 1888 provided for the deportation of aliens entering in violation of these contract labor laws.

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News

20 HunterMaclean Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016

HunterMaclean, a leading business law firm with offices in Savannah and Brunswick, is pleased to announce that 20 attorneys from the firm were selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016.

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Georgia CEO: HunterMaclean Marks 135 Years in the Practice of Law

The year 2014 marks the 135th anniversary of HunterMaclean. Lucy Adams from Georgia CEO interviewed Managing Partner Frank Macgill regarding HunterMaclean’s history, areas of expertise, milestone anniversary, and future.

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25 HunterMaclean Attorneys Selected for The Best Lawyers in America® 2014

HunterMaclean is pleased to announce that 25 lawyers from the firm were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2014.

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28 HunterMaclean Attorneys Among 'Best'

HunterMaclean, a business law firm with offices in Savannah and Brunswick, has announced that 28 lawyers from the firm were selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2013.

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