Practice Areas: Immigration, experienced EB-5 attorney representing regional centers, investment enterprises, and investors; 550+ attorney firm includes lawyers experienced in international business/OFAC (for Iranian investors), securities, finance, real estate, and business law.
Robert C. Divine has 24 years immigration law experience, served as Chief Counsel and Acting Director of USCIS, authors the well-respected 1600-page practical treatise Immigration Practice, serves as Vice President of IIUSA, serves on the EB-5 Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and regularly represents clients in immigration investment matters. For a full bio, see http://www.bakerdonelson.com/robert-c-divine/.
Mr. Divine chairs the Immigration practice group and is a shareholder in Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C., a U.S. law firm with over 550 attorneys in offices from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans. He concentrates his practice in business immigration and litigation. His firm includes attorneys focusing on other areas of importance to regional centers and investment enterprises and their investors, including securities and finance law, commercial real estate, and import and export licensing (including OFAC licensing for Iranian investors).
He has had significant involvement in accomplishing approval of large numbers of petitions for regional center investors that had experienced interpretational and procedural difficulties with USCIS. One of his clients obtained the first USCIS regional center designation amendment approving a specific project, reflecting culmination of a year-long effort to persuade USCIS to adopt this more rational procedure. Doreen Edelman at his firm helped obtain the first OFAC licenses for Iranian investors for regional center projects and represents many regional centers and investment enterprises in OFAC licensing matters. He represents individual investors, often in joint representation of the business enterprise and/or regional center.
Other attorneys and professionals in Baker Donelson assisting with immigration matters natively speak Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, French, and Spanish.
Mr. Divine has extensive experience serving clients from throughout the world in the arrangement of all types of business-based temporary and permanent immigration status, including specialty occupations (H-1B, TN, E-3), individual and blanket international transferee programs (L-1), traders and investors (E-1/E-2, EB-5), medical workers, religious workers, labor certification, national interest waivers, and extraordinary ability aliens.
Mr. Divine has represented and assisted employers and other parties in some of the largest immigration enforcement investigations and prosecutions as well as private RICO actions. He provides strategic advice and training for employers in their immigration compliance efforts. Mr. Divine also has litigated significant business matters, including contract, commercial, product liability, antitrust, ERISA benefits, and business torts (including RICO, misrepresentation, Consumer Protection Act).
By presidential appointment, Mr. Divine served in Washington, D.C. from July 2004 until November 2006 as the first Chief Counsel of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the world's largest immigration services agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. From July 2005 until July 2006, he served as Acting Director and then Acting Deputy Director of USCIS, spearheading the USCIS Transformation Program, testifying in Congress about the E-Verify system and intercountry adoptions, enhancing operational security, and increasing transparency of rules and procedures. In early 2004 he served as an expert retained to assist the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in its congressionally mandated study on the expedited removal process. He has testified as an expert on immigration law for courts in the United States and abroad.
Mr. Divine is a frequent speaker on U.S. and international immigration rules, policies and procedures, and regularly appears before employers, investors, individuals, policy makers, other immigration lawyers, and foreign governments.