Experts Featured in Rational Middle

All of the experts in the videos gave their time to help us all understand the issues we face concerning the challenge of immigration. The issues in front of us are anything but simple and these professors, authors, advocates, and community leaders make all the difference in explaining the complexity of immigration. We appreciate their time, efforts, and frankness in the films.

David Bier

Immigration Policy Analyst, Cato Institute

David is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. He is an expert on visa reform, border security, and interior enforcement, and his work has been cited in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, and many other print and online publications.

From 2013 to 2015, Mr. Bier drafted immigration legislation as senior policy advisor for Congressman Raúl Labrador, a member and current chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. Previously, he worked as the immigration policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and most recently as the director of immigration policy at the Niskanen Center.

Theresa Cardinal Brown

Director of immigration and Cross-Border Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center

Theresa Cardinal Brown is BPC’s director of immigration and cross-border policy. She came to BPC from her own consulting firm, Cardinal North Strategies, LLC.

Brown was director of immigration and border policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; associate director of business immigration advocacy at the American Immigration Lawyers Association; and worked in the immigration practices of large Washington, D.C.-based law firms. She also served as a director and of counsel at The Sentinel HS Group, LLC.

She was a policy advisor in the office of the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and was on Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s Second Stage Review of USCIS. In 2005 and 2006, she became a member and later director of the Immigration Legislation Task Force in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Policy. She then served as the first DHS director of Canadian affairs, and subsequently as the first DHS attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.


Director, Law Center’s Immigration Clinic at University of Houston

Professor Hoffman specializes in immigration-related federal court litigation, deportation defense, asylum cases, and appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals. He has served as counsel or co-counsel in more than 50 trial and appellate cases. Professor Hoffman served as co-counsel before the Supreme Court of the United States in the precedent-setting immigration case, Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder.

Prior to joining the Clinic, he practiced immigration law at Kurzban Kurzban Weinger & Tetzeli, P.A. in Miami. Previously, Professor Hoffman was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, held the Forrester Fellowship at Tulane Law School and was a Lecturer at the University of Miami. In addition to his practice and teaching experience, Professor Hoffman served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Paul V. Gadola, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for a two-year term 1998-2000.


Former Director, Congressional Budget Office

Since 2001, he has served in a variety of important policy positions. During 2001-2002, he was the Chief Economist of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) (where he had also served during 1989-1990 as a Senior Staff Economist). At CEA he helped to formulate policies addressing the 2000-2001 recession and the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. From 2003-2005 he was the 6th Director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which provides budgetary and policy analysis to the U.S. Congress. During his tenure, CBO assisted Congress as they addressed numerous policies — notably the 2003 tax cuts (JGTRRA), the Medicare prescription drug bill (MMA), and Social Security reform.

During 2007 and 2008 he was Director of Domestic and Economic Policy for the John McCain presidential campaign. Since then he has been a Commissioner on the Congressionally-chartered Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and serves as an outside adviser to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Holtz-Eakin built an international reputation as a scholar doing research in areas of applied economic policy, econometric methods, and entrepreneurship. He began his career at Columbia University in 1985 and moved to Syracuse University from 1990 to 2001. At Syracuse, he became Trustee Professor of Economics at the Maxwell School, Chairman of the Department of Economics and Associate Director of the Center for Policy Research.


Chairman, Americans for Immigration Reform

Charles C. Foster is an American immigration attorney and chairman of the Houston-based law firm Foster LLP. Foster has earned top awards from organizations including Chambers and Partners, Texas Monthly magazine, and the American Immigration Law Foundation. He also serves as the Honorary Consul General of the Kingdom of Thailand and has received four Royal decorations from His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.

In addition to his work as an attorney, Foster’s past activities include a membership on the Bush-Cheney Presidential Transition Committee for the Department of Justice in 2001, a position as a Senior Immigration Policy Advisor for the George W. Bush presidential campaigns in both 2000 and 2004, and an immigration policy advisory role in Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. His political contributions also include testimonies before the U.S. House and Senate subcommittees on immigration.

Foster is best known for his role in helping ballet performer Li Cunxin stay in the United States over the objections of Chinese Communist Party officials, which was memorialized in Cunxin’s autobiography Mao’s Last Dancer and later in a film by the same name.


Secretary, American Immigration Council

Mr. Juceam, Of Counsel to Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, is an integral member of the firm’s New York office. He joined the firm in 1966, became a partner in 1974 and Of Counsel to the firm in 2006.

His 45 years of practice has focused on civil and white-collar criminal law investigations and litigations defending public companies and directors, prosecuting and defending insurance and reinsurance claims in court and in arbitration, as well claims against the federal government, real estate, matrimonial, professional malpractice and discipline, resentencing, parole, and intellectual property matters.

For Mr. Juceam litigation may be his career but immigration and pro bono service are his passions. He joined AILA in 1968, served in various offices at the chapter and national levels, and eventually became AILA President. His vision played an integral role in AILA National’s growth and prominence; he himself repeatedly testified before Congress on the bills leading to the 1986 Simpson Mazzoli Act, notably opposing employer sanctions and critiquing the implementing regulations and the failure of Qualified Designated Entities properly to represent the needs of the immigrant poor.


Founding Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research

A graduate of Haverford College, Stephen Klineberg received an M.A. in Psychopathology from the University of Paris and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard. After teaching at Princeton, he joined Rice University’s Sociology Department in 1972. The recipient of twelve major teaching awards, including the George R. Brown Lifetime Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Piper Professor Award, he is a faculty associate and divisional advisor at Lovett College, where he twice served as Interim Master. His wife, Margaret, is a practicing attorney. They have two children and five grandchildren, three of whom are currently Rice undergraduates.

In March 1982, he and his students initiated the annual “Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey,” now in its 33rd year of tracking the remarkable changes in the demographic patterns, economic outlooks, experiences, and beliefs of Harris County residents. No other metropolitan region in America has been the focus of a long-term longitudinal research program of this scope. Houston recovered from the oil-boom collapse in the early 1980s to find itself squarely in the midst of the new restructured economy and an accelerating demographic revolution. No city more clearly exemplifies the transformations that are refashioning the social and political landscape across all of urban America.

The research has attracted great interest and generous support from foundations, corporations, and individuals in the wider Houston community and beyond. That support has made it possible not only to fund the annual surveys, but also to expand their reach with additional “oversample” interviews in Houston’s Anglo, African-American, and Latino communities, and to undertake more focused surveys on health, education, and the arts in the Houston area (the SHEA studies). In 1995, 2002, and 2011, the project reached large representative samples from Houston’s varied Asian communities as well, with one-fourth of the interviews conducted in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, or Korean. Beginning with the 2012 study, the annual surveys are now reaching residents from the entire nine-county Houston metropolitan region.


Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995. The Center, an independent, non-partisan research organization in Washington, D.C., examines and critiques the impact of immigration on the United States. Animated by a pro-immigrant, low-immigration vision which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted, the Center was established in 1985 to respond to the need for reliable, fact-based research in the immigration area.

Mr. Krikorian’s knowledge and expertise in the immigration field are sought by Congress, as well as the mainstream and new media. He frequently testifies before Congress and has published articles in numerous outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and elsewhere. He is a contributor at National Review Online, and has appeared on all major cable and broadcast news networks. He is on Twitter at @MarkSKrikorian.

Mr. Krikorian addresses a variety of audiences on a multitude of immigration topics. In addition, Mr. Krikorian is the author of the books The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal and How Obama is Transforming America through Immigration.

His most recent publication is Open Immigration: Yea & Nay, co-authored with Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute.

Mr. Krikorian holds a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. He spent two years at Yerevan State University in then-Soviet Armenia.


Chair, The Advocates for Human Rights

Sam Myers has more than 30 years’ experience practicing employment-based immigration law. He is a 1972 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School.

He is a past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and a 25 year member of AILA’s Board of Governors. Mr. Myers has testified before the U.S. Congress and the Minnesota State legislature on employment-based immigration. He participated in writing several significant amendments to the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act including the amendments to the H-1B and L-1 visa categories and conceived and helped write the original ”Conrad State 20” legislation enabling foreign-born physicians to acquire permanent residence by serving in health professional shortage areas.

He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America in Immigration Law since the publication’s inception, Minnesota Super lawyers, The Lawyers World Global Award, Corporate Immigration Law Who’s Who and was recognized in the International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers 2007-2011 as one of the top 15 lawyers in the world “most highly regarded” in corporate immigration law.

He has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School since 2004, where he teaches Immigration Law. Mr. Myers co-founded the Immigration Law Clinic at the William Mitchell College of Law in 1983 and taught the clinic for eight years. He has served as a Mentor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law since 2004.

He has served as a board member and President of the International Institute of Minnesota and currently serves as a board and executive committee member of the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights.


Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

Ali Noorani is the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, an advocacy organization promoting the value of immigrants and immigration. Growing up in California as the son of Pakistani immigrants, Ali quickly learned how to forge alliances among people of wide-ranging backgrounds, a skill that has served him extraordinarily well as one of the nation’s most innovative coalition builders.

Before joining the Forum, Ali was executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, and he has served in leadership roles within public health and environmental organizations.

In 2015, Ali was named a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University and is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Ali lives in Washington, D.C. and is the author of “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration,” (Prometheus, April 2017).


Former Chair, National Labor Liaison Committee

Deborah J. Notkin is a partner in the firm of Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP and maintains a large international immigration and nationality practice. During her 25 years in practice, she has acquired a nationally recognized expertise in business immigration matters. Ms. Notkin is the lead attorney at Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP for the PERM Unit and maintains a corporate client base spanning all business immigration matters.

She is a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), 2005-2006 and serves on its Board of Governors. Within AILA, she has held numerous leadership positions including Chair of the National Labor Liaison Committee, Chair of the Vermont Service Center Committee, Chair of AILA’s Interagency Committee and New York Chapter Chair. She served also as the Co-chair of the New York Chapter Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law.

Currently, Deborah serves as the Vice Chair of AILA’s Media Advocacy Committee and on AILA’s Labor Liaison Committees. As an advocate for positive immigration reform, Deborah Notkin has appeared on many television and radio programs and has addressed many religious and business organizations. She remains a resource and occasional commentator for MSNBC, CNBC and Fox News regarding immigration legislation and related issues.

A noted expert in business immigration she has been a lecturer for the past 13 years at the Practicing Law Institute’s (PLI) annual Immigration Law Institute, PLI’s Basics Seminar, the New York State Bar Association’s bi-annual immigration seminar and AILA’s Annual and regional conferences. She has also been a presenter at many different venues including the American Council of International Personnel (ACIP), the Pacific Chapter and New York Chapter of the US Mexico Chamber of Commerce and the Global Independence Organization.

Ms. Notkin was an Editor in Chief of the recent AILA publication, “The Essential Workers Handbook” and an Associate Editor of the latest edition of the “David Stanton Handbook on PERM”. Her numerous articles on many facets of business immigration have been cited frequently in treatises on immigration.


Director, Mexico Center at the Baker Institute

Tony is the Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies and director of the Mexico Center at the Baker Institute. He is also an adjunct associate professor at Rice University and a professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. Between 2001 and 2015, Payan was a professor of political science at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Payan’s research focuses primarily on border studies, particularly the U.S.-Mexico border. His work includes studies of border governance, border flows and immigration, as well as border security and organized crime. Payan has authored two books, “Cops, Soldiers and Diplomats: Understanding Agency Behavior in the War on Drugs” and “The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration and Homeland Security” (2006 and 2016 editions). He has also co-edited six volumes: “Gobernabilidad e Ingobernabilidad en la Región Paso del Norte,” “Human Rights Along the U.S.-Mexico Border: Gendered Violence and Insecurity,” “De Soldaderas a Activistas: La mujer chihuahuense en los albores del Siglo XXI,” “A War that Can’t Be Won: Binational Perspectives on the War on Drugs,” “Undecided Nation: Political Gridlock and the Immigration Crisis,” and “Reforma Energética y Estado de Derecho en México.” In addition, he has authored several book chapters and journal publications.

Payan has served on several boards, including the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority in El Paso, Texas, and the Plan Estratégico de Juárez in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. He is a member of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Immigration Task Force and the Mexico Energy Task Force. He previously served as president of the Association of Borderlands Studies between 2009 and 2010.

Payan earned a B.A. in philosophy and classical languages from the University of Dallas and an MBA from the University of Dallas Graduate School of Management. He received a doctorate degree in international relations from Georgetown University in 2001.


Co-chair, Greenberg Traurig Business Immigration Group

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.