Robert C. Divine is the Chairman of the Immigration Group of Baker Donelson, a law firm of over 550 lawyers and public policy advisors with offices in 13 cities from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans.
Mr. Divine has over 25 years of immigration law experience and served in Washington, D.C. from July 2004 until November 2006 as the first presidentially appointed Chief Counsel of United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), the world's largest immigration services agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). From July 2005 until July 2006, he served as Acting Director and then Acting Deputy Director of USCIS. In early 2004 he served as an expert for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom evaluating the impact on asylum claims from DHS' implementation of expedited removal procedures.
He has practiced immigration law since 1986 and in the last several years has chaired the American Immigration Lawyers Association's "Inter-Agency" Committee and its Liaison Committee to the U.S. Department of State. He has served as an expert witness in U.S. and foreign courts.
His practice includes all aspects of U.S. immigration law, representing large and small international and domestic employers, investors, developers, regional centers, family sponsors, and individual foreign
nationals. He has also litigated significant business matters, including class action employment discrimination, contract, commercial, product liability, antitrust, ERISA benefits, business torts (including RICO, misrepresentation, Consumer Protection Act), and immigration-related criminal matters.
About the Assisting Author:
R. Blake Chisam is a partner in the immigration law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy, LLP. Formerly he served as Staff Director and Chief Counsel to the Ethics Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and before that as Senior Counsel to the Immigration Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Before government service, Mr. Chisam practiced exclusively in the area of Immigration and Nationality Law as a partner in the firm of Chisam & Majid. He advised organizations with respect to immigration-related policy, employment, civil rights, and health care law matters, including related white-collar criminal and regulatory compliance issues.
Mr. Chisam began his career as a criminal defense lawyer in Brooklyn, New York, where he gained extensive litigation experience with a diverse population, and he has continued to litigate immigration-related matters before judicial and administrative tribunals. He has been an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association ("AILA"), serving on its Business Litigation committee, and the American Bar Association ("ABA").
In October 2000, Mr. Chisam and his partner (and spouse) Jasmine A. Majid were awarded the prestigious Meritorious Public Service Award from the Director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, which was presented by then-Attorney General Janet Reno, in recognition of their "tireless and distinguished pro bono efforts on behalf of unrepresented aliens detained by the...Immigration and Naturalization Service." Mr. Chisam has lectured on immigration law to law students at universities across the U.S., and he is a frequent author and lecturer to professional associations, academic symposia and community groups. He is admitted to practice in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and a host of federal courts.