Nov. 17, 2014 | Volume XXII, Issue 14

Fox-Isicoff discusses business and corporate immigration

Published: March 15th, 2010

Category: Events, News

The Immigration Law Association hosted Tammy Fox-Isicoff on Tuesday for a presentation on business and corporate immigration. But while Fox-Isicoff is now an expert in the subject, she began her career in immigration law on the enforcement side of the equation.

It did not take long for Fox-Isicoff to find success. Having started with the Department of Justice as an INS trial attorney, she soon became a special assistant U.S. attorney for immigration. Despite this, she wasn’t completely satisfied with her work. A good deal of that came from seeing first-hand how unpleasant immigration enforcement can be.

“You see things in this field that you can’t make right in your heart or in your head,” she said. “It makes you question humanity, honestly. You’ll see things that’ll make you say, ‘I can’t understand how this can be.’ And that’s a very frustrating part of enforcement.” Fox-Isicoff cited a couple of recent examples that she’s dealt with, adding that the revenue that she generates from her corporate work allows her to take some enforcement cases pro bono.

One such case involved a beauty queen from Colombia who spoke out against the FARC, a powerful guerilla group there. FARC then kidnapped her and her brothers, and used acid to burn the hands off one of them. Despite this treatment, he was not granted asylum in the United States. “There’s something that’s got to tear at your heart if you’re a human being, she said. “How unfair can a law be?”

Fox-Isicoff said that while transitioning to the business side of immigration has spared her from some of these cases, business immigration law is not without its frustrations. She described the laws as being little better.

“On the business side, they may not be cruel and inhumane,” she said. “They’re just idiotic.”

Fox-Isicoff said that a major reason why the business immigration laws are inadequate is because the congressmen who are voting on them usually have very little expertise in the subject.

“It’s like they’re a jack of all trades and a master of none,” she said.

During her presentation, Fox-Isicoff cited many examples of inefficient or inadequate laws, one being how L Visas are treated. L Visas are given to managerial employees who come to the United States to work for a branch in the United States. While that may not seem problematic on its face, how they are handled for companies that seek to set up new U.S. branches causes some issues, Fox-Isicoff said.

While most L Visas are good for three years, if the U.S. branch is new, it becomes only one year. This means that a company has very little time to become successful and obtain an extension. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that L Visa holders must manage employees, forcing these companies to employ workers, even if it is not financially wise, or even financially possible.

“It’s created almost an impenetrable bar for anything but the largest business establishing branches in the U.S.,” Fox-Isicoff said, “in my opinion a bar that we don’t want to create. We want foreign businesses to succeed here, and have the opportunity to employ U.S. workers in due course. We don’t want to create a situation where they’ve got to hire so many people their first year of operation that they can’t keep their doors open.”

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