Law Offices of Michael Kohler, PLLC

Law Offices of Michael Kohler, PLLC

Put more than 12 years of federal government experience to work for you!

Operating as usual

[04/29/21]   "Words (Still) Matter" The Supreme Court issued a decision today that turned on the word "a" resulting in the eligibility of many to apply for relief from deportation.

[08/25/20]   "No Furlough at USCIS, but Delays Forecast"

[07/07/20]   "Open Your Classrooms or Say Goodbye to Foreign Students!" 06/17/2020

DOJ Judge Not Buying What This 7-Eleven Was Selling | Law Offices of Michael Kohler, PLLC DOJ Judge Not Buying What This 7-Eleven Was Selling Posted by Michael Kohler | Jun 15, 2020 | 0 Comments On June 9, 2020, the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) within the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review issued a decision, United States v. 1523...

[04/05/19]   You know that feeling you get when you hand deliver a green card to someone who, after 24 years of them trying to legalize their status, you are able to make it happen and then they are literally crying because they will finally be able to see their family after all of this time??? I'm guessing most of you don't...but let me tell you-it's pretty cool!

[03/27/19]   You know that feeling you get when a family you helped obtain asylum and then permanent residence (green cards) are then sworn-in as US citizens??? Well, I'm guessing most of you don't...but let me tell you - it's pretty cool! 03/12/2019

UFC star Conor McGregor arrested after police say he smashed a fan's phone

Just sayin...If he were brown or black, and spoke Spanish or Arabic this guy would be detained by ICE and removed from the country in a heart beat. In fact, it would have happened months ago following his last arrest. Police say McGregor smashed a fan's phone in Miami Beach, Florida. 02/14/2019

Being An Immigration Judge Was Their Dream. Under Trump, It Became Untenable. “It has become so emotionally brutal and exhausting that many people I know are leaving or talking about finding an exit strategy,” said one immigration judge. “Morale has never, ever been lower.”

[01/09/19]   Just wondering...if there is such a crisis at the southern border that can only be fixed by a border wall, then why was it not funded and pushed through when the GOP controlled the House, Senate and WH for the past two years? And, if it is a new crisis, doesn't that mean it developed under the GOP's watch and control? Increased border security is absolutely a priority and should be funded but not as a political ploy; rather, as part of larger comprehensive immigration reform.

And, imo, the best expenditure of US funds to stem the flow of migrants from Central America is increased foreign aid and assistance to stabilize economies, root out corruption and crime and provide hope and a bright future for citizens of those countries. I have many clients who would've happily remained in their own homes on their own land were it safe to do so. Spend billions of dollars on that - instead of an ineffective wall - and see what that gets you. 06/20/2018

Trump reverses course, signs order to keep families together

A few thoughts on today's turn of events:
1. Wasn't there just a story here on Long Island about some insecure, attention-seeking firefighter who intentionally started a huge fire and caused immeasurable, unnecessary harm for the sole purpose of being able to put out said fire to look like a hero? Sounds familiar. He's going to jail, but I guess when you are POTUS you can do the same and your flock will cheer and celebrate.
2. If the family separations were caused by the Democrats, as POTUS claimed, then how come he was able to end it with the stroke of a pen?
3. Do not think this is a true victory for common decency. The order states that parents and children will now be jailed together. How generous. How about reverting to the prior policy, that worked, of choosing not to detain non-violent, asylum-seeking families but rather release them on bond and with monitoring for them to pursue their claims? President Donald Trump on Wednesday reversed his debunked argument that he had no authority to stop separations of undocumented immigrant families at the border, signing an executive order to keep parents and kids together. 04/25/2018

Judge orders reopening of DACA, after 90-day delay

Encouraging news. Another federal judge has overruled the Trump administration's efforts to end a popular immigration program -- this time saying the government has to accept new applications. 04/06/2018

UFC star Conor McGregor charged after attack on bus

This guy better get himself an immigration attorney that can advise him and his criminal defense attorney. I don't think he is a USC (according to wikipedia) and these charges can have serious consequences on his ability to remain in or return to the US. Just sayin'. Ultimate Fighting Championship star Conor McGregor has been charged with assault, police say, over allegations that he and others attacked a bus carrying UFC fighters after a media-day event Thursday in New York City.


Immigration Courts: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

This would be funny if it weren't true.

America’s dysfunctional immigration court system forces many children to appear in court alone. That’s as ridiculous in real life as it would be on a courtro...


While the President has yet to build a physical wall, this excellent report by the American Immigration Lawyers Association documents how this administration has built an "invisible wall" through immigration-related policy and procedural changes that are harming U.S. businesses, families, and the national economy.

[03/10/18]   What a great new review left for me on avvo!

"Michael is an incredibly attentive and thorough attorney! At this time I can't find the right words to express my appreciation for his legal knowledge, dedication and attention to details. He is a consummate professional and knows all the laws and procedures extremely well - way above my expectations. My Mom's green card application went very smoothly with his guiding the ship and I was so pleased that we did not try to do it ourselves. His scheduling was also very adaptive to our needs. Every step of the process was meticulously detailed by him and everything we did scrutinized. I was never nervous or worried throughout the process because Michael made sure everything was perfectly in order. I highly recommend Michael to anyone who needs a lawyer you can trust and relay on his experience, proficiency and talent to help people. His dedication and commitment to get the best for his client are the keys for the success." 01/23/2018

ICE detains a Polish doctor and green-card holder who has lived in the U.S. for nearly 40 years

This case supports my often-repeated advice to naturalize and become a US citizen as soon as you are eligible. Until you become a citizen, you are not part of the family - you are viewed as a guest - and you are always under threat of removal. Without knowing all of the details and based on several reports, it does appear that Mr. Niec has a very strong case of ultimately winning his case and being permitted to remain in the country. But, that is not the point. ICE has once again failed to exercise prosecutorial discretion, and it is unconscionable that he would be detained (as this is not a "mandatory detention" case) even if they chose to initiate removal proceedings. The detention of Lucasz Niec, a Michigan father and husband, appears to stem from two misdemeanor convictions from 26 years ago. 01/11/2018

Our President has re-written the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. What an embarrassment.


Proud to share my latest article relating to employment authorization documents and Form I-9. While it was written with an eye toward the termination of DACA, it applies equally to the thousands of people effected by the recent termination of TPS (El Salvador, Haiti, etc).


Super Lawyers - New York Metro 2017 Supplement - 1

Proud to announce my selection, for the 4th consecutive year, to the NY Metro Area annual list of "Super Lawyers" in the field of Immigration Law which was released yesterday, October 1, in the attached advertising supplement to the NY Times. Super Lawyers magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-approved law school libraries. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Consumers can… 04/06/2017

Husband of Indiana Trump supporter deported Helen Beristain voted for Donald Trump even though she is married to an undocumented immigrant. He has now has been deported.


Haven't updated my client map lately...but, it's not everyday that you add a client from New Zealand and Togo! Proud to have represented people from over 90 countries. 03/25/2017

Raw Deal for Immigrant at U.S. Supreme Court In 2009, Jae Lee’s life took a wrong turn. A long-time U.S. lawful permanent resident immigrant and the owner and operator of two Memphis-area restaurant...


60 Minutes

A disturbing - because it's true - story about greedy, corporate America abusing the H1B visa program. When used as intended, the H1B is great at helping U.S. companies grow. USCIS has issued recent guidelines to halt the farming out of contract H1B "employees" but more can be done to fix the problem discussed in this story and strengthen the overall program. My fear is the H1B will be gutted or eliminated, instead of fixed, in the anti-immigration climate prevalent today.

A legal loophole is costing Americans jobs, but these fired workers don't have animosity toward their replacements

[02/08/17]   Honored to serve again today as a judge in the NYS Bar Association Mock Trial Tournament – in which I participated many years ago.

This is a good opportunity to give HS students a (tongue-in-cheek, hopefully humorous, non-political) taste of the law and introduction to terms that will serve them later in life, such as:
1) “so-called judge” – today, I will serve as a “so-called judge”, because, well this is a “mock” or fake, trial and I am not a real judge;
2) “alternative facts” – today, the students will learn that you just can’t make up “alternative facts” to try and make your case or argument seem better…you must stick to the fact pattern; and,
3) “conflict of interest” and “recusal”– today, the students will learn that I “recused” myself from serving as the judge for my kids’ school and our local high school to avoid even the perception of a “conflict of interest.” Because, having an interest in one side prevailing or personal relationships with the litigants are proper reasons for recusal…as opposed to a judge’s race, religion or other similar grounds which do not cause a conflict and are not proper grounds for recusal.

[01/30/17]   Our propogandists-in-chief, Spicer and Conway, have been spewing the “don’t blame us” attitude regarding the list of 7 countries included in Trump’s Executive Order by arguing that these nations were on “Obama’s list” and therefore, somehow, it is OK to ban citizens of those countries from the U.S. For those willing to take their head out of the sand and examine true, as opposed to “alternative” facts, here’s a little immigration-law history and knowledge.
Generally, all non U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa to visit the U.S. To promote tourism and business, we have a program that allows citizens of certain countries the ability to simply hop on a plane, land in the U.S., visit, then head home – without the need to first obtain a visa – called the Visa Waiver Program…the need to obtain a visa is “waived.” I half-jokingly refer to this list as “countries we like” because these countries meet the criteria for low visa refusal rates, high rates/expectancy of people returning home, etc. And, these benefits are generally reciprocal – explaining why US citizens do not need a visa to visit, for ex., England.
With the rise of global terrorism, and in the interest of protecting the homeland, President Obama tweaked the VWP in December 2015 to prevent VWP-country nationals – who were also citizens of and recently visited one of the 7 countries in question – from travelling to the U.S. on the VWP. For ex., a dual UK and Iranian citizen, who visited one of the 7 countries, would no longer be able to simply hop on a plane and land at JFK. Rather, that person would now have to apply for a visa (just like any other non-VWP country citizen) before being able to travel to the U.S. This gave the US government the ability to better screen and question that individual, based on their conduct and recent travel history, before granting them a visa. The December 2015 rule did not prevent anyone from coming to the U.S.; rather, it simply took away the “favored” treatment the VWP provided and required a regular visa application and screening process.
In contrast, Trump’s E.O. banned all nationals of those 7 countries…simply because of their citizenship. Trump’s E.O. is based on WHO you are, or WHO the government perceives you to be…”you are Iranian, you are bad, you can’t come in.” Whereas Obama’s 2015 rule was based on an individual person’s actions/travel history – which one could argue might be suspicious - and simply then required them to complete an application and interview, Trump’s far-reaching ban applies to any and all citizens of those 7 countries…yes, the 5 year-old Iranian boy or senior-citizen Iraqi grandparents included.
One rule is based on objectively-reasonable facts of an individual’s actual behavior and is good law-enforcement/security screening…and one is a racist-blanket ban based on nothing more than fear and perceived misdeeds of an entire citizenry. If you can’t tell the difference, then feel free to stick your head back in the sand.


Awaiting arrival of flight from Doha

[01/29/17]   It is beyond surreal what is happening in our country. Here is a brief update and summary, compiled by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, of the implementation of the recent Executive Actions:

- The Executive Order applies to all individuals "from" the 7 designated countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. That includes Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs), nonimmigrant visa holders, immigrant visa holders, refugees, derivative asylees, Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), etc.
- Anyone who holds a passport from a designated country is considered as being "from" the designated country. This includes dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country, as well as a non-designated country.
- CBP will be processing people based on how they present themselves at primary inspection.
- The Executive Order does NOT apply to people who merely traveled to designated countries.
- Legal Permanent Residents: There appears to be some limited discretion for DHS to admit LPRs on a case-by-case basis, and following a thorough security review. LPRs will be allowed to board planes. Their cases will be adjudicated at the port of entry.
- Nonimmigrants: Nonimmigrants will be allowed to withdraw their application for admission. Expedited removal will generally only be used for those individuals who do not wish to withdraw their application for admission.
- Refugees: Refugees from the designated countries are also barred from entering the U.S. There is reportedly a hold on refugee travel for people from the designated countries. However, refugees traveling to the U.S. from countries other than the designated countries may be allowed to enter. 01/29/2017

A Federal Judge Just Issued A Stay Against Donald Trump's "Muslim Ban" A federal judge in Brooklyn just issued an emergency stay against the implementation of Donald Trump's executive order banning immigration from certain middle eastern countries.


Proud to share my latest article in The Nassau Lawyer relating to Employment Authorization investigations conducted by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

[12/28/16]   Just received a great review from a happy client...nice way to end the year!
"After viewing the many great reviews for Mr. Kohler, I decided to contact him for help with my case that had not been handled with any success for many years. Mr. Kohler looked over all my papers, listened to my wife and I very patiently and walked us through a process that no other attorney had even considered, let alone knew about. Mr. Kohler knows his facts. Everything he said would happen, did! He was there with us every step of the way. I highly recommend him."



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