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With Nataliya Binshteyn

A new report released by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) – “Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery” – reveals that the Obama administration has spent more on immigration enforcement in fiscal year 2012 than on all other federal criminal law enforcement combined, with an estimated $18 billion in expenditures.

According to the report, the resources allocated toward immigration enforcement programs in the U.S. surpassed the combined budgets of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Secret Service by approximately $3.6 billion. In addition to a record number of deportations – 409,849 people in fiscal year 2012 compared to 188,467 people in 2000 – the Obama administration has made immigration a top enforcement priority, with referrals for prosecution by federal government agencies outnumbering referrals by the U.S. Department of Justice and its agencies.

Importantly, the Obama administration has also refocused enforcement to prioritize the removal of foreign nationals with criminal records while implementing new programs to assist undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and ease family separations for the undocumented immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff‡ Laura Foote Reiff‡

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies,

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. 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.