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In the wake of all the memories surrounding Senator Arlen Specter and his service in the U.S. Senate, it is important to underscore his leadership in the immigration reform debate. Some remember the valiant efforts of senators McCain and Kennedy. But behind the scene and at the helm of the Senate Judiciary Committee was its then chair, Senator Arlen Specter.

Senator Specter was the driving force behind the ONLY piece of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that has passed the Senate in 20 years during the 109th Congress. It was through his tireless efforts and commitment to the policy issue that S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, passed the Senate on May 25, 2006.

This legislation, although never passed by the House, remains today a structural roadmap for fixes that must occur to mend our severely broken immigration system.

Senator Specter had a way of bringing all sides together even though it was clear he wasn’t beholden to any particular party or any particular stakeholder in the debate. He was working toward a policy that was right for the United States. He will be missed as a person and as a skilled politician, especially in the immigration world.

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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.