Within the first few days in office, President Biden has proposed a new legislative bill, known as the US Citizenship Act of 2021, which would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

One lawyer who practices in immigration law, specifically business immigration law, is the 2021 “Lawyer of the Year” for Immigration Law in Atlanta. Kevin Miner, in his involvement with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, has been working on efforts to help other immigration attorneys approach challenging legal issues.

According to Miner, business immigration law is one of the few business-focused areas that provides lawyers with the opportunity to help real people who are making a major life change.

“It is always rewarding to speak with people coming to the U.S. for their jobs and explain the process to them, answer their questions, and put them at ease,” he said. “I think people sometimes don’t recognize just what a tremendous life change it is to relocate yourself and your entire family to a new country - and being able to provide some comfort to them about this huge change is very satisfying.”

But there are times where challenges arise for immigration attorneys, due to circumstances that are out of their hands. Miner explains that in the last few years, processing delays by the government have become more common and increasingly longer.

“For renewal of a work authorization card, for instance, you cannot file your application more than six months before your current card expires, but it takes the government eight or more months to process the renewal,” Miner said. “This causes tremendous stress and puts people in a position where they lose work authorization and have to stop working even though they did everything they were supposed to do. This is unfair, disappointing, and we have very little ability to fix these kinds of problems for our clients.”

Even with immigration laws changing almost every day, Miner says to be an effective immigration lawyer, one must understand new regulations, policy memos, and adjudication trends that often change how best to approach a case.

“I try to stay updated on all changes and give a lot of thought to how those will affect my clients,” he said. “That kind of approach can mean the difference between a case getting approved or denied.”