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Lokvani Talks To Immigration Attorney Monique Kornfeld

Nirmala Garimella

Attorney Monique Kornfeld has extensive experience in all aspects of immigration law, including employment-based and family-based immigrant visa petitions and applications for legal permanent residency, nonimmigrant visa petitions, asylum applications and relief from deportation. Major hospitals; prestigious academic research institutions; public corporations; small start-up high-technology companies; research scientists; IT workers, and individuals sponsoring family members are among her clients. She is admitted to the Massachusetts State Bar and the First Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Kornfeld earned her J.D. from Boston College Law School (1995) and B.A. from Union College (1988). She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, and the Women's Bar Association.

Lokvani spoke to her recently on her work and interests.

What are your areas of expertise in Immigration?
Employment and family-based immigration is my focus although I also work in removal and asylum.

What services are unique for your clients?

My office offers superlative service with a warm touch.  I answer all e-mails and phone calls promptly and file high-quality cases for my clients.  I have extensive introductory letters and checklists to prepare the clients for the case and offer detailed explanations for each stage of a case.  I truly care about all of my clients and treat each one as a real person with real issues and not just a file number.
Do you have a significant amount of clients from South Asia? Do you also deal with legal issues concerning women ?

Yes.  Most of my clients are from India.  I have successfully worked on a VAWA case to help an abused women seek legal permanent residence

Are there any recent changes in immigration laws that people need to know about?

 The relatively new labor certification is called PERM and is an online system with a small percentage of audits.  There are new affidavit of support regulations modifying the previous requirements, standards and formulas for these financial contracts. Almost every family-based legal permanent residency case, and certain employment-based cases, require affidavits of support to show that the sponsor will support the beneficiary at 125% of the federal poverty guideline for the sponsor's household size.  The new regulations ease off on several of the more stringent requirements, which could make a real difference in a case (e.g. cause a sponsor who otherwise did not meet the eligibility requirements under the old regulations to now serve as a sponsor).  In addition, in the H-1B arena, there are now 20,000 additional H-1B visa numbers each year for aliens with a master's degree from a US institution.   

Do you think the  current immigration debate will affect immigration in this country?
 I am delighted that immigration has recently been in the forefront in the news.  The continued debate will only enlighten more people to the unfair, harsh and economically-deleterious immigration policies of our government.

Does every case need an immigration attorney or can some forms etc be filled online?
 I would not recommend that anyone file an employment-based case themselves but some family-based cases may be done by the sponsor alone.  However, I have spoken with so many individuals who believe that all they need to do is complete certain forms and the process is done and then are rudely awakened to the complexities of an ostensibly straightforward immigration case.  I consider myself an immigration repair worker in many cases.  I liken hiring an immigration attorney to hiring an accountant.  Sure, you can try to file your taxes yourself, but you will probably miss many deductions and waste countless hours learning the US tax code when you could be spending that time very precious time doing far more enjoyable and inspiring things

Can you share with us a human interest story of a case that you handled recently?

 I have a client who was an extraordinary ability performer.  She was granted legal permanent residency based on her extraordinary ability based on a special immigrant visa petition I filed for her.  However, her husband, who was also from her poor, dangerous, native country, was unable to adjust his status with her because of a prior immigration violation. He was sent to removal proceedings and was at a grave risk of being deported and not being able to see his wife for ten years or more.  To make matters worse, they had just had a baby that was the apple of their eye and they were both suffering terrible depression.  I was able to argue that he did not need a waiver showing extreme hardship, which is very difficult to win.  The immigration judge approved his case without a waiver and he was able to obtain legal permanent residency.

Share with us your hobbies and your involvement with community activities.
  I love to read political history, biographies, nonfiction about current events and well-written novels.  I also believe that your body is your temple and stay physically fit doing mostly biking and yoga.  My family and I love to bike, swim, ski, hike and skate together.  My community activities center on my son and his school and friends and their families.

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