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Immigration 101: A Comprehensive Immigration Practice Program (FL)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)

Geared towards the new/newer Immigration attorney, this program is packed full of information to help you be a better practitioner.

Please note, this is a broad overview covering an extensive amount of information.  You will not be learning how to fill out forms in this course and no exercises are involved given the time constraints.

You will learn the terms of Art, legal meanings vs. common meanings including practical examples of standard phrases and terms you must understand to practice competently. You will learn about the four broad bases of legal immigration: a) Family-based; b) Employment-based; c) Humanitarian and d) Other.

You will understand immigration status, such as temporary, permanent, quasi-permanent and what it means to your client. You will learn how to obtain a visa and status for your client.

You will also learn about the three broad categories of illegal immigration, as well as detention and removal issues.

Our speakers will discuss the consequences of criminal convictions for the noncitizen client. Other topics to be covered include: waivers for grounds of inadmissibility and naturalization.

Additional issues will be discussed that are relevant to your immigration practice.

This program was recorded in 2016.

What You Will Learn

Broad Introduction, Road Map and Terms of Art

  • Road Maps
    • The history and authority to regulate U.S. immigration
    • Authorities:
      • USCIS
      • ICE
      • CBP
      • Department of Homeland Security
      • U.S. Department of Justice – Immigration Court
      • U.S. Department of State -Embassies
      • U.S. Department of Labor
    • Governing Law: The interplay between immigration laws and policy
  • Terms of Art
    • Immigrant vs. Non-Immigrant
    • Visa vs. Status
    • Inadmissibility vs. Deportability
    • Who is illegal in the U.S.?
    • Unlawfully Present, Out of Status or both?

How to Set Up and Manage an Immigration Practice

  • What to do when someone walks in the door
  • Where to go for more information, what are your resources as a practitioner?
    • Resources, books, forms programs, etc.
  • Best practices on handling your immigration cases

Working Visas

  • H-1B & E-3
  • L-1
  • E-2
  • O-1

Permanent (immigrant) Visas – Family Based

  • Family-based
    • Immediate relatives
    • Family petitions
    • Cuban adjustment
  • Employment-based
    • EB-1
    • EB-1C
    • Labor Certification
    • EB2 / NIW
  • Quotas and Monthly Visa Bulletin


  • Criteria & eligibility;
  • How to conduct the initial consult with the client who is seeking to naturalize;
  • Was the client “lawfully admitted for permanent residence;”
  • How to properly screen the case before filing and the importance of evaluating the case history;
  • What is the statutory period;
  • General rule on physical presence;
  • General rule on continuous residence;
  • How to establish good moral character;
  • Preparer’s signature warnings/Attorney declaration;
  • Supporting documents to submit with the application;
  • The naturalization interview;
  • When is the applicant actually considered a US citizen;


Inadmissibility and Removability 


  • General waiver for non-immigrants
  • Immigrant waivers and eligibility
    • Fraud and material misrepresentation
    • Unlawful presence
    • Crimes
    • Who are the qualifying relatives?
    • How best to demonstrate extreme hardship
  •  Provisional waivers & criteria
    • What happens if the client is denied a provisional waiver?
    • Risks associated with sending the client abroad to interview after the waiver is recommended for approval
  • Waivers after prior removal or deportation, permission to reapply for admission to the US
  • Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents and Non-Permanent Residents
  • 212c waivers
  • Waivers for asylees
  • INA 245k certain employment based applicants
  • 237(a)(1)(H) waivers for those who were inadmissible at the time of admission to the US
  • Hot topics in waivers
    • Upward tick of allegations of alien smuggling
    • Drug possession, drug trafficking and/or the dreaded “reason to believe” label
    • Waiver for entry on a photo switched passport
    • Matter of Arrabelly case


“Excellent presentation of topics. Very good overview.” – Lisa Thompson, Esq.

“Great overview – learned a lot. Great speakers.” – Joshua Aguilar, Esq.

“Amazing!!! It really increased my interest in pursuing more immigration law; Great resources!!!” – Yamilette Rivera, Esq.

“Very informative. I learned a lot!” – Isaura Gomez, Esq.

“Great CLE.” – Alex Farris, Esq.

“Great speakers. I received a lot of clarification as a paralegal…Thanks!” Shirley M. Quesada Rivera

“Great big-picture [overview] of practicing Immigration Law.”

“Excellent overview.” – D. Halper, Esq.

“All of the speakers were great, the information was invaluable.”

“The speakers and content were great.”

“Good material and presenters.”

“Great speakers. I wish there was more time.”

These testimonials are from previous immigration programs with many of the same speakers and topics.

“Absolutely satifisfied with the course and information I received from it.” S. Wilkerson, Esq.

“I haven’t felt this excited about practicing law in a while – can’t wait to get my feel wet!” K. Rosenchal, Esq.

“Very informative and useful information.” E. Samet, Esq.

“Very educational and great speakers!” C. Perez, Esq.

“Great insight.” E. Rafael Hahn, Esq.

“It was a good intro into immigration.” D. Duckett, Esq.

“Very good and knowledgeable speakers.” B. Mittelberg, Esq.

“Good course. I’m glad I came…” A. Rivera, Esq.

“Great! All of them explained every single question.” F. Cervantes, Esq.

“Thorough primer on relevant topics in this field.”

“Very good overview.”

“Great speaker. Extrememly knowledgeable.”

“Fantastic info!”



Christine J. Alden, Esq.
Weiss, Alden & Polo, P.A.


Christine J. Alden is an immigration attorney and partner with Weiss, Alden & Polo, P.A. Established in 1976, the firm offers global representation of individuals and businesses worldwide seeking US immigration solutions. The firm has offices in Miami on Brickell Avenue as well as a second office in Boca Raton.

Christine was born in England to British and Jamaican parents. As a naturalized US Citizen herself, she recognizes the importance of US Citizenship and the opportunities and security it brings, therefore, allowing her to identify with each and every one of her clients no matter the situation or walk of life.

Christine is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and is currently serving the local chapter of 800 attorneys in her third term elected as a Board Member at Large. Additionally, within the AILA South Florida Chapter, she is the Co-Chair of the Unlawful Practice of Law Liaison Committee where she is tasked with liaising between the private bar, victims of UPL and government agencies such as the Fraud Detection National Security division of USCIS, the US Attorney’s office and the State Bar in reporting instances of UPL. She is also the Co-Chair of the Practice Management Committee, a committee dedicated to helping other attorneys in learning how to run and manage their practices.

She is a 1996 graduate of Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law where she was the Research Editor of the Law Review. She attended college at the University of Florida, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. She has been a member of the State Bar of Texas since 1996.

Her practice is solely dedicated to US immigration law so she can focus on the immigration needs of her clients. Through her work, she has helped countless individuals of all walks of life successfully immigrate to the US to realize the American Dream.

Marisa Casablanca, Esq.
Akerman LLP

Maria "Marisa" Casablanca has dedicated herself to the practice of U.S Immigration and Nationality Law for 25 years. Her practice involves representing corporate clients and individuals in obtaining immigration assistance and benefits. Marisa is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by The Florida Bar, and was a member of The Florida Bar’s Certification Committee for Immigration and Nationality Law. 

Marisa counsels her clients on a wide array of immigration related issues including obtaining assistance and benefits such as employment visas (EB-5) as well as business related visas and residency for foreign nationals, representing family members of permanent residents and United States Citizens, and assisting those seeking asylum.

An experienced litigator, Marisa practices in all areas of Immigration law and is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Southern District Court and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She has filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court on an immigration issue that conflicted with different states. She advises employers on compliance procedures and counsels individuals on how to maintain their status in the United States.

Laura F. Kelley, Esq.

Laura F. Kelley, P.A.

Laura F. Kelley is an immigration lawyer licensed in the state of California. Laura’s practice is 100% dedicated to finding immigration solutions for clients throughout the world. This includes filing applications with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State as well as providing direct representation for clients in deportation proceedings before the U.S. Immigration Court. She has represented clients in immigration courts nationwide, including Miami, FL; Orlando, FL; Dallas, TX; San Antonio, TX; Harlingen, TX; Denver, CO; and Atlanta, GA; among others. Laura has also represented many detained clients in bond proceedings, hearings and reasonable/credible fear interviews. Furthermore, Laura has successfully argued for Stays of Deportation for clients with final orders of removal. 

Laura earned her Juris Doctor from the University of California Hastings College of the Law, where she received the Pro Bono Publico Award and the Public Interest Certificate. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Houston, where she graduated summa cum laude with university honors and honors in major. Laura also earned a Master’s of Laws in European Union Law from Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain. 

Laura is also an active member of the South Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”). She frequently attends conferences and seminars to ensure that she always has the latest information on the ever-changing and complicated immigration laws and regulations.

Jacob L. Ratzan, Esq.

Jacob L. Ratzan, P.A.

Mr. Ratzan represents applicants for citizenship, lawful permanent residence, and nonimmigrant visas before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in Immigration Court, and in Federal Court. Mr. Ratzan is admitted to the Florida Bar (2006), New York Bar (2006), and United States District Court, Southern District of Florida (2007). Since 2009, Mr. Ratzan has served on the Board of the South Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Currently, Mr. Ratzan has been South Florida AILA’s liaison to the USCIS Miami District Office. Mr. Ratzan is currently President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, South Florida Chapter.

Mr. Ratzan earned his Juris Doctorate from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City in 2005. Prior to that, in 1997, Mr. Ratzan obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Major in International Relations from Tufts University. Since 2013, Mr. Ratzan has been a lecturer and moderator at AILA South Florida’s annual CLE conference, as well as at luncheon CLE seminars offered to the chapter membership. Mr. Ratzan has authored and published multiple articles on immigration topics for the annual AILA South Florida conference. Mr. Ratzan’s practice is dedicated to all areas of immigration law, including business immigration, family-based immigration, and removal.

Mr. Ratzan is fluent in Spanish, having lived in Spain and Chile.

Sasha Westerman-Keuning, Esq.
Founding Partner
Sasha Westerman-Keuning P.A.

Sasha Westerman-Keuning is a native of Boston, Massachusetts.  She was admitted to the Florida Bar in September 2009. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston College in 2006 with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Hispanic Studies and History. While at Boston College, Mrs. Westerman-Keuning served as the President of the Boston College Hillel and held one of the highest ranking positions in the University’s student government. She devoted much of her time at Boston College to advocacy on the behalf of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender communities, religious minority communities, and for women’s and immigrant’s rights. 

Following Boston College, Mrs. Westerman-Keuning attended the University of Miami School of Law where she graduated Cum Laude in 2009. She received a CALI Future in Excellence Award which is awarded to the best student in the class for her Asylum & Removal Workshop taught by former Krome Immigration Judge, Kenneth Hurewitz. During all three years at the University of Miami ("UM"), she worked as a legal intern in the field of immigration law. She served as an intern at UM’s Community Health Rights Education Clinic where she provided free legal services through Jackson Memorial Hospital to indigent clients, most of whom were HIV+ and homeless. Also during law school, she worked as a law clerk for more than one year at the law office of Julie C. Ferguson, P.A. assisting Ms. Ferguson with her immigration cases. She additionally interned at Church World Services during her first year of law school, a non-profit immigration organization offering low-price and free immigration services to indigent clients as part of a HOPE Fellowship awarded to her by UM’s Center for Ethics and Public Service.  



Audio Course Material Package Download: $425

Audio Course Material Package CD: $425, plus $7.50 shipping and, in CA, 9% sales tax.

CLE Credit


FL General:  This program is approved for 9.0 units of general CLE in Florida through September 3, 2017.
FL Board Certified:  This program is approved for 4.5 units of Board Certified CLE in Florida in Immigration and Nationality Law through September 3, 2017.

CA General:  This program is approved for 7.25 units of general CLE in California.

This program is approved for CLE in the states listed above.  Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above.


Terms and Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Webinars, Tele-seminars and Webcast Cancellations: Once log-in codes and passwords are issued for a webinar, tele-seminars or webcasts, a refund is not possible. If for any reason you cannot attend the event after you have received the codes, we will automatically convert your registration to an instant streaming/instant download or CD format and provide you with the information you need to access the recording after the program concludes and the recording is available.  Conversions to CD require a $7.50 shipping fee, and in CA, 9% sales tax.

Downloads/CDs/DVDs – Refund policy:

Downloads are non-returnable/non-refundable once purchased and received. Tapes, CDs and DVDs are returnable for a full refund or replacement if defective, within 90 days of purchase.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

$425.00 each

Learn the terms of Art, legal meanings vs. common meanings including practical examples of standard phrases and terms you must understand to practice competently. You will learn about the four broad bases of legal immigration: a) Family-based; b) Employment-based; c) Humanitarian and d) Other. Recorded in 2016.