Firm Tackles Immigration Issues

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 12:00 am  

Milton DeJesus and Angela Schnuerle of Immigration Law Center LLLP in Little Rock. (Photo by Mauren Kennedy)

Two Arkansas attorneys have partnered to form the Immigration Law Center LLLP in Little Rock, which is designed to be a one-stop law firm for immigrants.

Milton DeJesus, who has been practicing law since 1976, and Angela Schnuerle, who received her law license in 2004, decided to team up so they could practice in a field that they wanted to, which is immigration and international law, Schnuerle said.

She said the center is the only one of its kind in Arkansas. “If you need a contract lawyer, and you’re an immigrant, you can go to a contract lawyer, but they’re not going to take into consideration the immigration consequences,” Schnuerle said. “If you need an immigration lawyer, you go to an immigration lawyer, but they don’t help you if you’re going to divorce your wife.”

She said the firm can help everyone from the immigrant physician who comes to practice medicine in Arkansas to the agricultural worker.

Founded in March, the law firm has a staff of seven and additional offices in De Queen, Jonesboro and Texarkana.

“We’re not necessarily located in centers where there’s a large influx of Latinos,” DeJesus said. “Our efforts have been to represent people from all countries.”

But one of the hot issues for the center is immigration reform. “Of course, we’re positioning ourselves to be the leading law firm in that realm,” Schnuerle said.

In June, the Senate approved an immigration reform bill that features a path to citizenship for undocumented workers. The bill also included about $46 billion to be spent on border security. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on immigration reform in the fall. It could have trouble passing the Republican-controlled House, where the path to citizenship is less popular.

Schnuerle said she and DeJesus are in favor of legislation that includes the possibility of citizenship as part of the reform.

The first issue, however, is making sure the immigrants can work legally, she said. A number of industries in Arkansas, such as agriculture, hospitality and construction, depend on immigrant labor, Schnuerle said.

Immigration reform issues won’t be all that the firm handles, though. “We’re not here setting up shop so that we can capture a law that’s coming,” DeJesus said. “We want to be able to represent them in their business ventures and other areas.”

International Law



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