Reginald A. Pacis is a Shareholder practicing in Butzel's Detroit office. He concentrates his practice in Immigration law and has handled a variety of immigration matters including H-1B specialty occupation cases, L-1 Intracompany transfers, Labor Certification matters, Immigrant Visa Petitions/ Adjustment of Status applications and interviews, TN Free trade cases, H-1B Department of Labor Investigations, I-9 employer verification compliance, and U.S. Port of Entry airport and land port interviews. Mr. Pacis is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Michigan’s Super Lawyers (Immigration Law). He was recognized as "Lawyer of the Year” in Immigration Law in 2013 and again in 2023 by Best Lawyers and he continues to maintain an AV rating in the Martindale Hubbell publication.
Mr. Pacis is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the Samahang Pilipino Ng Oakland Filipino organization. He served two consecutive terms from 2003 to 2004 and 2004 to 2005 as Chairperson of the Michigan Chapter of AILA and was a member of the AILA National Board of Governors for those terms. He previously served as Secretary (2001 to 2003) and Membership Chairperson of the Michigan Chapter of AILA (1998 to 2003).
Mr. Pacis has been a speaker on immigration topics at many business, Hispanic, and Filipino presentations. He is a frequent presenter in the Annual Butzel Immigration Seminar. He was a presenter and member of the faculty for the 2004 AILA National Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and published in the 2004 AILA National Conference materials with an article discussing Special Registration of certain classes of immigrants. He was a presenter and discussion leader at the 2006 AILA National Conference in San Antonio, Texas. As part of a panel of immigration lawyers in 2007, Mr. Pacis spoke on immigration employer compliance issues for an immigration seminar sponsored by the Governor's Advisory Council on Asian Pacific American Affairs in Lansing, Michigan. He testified during the January 18, 2008 Michigan Senate Transportation Committee's public hearing that examined the impact of proposed drivers license legislation on immigration issues. He was also a presenter at the 2008 AILA National Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada and published in the 2008 AILA National Conference materials with an article discussing border immigration issues. He testified on June 18, 2010 during the open session at the Michigan Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights public meeting examining the proposed immigration bill similar to the recently enacted Arizona bill. He was a presenter and discussion leader in the 2010 AILA National Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, the 2011 Spring AILA Conference in Washington, D.C., the 2011 AILA National Conference in San Diego, California 2014 AILA National Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, and the 2015 AILA National Conference held again in National Harbor, Maryland. He was also a speaker in a video presentation discussing family law and immigration law for ICLE (Institute for Continuing Legal Education) in 2014.
Mr. Pacis' article, "Changes Involving the Visa Waiver Program and the Michigan Driver's License Application Process" appeared in the Winter/Spring 2009 issue of the Michigan International Lawyer published by the State Bar of Michigan.
Mr. Pacis has served in a variety of committees in the Filipino and professional communities. He completed an appointment by Governor Granholm for service on the Advisory Committee for Asian Pacific American Affairs (ACAPAA). He served on the Michigan AILA Advocacy Committee from 2007 to 2010. He was appointed by Governor Snyder to serve on the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC) for a four year term from 2019 to 2022. Mr. Pacis previously served as Chairperson of the Michigan AILA Committee responsible for liaison with the Michigan Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") Agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security presiding over inspections and security of the U.S. border, from 2005 to 2007. His service expanded to the AILA National CBP liaison Committee as a member, Vice Chair and Chairperson of the AILA National CBP liaison Committee. He also served as Vice Chair on the AILA United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") Field Operations Liaison committee, the AILA education “Distance Learning” committee, the USCIS/ AILA Nebraska Service Center Liaison committee, and on the USCIS/ AILA National Benefits Center liaison committee. USCIS is the agency that presides over U.S. immigration benefits such as green cards and petition approvals. He is presently serving on AILA's Paralegal conference planning committee.
Mr. Pacis received his J.D. from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University in 1996 and his B.A. from James Madison College at Michigan State University in 1992. He joined the State Bar of Michigan in 1997.
Primary Practice Areas
James Madison College at Michigan State University 1992, B.A.
Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University 1996, J.D.
- American Bar Association
Samahang Pilipino Ng Oakland Filipino organization
Philippine Chamber of Commerce of Michigan
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
AILA National Board of Governors - Member (2003-2004 and 2004-2005)
AILA - Michigan Chapter - Chairperson (2003-2004 and 2004-2005)
AILA - Michigan Chapter - Membership Chairperson (1998-2003)
AILA - Michigan Chapter - Secretary (2001-2003)
AILA - Michigan Chapter - Advocacy Committee (2007-2009)
AILA National Committee - liaison with Customs and Border Protection (division of U.S. Department of Homeland Security presiding over inspections and security of the U.S. border)
Michigan AILA Committee - Current Vice Chair of committee responsible for liaison with the Michigan Customs and Border Protection Agency former member (2005-2007) former Vice Chair (2009-2010) former Chair (2010-2011)
AILA Border Security Committee (2007-2009)
- AILA USCIS Field Operations Liaison Committee - Current Vice Chair (2012-2013) former member (2011-2012)
- Advisory Committee for Asian Pacific American Affairs (ACAPAA) - appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm
International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit - Member of the Board of Directors
Awards & Recognitions
Awards & Recognitions
The Best Lawyers in America, "Lawyer of the Year," Immigration Law, 2013, 2023
The Best Lawyers in America - Immigration Law, 2009-2024
National Federation of Filipino American Associations of Michigan Award for Excellence in Law, October 6, 2007
Michigan Super Lawyers, Immigration: Business, 2011-2023
DBusiness Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, Immigration Law, 2011-2024
Chambers USA - America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Immigration, 2021-2023
- Obtained waivers of inadmissibility including waivers for entry into Canada for individuals who have DUIs/DWIs
- Represented employers in USCIS administrative site visit
- Conducted in-house training on I-9 form compliance and retention, including electronic completion and storage of I-9 forms
- Assisted with preservation of residency for naturalization purposes for individuals transferred overseas
- Analyzed effect of corporate changes, including mergers and acquisitions, on foreign national’s immigration status.
- Managed multi-country projects and obtained work authorizations in multiple jurisdictions for individuals of various nationalities.
- Prepared J-1 waivers of 2 year foreign residency requirement based on no-objection letters, interested government agencies, hardship and other grounds
- Represented clients in complex naturalization matters including restoration of U.S. citizenship, appeals for denied naturalization applications, and evaluate strategies for overcoming grounds of ineligibility.
- Consulted with clients regarding special permanent resident card interviews
- Obtained re-entry permits to maintain permanent residence status in the United States for individuals transferred abroad
- Represented clients with applications of waiver of inadmissibility due to past legal history or immigration history.
- Analyzed eligibility for naturalization through parents or grandparents and prepare necessary documentation
- Represented clients seeking LPR status based on Cuban Adjustment Act
- Obtained re-entry permit to maintain permanent residency for individuals transferred overseas
- Represented clients at Port of Entry to process admission to US under NAFTA
- Obtained approval of Immigration Petition for Alien of Extraordinary Ability for various professionals including engineers, scientists, corporate executives, professional athletes, entertainers, coaches, and trainers.
- Conducted in-house training regarding preparing and maintaining H-1B public access files and Labor Certification Applications
- Assisted employers in obtaining appropriate nonimmigrant classification (TN, H-1B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, O-1, E-1/E-2, P) and immigrant classification (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3 and EB-5).
- Evaluated retention of dual citizenship for U.S. and other countries such as Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, etc.
- Obtained permanent resident status pursuant to registry provisions based on residence in U.S. since January 1972
- Represented clients in obtaining visas at various US Embassies and Consulates abroad
- Conducted internal audits of I-9 forms for clients
- Represented employers during investigations conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Department of Labor regarding employment verification issues.
- Advised employers regarding maintenance of employer/employee relationship when foreign national is placed offsite
- Provided preventative counseling on Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor investigations and employer sanctions.
- Preparation of J-1 Exchange Visitor and H-3 Trainee applications and petitions for employees of foreign companies with U.S. facilities
- Represented employers during investigations conducted by USICE and USDOL regarding employment verification issues
- Obtained removal of conditions on permanent residency
- Represented employers in investigations conducted by the USDOL concerning H-1B Labor Condition Application public access file including benching and wage and hour issues.
- Assisted family members in obtaining appropriate fianc
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