Robert C. Divine

1900 Republic Centre
633 Chestnut Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37450
T: 423.752.4416
F: 423.752.9533

Robert C. Divine

Robert C. Divine, leader of the Firm's Global Immigration Group and a shareholder who works from the Firm's Washington, D.C., and Chattanooga offices, concentrates his practice in business immigration and litigation. He has extensive experience serving clients throughout the world in the arrangement of all types of business-based temporary and permanent immigration status, including specialty occupations (H-1B, TN, E-3), individual and blanket international transferee programs (L-1), traders and investors (E-1/E-2, EB-5), medical workers, religious workers, labor certification, national interest waivers and extraordinary ability aliens.

Mr. Divine is active in the Firm's Government Enforcement and Investigations team and has represented and assisted employers and other parties in some of the largest immigration enforcement investigations and prosecutions as well as private RICO actions. He provides strategic advice and training for employers in their immigration compliance efforts. Mr. Divine also has litigated significant business matters, including contract, commercial, product liability, antitrust, ERISA benefits and business torts (including RICO, misrepresentation, Consumer Protection Act).

By presidential appointment, Mr. Divine served in Washington, D.C., from July 2004 until November 2006 as Chief Counsel of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the world's largest immigration services agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. From July 2005 until July 2006, he served as Acting Director and then Acting Deputy Director of USCIS, spearheading the USCIS Transformation Program, testifying in Congress about the E-Verify system, enhancing operational security, and increasing transparency of rules and procedures. In early 2004 he served as an expert retained to assist the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in its congressionally mandated study on the expedited removal process. He has testified as an expert on immigration law for courts in the United States and abroad.

Mr. Divine represents many business developers in creating, managing and using "Regional Centers" that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment in the developers' projects. He is the elected Vice President of the national industry association of "EB-5" Regional Centers, Association to Invest in USA (IIUSA). He represents developers similarly using other parties' Regional Centers. He coordinates this work with attorneys supporting securities law compliance in offerings to investors, with economists identifying "targeted employment areas" and projecting indirect job creation, with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings, and with attorneys obtaining U.S. Government (OFAC) licenses to serve investors from restricted countries. He also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Since 1994, Mr. Divine has authored Immigration Practice (Juris Publishing, 15th ed.), a well-regarded 1,800 page practical treatise on all aspects of U.S. immigration law, which is republished each year to incorporate the constant changes in the field.

Mr. Divine is a frequent speaker on U.S. and international immigration rules, policies and procedures, and regularly appears before employers, investors, individuals, policy makers, other immigration lawyers and foreign governments. Click here for a transcript of Mr. Divine's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 7, 2011 regarding the job-creating effects of the EB-5 immigrant investor program and the importance of renewing the regional center authorizing legislation. He also authors numerous alerts on immigration-related topics, which can be found on the Firm's Immigration website.



  • Immigration Practice (Juris Publishing, 15th ed.), a 1,800 page practical treatise on all aspects of U.S. immigration law


Professional Honors & Activities

  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Immigration Law since 1995
  • Listed in The International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers (2012 – 2014)
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers in Immigration Law (2012)
  • Named to Business Tennessee magazine's "150 Best Lawyers" (2009, 2010)
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association – past chair of several national committees, past chapter chair 
  • "Big Brother" since 1978; past or present board member of Big Brothers Association, Boys Clubs, New Life Homes for [delinquent] Boys, Chattanooga Resource Foundation (ecumenical), Robert and Catherine Maclellan Foundation


  • Tennessee, 1988
  • North Carolina (Inactive)


  • Vanderbilt University School of Law, J.D., 1985
  • University of North Carolina, B.A., 1982
  • The McCallie School, 1978