A national immigration law firm will soon make El Paso its administrative headquarters with a new office in Downtown.
The Anderson Immigration Law Group, which describes itself as the fifth largest immigration firm in the country, purchased a dilapidated building on El Paso Street last year and has been renovating it.
The firm is already operating out of a temporary office at 409 S. El Paso, which it shares with Cal TV Furniture. Its attorneys will soon move into its new offices at 213 S. El Paso, the former Benny’s Pawn Shop.
Jeremy Anderson, president and owner of Anderson Immigration Law Group, said he decided to bring his practice to El Paso based on the caseloads attorneys were seeing.
“We believe El Paso is a grossly underserved market,” Anderson said. “We also believe our professionalism translates well to the El Paso market. We want to make sure people and families are taken care of.”
The law group’s main offices were formerly based in New Orleans and Gulfport, Mississippi.
Anderson said the firm plans to build up a staff of 10 employees, including two attorneys and support and administrative staff, by mid-2020.
“As caseloads develop in the El Paso market, which we’re already seeing, we’ll add lawyers to meet those caseload demands,” he said.
Anderson Law Group has offices in three other U.S. cities, as well as one in Juárez that’s been open for a year and a half. Anderson said he relocated to El Paso a year ago and has been here responding to the migrant crisis as it unfolds.
About 60% of the firm’s caseload is removal defense, or defending migrants from deportation from the United States. But Anderson added that cases differ based on the political climate. He said the Trump administration’s focus on deporting migrants has caused removal defense cases to rise.
“That’s more of a function of this administration’s priorities than anything else,” Anderson said.
The law firm also handles cases related to petition-based work like bringing a family member to the U.S., as well as business immigration cases. Anderson added that the firm does work on cases involving foreign investors who want to invest in U.S. projects through the EB-5 visa program.
“We believe El Paso is a linchpin for both that type of development and also recruiting those investors from Latin America, and so we’ve made that a focus,” he said.
On Thursday morning, as storefronts were opening for the day, Anderson and a couple other staff were already at work.
The Anderson Law Group offices in Juárez and El Paso are about 10 minutes from each other, and Anderson said both locations have already seen plenty of walk-in traffic.
“That South El Paso Street corridor to the bridge is a well-trafficked area, and we believe that it will allow us to provide our services to folks who are looking for it,” Anderson said. “El Paso and Juárez are intrinsically linked. It’s the same city. We have a metal divider across it.”
Anderson said the firm received city and county incentives to come to El Paso, adding that Downtown revitalization efforts were part of the draw to bring the firm’s main offices to the borderland.
“We wanted to make sure we were a part of that and make sure we put on a good face and be a great member of that Downtown community,” Anderson said.
The new offices are being designed by Guard Building Corp. Anderson Immigration will be on the third floor of the building, and will lease out the bottom two floors to other tenants, Anderson said.
“We think it’ll be a great addition,” Anderson said. “The brain trust of the firm now is going to be on the third floor of that building. We’re excited to see what we can do.”
Email El Paso Inc. reporter Sara Sanchez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (915) 534-4422, ext. 105.