Immigration Law Pitch to Book

Liam Schwartz and US Immigration Law: From Pitch to Book

In 2003, Liam Schwartz, a partner in an Israeli law firm specializing in relocation and immigration issues, asked us to help him alert the world to the absurdity of Israelis being denied visas to the US — all because they were born in countries on the US’ state terrorism lists (like Iran, Iraq, Libya, etc.). We studied the subject and created a short pitch to the Washington D.C. bureau of the Financial Times.

We secured a full page article on the Comment & Analysis page of the Financial Times (all editions: US, London, Asia) on 29 January 2003: ‘Our Secret Weapon has been bringing people to see what America is like…we’re throwing all that away’ with a subhead: Washington’s tough new visa policy, introduced to prevent another September 11, may be stifling the economy and undermining US foreign policy in the Arab world.

In September 2008, the Council of Foreign Relations, one of the most respected voices in non-partisan US foreign policy debates, published a book called ‘The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11

We will let the author describe the book’s creation (directly from the book)

“Although I didn’t know it at the time, this book began in a way most reporters would be slightly embarrassed to acknowledge – with a call from a public relations firm. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I would have ignored such a call amid the crush of my daily deadlines, but this one was especially intriguing. It came in early 2003 from Josh Shuman, who now runs his own PR shop in Jerusalem. He was calling on behalf of Liam Schwartz, a prominent Israeli immigration attorney who was suddenly seeing a surge in cases in which Israelis could not obtain visas to travel to the United States. I was working in Washington for the Financial Times, and I saw immediately that the story had the sort of ironic twist that made it compelling – the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East, and one that had itself been the target of so many terrorist attacks, had unexpectedly found itself in the crosshairs of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism. Schwartz quickly made me recognize that the Israeli angle was only a tiny part of a broader global story…

Shuman’s call let me to write a full-page article on the issue (one he tells me he still has framed in his office).”