Debra is an attorney and shareholder in the Immigration Group at Fredrikson. She leads the department’s extraordinary ability practice, enabling professors, scientists, researchers, physicians, and business leaders to secure long term status in the United States. She is nationally renowned for her work with universities, major health care centers, and leading med tech companies throughout the United States.

Debra provides clear and well-researched advice to a diverse client base that includes multi-national corporations, entrepreneurs, universities, hospitals as well as individuals in the O1, NIW, PNIW and EB1 categories. She manages both large and small corporate immigration matters providing individualized attention to each person she assists.

She is a national speaker on complex immigration issues and enjoys helping her clients navigate the legal nuances to successfully achieve their immigration goals. She advises on I‑9 compliance/audits/ investigations and prepares corporate immigration policies. Whether she’s securing lawful permanent residence, navigating difficult entry issues, or advising on how to sponsor new employees, Debra offers compassion with her counsel. With Debra, clients know they have entered a true legal partnership as they work together to strengthen businesses, advance careers, improve lives and bring families from around the world together. Debra holds her J.D. from the University of Minnesota (2001).



Business and Industry

  • Medical devices and technology
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • IT consulting
  • Energy
  • Multi-national corporations

Sports and Entertainment

  • Advertising agencies
  • Musicians, dancers, artists
  • Pro baseball, hockey players and coaches

K‑12 and Higher Education

  • University faculty and researchers
  • Charter/public school teachers


  • Business start-ups
  • Scientists, inventors, developers
  • Investors

Individuals and Families

  • Marriage (including LGBT)
  • Asylum
  • Naturalization
  • Deportation defense



  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 2001, magna cum laude
  • University of Amsterdam, Graduate Course Work, 1995
  • University of Nebraska, B.A., History, 1994, magna cum laude


  • Minnesota, 2001
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit


  • North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2012-2017
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2013
  • Cancer Legal Line Advocate Award, 2013
  • Volunteer of the Year Award, Fredrikson & Byron, 2006

Civic & Professional

Professional Activities

  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Loan Repayment Assistance Program, Board, Present
  • Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Board President, Vice President, 2005-2014
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), MN/Dakotas, Member, 2001-present

News & Insights

Publications & Presentations

Speaker, "Tough EB Issues for Even the most Seasoned Practitioners,” AILA MN/Dakotas Upper Midwest Immigration Law Conference, Minneapolis, MN, May 19, 2023

“National Teacher Shortage Could Be Mitigated By Thinking Outside of The United States,” October 2022

Speaker, “Hiring Foreign Teachers,” Clinical Session of North Dakota School Boards Association 2022, Fargo, ND, October 28, 2022

Speaker, “Hiring and Employing Foreign Teachers,” North Dakota School Boards Association 2022 Annual Convention, Fargo, ND, October 27, 2022

Speaker/Attorney, “Advocates for Human Rights,” F&B Pro Bono Asylum Clinic, Minneapolis, MN, March 24, 2022

Co-Speaker, “10 Keys To The Kingdom of Permanent Residence for Physicians, Scientists and PostDocs: Guidelines Leading To The ‘Green Card’,” Mayo Residents and Fellows Association Webinar, April 9, 2021

Co-Speaker, “Immigration In A New Era … Or Is It?,” University of Colorado Webinar, March 18, 2021

Co-Presenter, "Immigration Under the Biden Administration for Healthcare Providers/Systems," Fredrikson & Byron Health Law Webinar Series, March 10, 2021

Co-Speaker, “New Developments in Immigration for Students and Scholars,” University of Colorado Webinar, November 18, 2020

Co-Presenter, "What Do the 2020 Election Results Mean for U.S. Immigration?," Fredrikson & Byron Immigration Webinar, November 17, 2020

Co-Presenter, “Travel in the Time of COVID-19,” Fredrikson & Byron Immigration Webinar, July 29, 2020

Co-Presenter, "Preparing for the 2021 H1B Lottery," Fredrikson & Byron Immigration Webinar, January 14, 2020

Co-Presenter, “What to Do When ICE Shows Up at Your Clinic or Hospital,” Fredrikson & Byron Health Law Webinar Series, September 11, 2019

Co-Presenter, “The New Normal for Business Immigration Under ‘Hire American,’” Fredrikson & Byron Immigration Seminar, May 8, 2019

Co-Presenter, “Immigration Alerts – What Every Employer Should Know,” MRA Federal and Minnesota Employment Law Update, March 14, 2019

Co-Presenter, “Immigration Options for Health Care Practitioners,” Fredrikson & Byron Webinar, March 13, 2019

Co-Presenter, “2018 Employment Law Trends,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 34th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 1, 2018

Co-Presenter, “Immigration Issues for Employers Under the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 34th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 1, 2018

“A Bridge Over Troubled Waters: The High-Skilled Worker Rule and Its Impact on Employment-Based Immigration,” co-authored with Robert Aronson, Mitchell Hamline Law Review, Vol. 44, Issue 3, Art. 5, 2018

Speaker, “Managing and Winning RFEs and NOIDs,” 2018 AILA Annual Conference, June 13-16, 2018

Co-Presenter, “What Now? What Next? Hiring Foreign Nationals in Uncertain Times,” Fredrikson & Byron Immigration Seminar, May 9, 2018

Speaker, “Latest Developments in H-1B RFEs, Other H-1B trends and FDNS Worksite Enforcement,” AILA MN/DK Chapter, April 2018

Speaker, “Fighting a Denied Employment Based Petition: Refile, Appeal, Sue,” 2018 Upper Midwest Immigration Conference, March 2018

Co-Presenter, “Employer Immigration Update,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 33rd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 3, 2017

Co-Presenter, “Employment Immigration Update,” Fredrikson & Byron Webinar, March 13, 2017

“Travel, Advocacy and Employee Rights,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Immigration Podcast, January 2017

Co-Presenter, “The New Form I-9: Tips for Completion, Compliance and Audits,” Fredrikson & Byron Webinar, January 24, 2017

Speaker, “Retention EB1, EB2, EB3 and Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers,” AILA MN/Dakota Chapter, January 13, 2017

Speaker, “EB1 and NYSDOT,” Physician Immigration Law Institute, Washington D.C., December 2016

Co-Presenter, “Work Visa Options and Immigration Trends,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 32nd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 26, 2016

Speaker, “Working With Foreign Nationals: Employment Sponsorship, Immigration Compliance and Community Integration,” Fredrikson & Byron Immigration Seminar, Minneapolis, MN, September 22, 2016

Speaker, “10 Questions you will be asked about immigration - and the answers!,” Strategic Solutions for Solo & Small Firms 2016, St. Paul, MN, July 2016

Presenter, MSBA The Complete Lawyer Series: Immigration Law, July 2016

Speaker, MSBA Busy Lawyer’s Summer Series: Immigration Law 2016: New Developments and Practice Tips, July 2016

Co-Presenter, “Hiring and Work Visa Strategies for Foreign Nationals,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Annual North Dakota Employment Law Seminars, October 15-16, 2015

Presenter, “Making Immigration Work for Physician Recruitment and Retention,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Health Law Webinar, October 14, 2015

Presenter, “Common Misconceptions Clients Have in Non-PERM Cases,” American Immigration Lawyers Association National Conference, Washington D.C., June 2015

Presenter, “Navigating the Immigration Landscape: A Guide for Employers,” Fredrikson & Byron Immigration Seminar, May 5, 2015

Presenter, “Beyond H1B - More Options for Work Visas,” Upper Midwest Immigration Law conference, Minneapolis, MN, April 2015

Presenter, “Business, Legal, and Tax Issues for US Companies Doing Business in Canada Seminar,” Consulate General of Canada, Minneapolis, MN, February 10, 2015

Co-Presenter, “I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification and Compliance,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Annual Employment Law Seminar, Fargo and Bismarck, ND, October 16-17, 2014

Speaker, “Overcoming Difficult I-9 Issues,” Fargo/Moorhead Human Resource Association, Fargo, ND, May 6, 2014

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