Charles (Charlie) Oppenheim is WR Immigration’s Director of Visa Consulting and heads the WR Government Relations Group.
For over two decades, both the White House and Congressional Leadership have turned to Mr. Oppenheim for guidance on how the green card numerical control process could be updated to meet intended goals.
Prior to joining the firm, Charlie worked for the U.S. Department of State for over 43 years, as a consular officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs since 1979. He was the Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division in the Office of Domestic Operations from January 1998 through December 3, 2021, when he retired.
As Chief of the Immigrant Control and Reporting Division his main responsibility was the administration of the complex series of annual numerical limitations on immigrants, subdivided by preference category and country, which are set by the Immigration and Nationality Act. The decisions which he made in this regard resulted in applicants having used over nine million numerically controlled immigrant visas numbers. In addition, he regularly provided analysis and assessment of the impact of proposed legislation on visa availability and workload impact for overseas posts.
On a monthly basis he was responsible for determining the number of visas which could be allocated in each visa category, and to each country on a worldwide basis. The goal was to have the issuance level through September come as close as possible to the annual limit without exceeding it. The Division maintained a database containing workload statistics for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas issued at Foreign Service posts worldwide. It also compiled statistics on immigrant numbers provided to USCIS for adjustment of status cases in the numerically limited categories.
The division annually issued the Report of the Visa Office, a yearly compilation of statistical data on visas issued at consular offices around the world. On a monthly basis, the division also issued the Visa Bulletin periodical, which summarizes the availability of visas numbers for the coming month, as well as other visa related information. The division also provides statistical data on the Consular Affairs Web Site (travel.state.gov).
He also provided a monthly YouTube “Chat with Charlie” which was hosted by the Consular Affairs Press Office.
The division routinely provided statistical data in response to inquiries from congressional offices, offices within the State Department, other governmental agencies, and the general public. Charlie spoke at a variety of government events dealing with immigration related issues, and those sponsored by groups such as the Federal Bar Association, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Council for Global Immigration, IIUSA, and others. In addition, he regularly provided analysis regarding various immigration reform proposals speaking with White House and Congressional representatives as well as other groups to present the Department’s position. In June 2007 and April 2008, he represented the Department of State by testifying before Senate subcommittees which were looking into the issue of immigration reform. In June 2022 the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recognized Charles with their Founders Award, which is given from time to time to the person or entity having the most substantial impact on the field of immigration law or policy.