A Chicago immigration attorney whose rise in the immigration courts coincided with a rise in immigration cases has died, his family said in a statement Thursday.
The family said Thomas Lee, 75, died from natural causes at home in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn.
The Associated Press reported that the lawyer for the U.S. government and several of his former colleagues has been fighting deportation orders for nearly 20 years.
In the late 1980s, Lee’s firm represented several immigrants who were charged with illegal entry into the United States.
Lee’s first case was a man who sought asylum in Canada.
In 1987, he was among the lawyers who helped defend a man accused of immigration fraud, according to court records.
A federal judge ruled in 2000 that the immigrant, who had been deported five times, was ineligible to stay in the country.
His wife had died in 2009.
In 2002, Lee was a leading member of a group that successfully defended a woman who was charged with fraud.
The woman was deported in 2009 and never served any jail time.
In 2008, the immigration office charged a former Chicago police officer with conspiracy to commit fraud.
In 2012, the office charged an immigrant with immigration fraud for allegedly trying to illegally enter the country to steal a U.K. passport.