Immigration Law

Obituary: Michael A. Bander, Miami Immigration Lawyer

"Michael Alan Bander, a 45-year Miami resident, U.S. Army veteran, and one of the deans of the immigration bar, died suddenly at his summer home in Spruce Head, ME, on Sunday, Sept. 16, at age 79. He was recognized in publications such as Best Lawyers in America and through his membership in IMMLAW, the consortium of outstanding U.S. immigration lawyers providing services in U.S. port cities, which he helped organize.  Most importantly, he was a devoted husband to JoAnne Bander for almost 49 years, loving father to Stephen M. Bander and Deborah R. Bander, and active member of the community. Michael was born in Haverhill, MA, and raised in Chevy Chase, MD. He  graduated from Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in 1956, the University of Virginia, with honors, in 1960, and University of Virginia School of Law,1963. He was a committed UVA and Washington Redskins fan. Following law school he served in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps in Vicenza, Italy, rising to the rank of captain.  He returned to Washington and joined the U.S. Department of Justice, where a legal case took him to Paraguay. He and JoAnne later spent two-and-a-half years there with the Agency for International Development. With his mastery of Spanish and knowledge of Latin America, a relocation to Miami, the "Capital of Latin America,' was a logical next step.  Michael served as president of the local chapter of the American Immigration Bar Association, National Board of the Immigration Bar; president, the American Jewish Committee, South Florida Chapter; board member, Florida Bar Foundation; board member, Prologue Society; member, Coral Gables Pension Board; member,  Governor's Commission on Affordable Housing, and board member, Gables Cinema. Michael dedicated  his career to helping thousands of people from around  the world attain U.S. residency and citizenship and contribute to the growth of Miami. A Robert Indiana print of the Statue of Liberty, with a tear on her cheek, hung over his desk.  He helped organize and finance a successful effort in the mid-1990s to oppose a Proposition 187 anti-immigrant referendum effort in Florida.   .He was a founding member of the Miami Book Fair and founding subscriber of New World Symphony, and could be found in the front rows of Chapman at the Book Fair; at some 15 New World concerts seasonally, and chatting with his Doctors Hospital exercise group at the Coral Gables Farmers Market.He was an avid reader of history. In addition to wife JoAnne, of Coral Gables, children Deborah, of New York, and Stephen, of Miami, sisters-in-law Natalie Fisher Guerin and Anne Grimsley Bander, nieces Liz Bander and Ari Bander, nephews David (Deborah Fisher) and Jason Fisher, and great-nephews Gabriel and Jacob Fisher, survive, as do many friends and grateful clients."