Services & Industries
J.D., Lewis & Clark Law School, 2010
B.A., University of Oregon, 1992
Bar & Court Admissions
Oregon State Bar
Melina represents regional and international companies in matters related to employment-based immigration. Melina has successfully handled immigration matters for multinational corporations and regional technology firms, health care providers, and universities on non-immigrant and immigrant visa options and procedures including Conrad 30 waivers, PERM Applications and Naturalization Applications, and Extraordinary Ability Petitions.
Melina was chair for the Oregon Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association from 2016 to 2018 and Liaison to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles for five years. She served for two years at Portland State University’s Immigration Clinic and currently mentors first year law students at Lewis & Clark. Melina is a frequent speaker on employment-related immigration.
Prior to joining Tonkon Torp, Melina practiced immigration law at a boutique firm in Portland. Before she earned her law degree, Melina worked for more than eight years as an immigration paralegal in the Portland area, she lived in Tokyo for one year, and she had a brief career as an editor in New York City.
Before pursuing law, Melina worked as an editor at a science text book company in New York City. She has lived in Tokyo, Japan and Quito, Ecuador. A fluent Spanish speaker, she enjoys travel abroad with her family. Closer to home, Melina likes to hike and garden, and can often be found cheering on the sidelines of her children’s soccer games.
Community Involvement & Activities
American Immigration Lawyers Association – Oregon Chapter
2022-Present, 2011-2016, Department of Motor Vehicles Liaison
2016-2018, Chair Elect and Chapter Chair
Oregon Immigrant Foundation
2021-Present, Board Member
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Multnomah Bar Association
Portland Human Resources Management Association
Chambers USA has recognized 26 Tonkon Torp attorneys in eight practice areas in its Chambers USA 2023 Guide.
Tonkon Torp partners Melina LaMorticella and Melany Savitt were featured speakers at the 2023 P.L.A.N. Conference, hosted by AILA Oregon and designed for paralegals, law students, assistants, and new practitioners.
Tonkon Torp business immigration lawyers Alan Perkins, Turid Owren, Melina LaMorticella, and Melany Savitt hosted their Annual Immigration Update for employers.
Attorneys from Tonkon Torp’s Immigration Practice spoke on panels at the September, 2022 AILA NW Regional Conference.
Chambers USA has recognized 28 Tonkon Torp attorneys in eight practice areas in its Chambers USA 2022 Guide.
By Melany Savitt, Alan Perkins, Melina LaMorticella, and Turid Owren – On August 1, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published for immediate use a new edition of Form I-9, which will become mandatory on November 1, 2023.
By Melina LaMorticella, Turid Owren, Alan Perkins, and Melany Savitt – The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that its COVID-19 temporary flexibility policies for Form I-9 will end on July 31, 2023. Employers relying on the COVID-19 temporary flexibilities for Form I-9 should plan ahead to ensure that all required in-person physical inspection of Form I-9 documentation is completed by August 30, 2023.
By Melina LaMorticella, Turid Owren, Alan Perkins, and Melany Savitt – Registrations for the FY2024 H-1B quota must be submitted electronically to USCIS in March 2023. We expect USCIS to designate a two-week registration period shortly. Last year USCIS charged a $10 fee per registration.
Online registration for the 2024 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV2024) opened Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022 at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and closes Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5).
By Melina LaMorticella, Turid Owren, Alan Perkins, and Melany Savitt – Registrations for the FY2023 H-1B quota must be submitted electronically to USCIS in March 2022. USCIS will designate a registration period shortly, which should be a minimum two week window. USCIS will charge a $10 fee per registration.
Publications & Presentations
“COVID-19 Temporary Flexibilities for Form I-9 Ending,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, May 2023
“Employment-Based Immigration Writing and Communication,” P.L.A.N. Conference, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Oregon, March 2023
“Annual Immigration Update,” Jan. 2023
“FY2024 H-1B Cap Registration – What You Need to Know,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Jan. 2023
“What You Need to Know About FY2023 H-1B Cap Registration,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Jan. 2022
“Annual Immigration Update,” Nov. 2021
“Biden Administration Lifts COVID-19 Travel Bans, Adds Vaccine Requirement,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Oct. 2021
“2023 DV Lottery Registration Open Oct. 6 to Nov. 9,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Oct. 2021
“USCIS Suspends Biometrics Collection for I-539 Applications for H-4, L-2, E Nonimmigrants,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, May 2021
“Travel from India to the U.S. Restricted Starting May 4,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, May 2021
“H-1B Lottery Updates for Fiscal Year 2022,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Feb. 2021
“Biden Administration Executive Orders Impact International Travel,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Jan. 2021
“DOL Publishes Final Rule Impacting Prevailing Wages,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Jan. 2021
“New Regulation Creates Wage-Based Selection Process for H-1B Lottery,” Jan. 2021
“Business Immigration Update,” Sept. 2020
Panelist, “International Student Town Hall,” University of Oregon, July 2020
“The Impact of COVID-19 on Business Immigration,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2020
“H-1B Cap Season 2020,” American Immigration Lawyers Association, Oregon Chapter, Feb. 2020
“H-1B Cap Season 2020,” Feb. 2020
“Worksite Enforcement Business Immigration Briefing,” Sept. 2019
“Visas – Who Can Come? Who Can Stay?” Annual Labor & Employment Law Update, May 2019
“Business Immigration Review and 2019 Forecast Briefing,” Dec. 2018
“Business Immigration for Startups,” Nov. 2018
“Worksite Enforcement, Compliance Best Practices & Forms I-9,” June 2017
“What Immigration Means to Healthcare Delivery in Oregon,” Oregon State Bar Health Law Section, June 2017
“H-1B Cap Season 2017 and Trump Administration Executive Orders,” Feb. 2017
“Business Immigration 2017,” Feb. 2017
“Employment-Based Immigration,” American Immigration Lawyers Association, Oregon Chapter, May 2016
“Recent Developments in L Visas,” Northwest Regional Immigration Law Conference, American Immigration Lawyers Association, March 2016
“Getting Ready for H-1B Cap Season,” Jan. 2016
“INA 204(l) – Navigating the Law for Surviving Relatives and Others Measures of Extraordinary Relief,” Northwest Regional Immigration Law Conference, American Immigration Lawyers Association, March 2015
“The Role of the Human Resource Department in Facilitating International Assignments,” Global Special Interest Group of PHRMA, Feb. 2015