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Oswald Isaac Kramer
April 6, 1912 - October 22, 2004

Oswald Isaac Kramer was born in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from New York University in 1931, and his LLB from Columbia University Law School in 1934. After honorable service to the country as a Captain in the U.S. Army, Ozzie began a long and passionate career studying, teaching and practicing United States Immigration, Nationality and Consular law. Ozzie joined the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Service in 1940. He served with distinction until his retirement from the agency in 1978. He wore many hats for INS, including Naturalization examiner, Chief of Travel Control in Detroit, and occasionally, he traveled in the United States on special assignments for the Commissioner of INS. On these occasions, Ozzie applied his considerable intellect, sense of justice and resolve to convince a strident INS bureaucracy to dismiss by the hundreds deportation and exclusion cases based upon erroneous or mean-spirited interpretations of the INA.

Ozzie avoided the position of Immigration Judge because he did not want to deport anyone, so strong was his feeling that the United States was a special place that should accept well-intended immigrants seeking freedom and peace. He moved to Burlington, Vermont to become the Deputy Regional Commissioner and then, in 1976, the Regional Commissioner of INS for the Northeast United States. Ozzie's view of the role of INS was simple and he was frustrated that it escaped so many: enforcing the law includes admitting all qualified aliens. Upon his retirement from INS, the Eastern Region Chapters of the Association of Immigration and Naturalization Lawyers recognized Ozzie for "his Interest, Effort, Compassion and Innovation in the interpretation and application of the Immigration and Nationality Laws of the United States".

Ozzie opened a law office in Burlington after his retirement from INS. His wife, Ruth, was his able assistant. He developed his legal practice but was much more intrigued by the opportunity to research and write on immigration law topics. He contributed for years to AILA Monthly with his summaries of BALCA decisions and he contributed to the preeminent treatise, Immigration Law and Procedure. Ozzie taught immigration law in several forums, including a course to INS adjudicators at the Vermont Service Center. At age 70, Ozzie joined a Burlington, Vermont law firm that today is Carroll and Scribner. He taught immigration law to attorneys and legal assistants who benefited immeasurably from his knowledge and patience. Above all, he is remembered by them for his intellect, wit, generosity, kindness and wisdom. He will be missed sorely by his law firm colleagues, the legal profession, many who served in INS with him, and by his clients who recognized his strength as their ally.

Ozzie was predeceased by his wife, Ruth Sirota Kramer. He is survived by his daughter, Naomi, and by her children, Stefanie Kramer and Todd Metzger. To honor Ozzie, donations may be made to the American Immigration Law Foundation.