A Loss to the Immigration Bar: Joe Vail

Joe Vail, immigration attorney, advocate, fighter for justice, died on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. A long-time AILA member, Joe most recently authored AILA's "Essentials of Removal and Relief", a practical guide to representing immigrants in removal proceedings.

Joe worked on the Plyler v. Doe case as a VISTA volunteer in 1980. He served as a legal aid attorney for the Gulf Coast Legal Foundation in Houston, and later with AYUDA in Washington DC. He worked in private practice in Houston, served several years as an Immigration Judge, and then in 1999 started the Immigration Clinic at the University of Houston law Center which he directed until his untimely death.

Joe was awarded AILA's Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005. He was a role model, mentor, and inspiration to countless young law students and immigration attorneys. Friends who recently nominated Joe for this year's National Lawyers' Guild National Immigration Project Carol King Award wrote: "His usual reply when asked to help... is 'in a heartbeat'. His heart is always open and his hands are always ready to reach out to anyone in need."

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 08061708.