Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14062140 (posted Jun. 21, 2014)"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, June 21, 2014
AILA PRESENTS LISA BAKER JONES, TAMMY LIN, CYNTHIA LUCAS, AND SWETA KHANDELWAL WITH THE 2014 ADVOCACY AWARD
BOSTON,MA — The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will award Lisa Baker Jones, Tammy Lin, Cynthia Lucas, and Sweta Khandelwal with the 2014 Advocacy Award for outstanding efforts in support of AILA's legislative agenda. The four attorneys will accept the award today during AILA's Annual Conference in Boston, MA.
These attorneys, the chairs of the four California chapters of AILA, led efforts to ensure that the Immigration Reform Act in California, AB1159, would provide consumer protections while encouraging ethical legal representation.
The bill, when it was first introduced in the California State Legislature, was intended to protect consumers against immigration fraud, but AILA attorneys immediately realized that it would have the opposite effect. By legislating the attorney/client relationship, the bill would have forced lawyers to violate professional rules of conduct and potentially even put clients at risk. The proposed bill placed onerous compliance requirements on immigration lawyers far in excess of what is imposed on other attorneys in California.
Realizing the significant negative impact of the initial bill, and the model it could be for other states, Lisa Baker Jones, Tammy Lin, Cynthia Lucas, and Sweta Khandelwal, jumped into action. These four AILA leaders mobilized the membership to voice their concerns and worked with legislative staff, bar leaders, and others to have the most onerous provisions removed. When AB1159 ultimately passed and was signed into law, it was a vastly different bill than originally drafted. This group of chapter chairs deserves much of the credit and our thanks for what they accomplished.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.