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2014-2015 NATIONAL COMMITTEES AND TASKFORCES
USCIS Liaison Committee - Benefits Policy
The AILA USCIS Benefits Policy Liaison Committee meets with USCIS HQ to discuss policy issues that affect the receipt, processing, and adjudication of applications and petitions for immigration benefits. The committee meets regularly by telephone, prepares practice pointers, monitors the AILA Message Center to spot issues, tracks trends based on AILA member experiences, provides comments to proposed USCIS regulations and memoranda, and maintains regular communication with USCIS HQ on urgent issues that arise throughout the year.
USCIS Service Center Liaison Committees
AILA has liaison committees that correspond with each of the four service centers (CSC
, and VSC
) and with the National Benefits Center
Each committee supports AILA staff in resolving problems and errors in individual cases through the case liaison assistance process
and monitors responses from the agency for errors or trends. The committees also create agendas for stakeholder engagements, track trends and issues, prepare practice pointers, and more. In addition to the service center liaison committees, AILA has a Service Center Operations liaison committee that coordinates efforts and communicates issues across service centers.
USCIS Field Operations Liaison Committee
The AILA USCIS Field Operations Liaison Committee meets with the USCIS Field Operations Directorate, whose mission is to provide management and oversight to the National Benefits Center (NBC) and domestic regional, district, field, and field support offices. The committee creates meeting agendas, monitors the AILA Message Center to spot issues, provides comments to proposed USCIS regulations and memoranda, and tracks trends based on AILA member experiences.
CIS Ombudsman Liaison Committee
The AILA CIS Ombudsman Liaison Committee meets with the Office of the CIS Ombudsman. The CIS Ombudsman's mission is to identify problems that individuals and employers experience when dealing with USCIS and to propose systemic changes to mitigate identified problems. It also helps individuals, attorneys, and employers resolve case-specific problems. The AILA CIS Ombudsman Liaison Committee brings problems to the attention of the Ombudsman, monitors the Message Center to spot issues, and tracks trends based on AILA member experiences.
Asylum & Refugee Liaison Committee
The AILA Refugee & Asylum Liaison Committee holds telephonic meetings to discuss refugee and asylum law matters, including issues related to affirmative and defensive asylum applications, CAT relief, EADs and other benefits for asylum seekers, TRIG, refugee processing, USCIS Asylum Division policies, and more. The committee coordinates with AILA agency liaison committees on asylum-related agenda items, submits comments on proposed regulations and policy changes affecting those who seek asylum or refugee status, and writes practice pointers.
USCIS International Operations Liaison Committee
The USCIS International Operations Liaison Committee meets both telephonically and in-person with the USCIS International Operations Directorate to discuss issues related to I-130 petitions and waivers of inadmissibility filed abroad, adoption, and humanitarian parole. The committee holds regular committee calls, tracks trends based on AILA member experiences, provides comments to proposed federal regulations and USCIS memoranda, and maintains regular communication with the Chief of the International Operations Directorate on urgent issues that arise throughout the year.
VAWA, U & T Liaison Committee
The AILA VAWA, U, & T Liaison Committee holds committee calls to discuss issues affecting the VAWA, U, & T communities. The committee prepares and posts minutes from VSC VAWA Unit meetings, as well as submits individual case liaison inquiries to the VAWA Unit. The committee also assists AILA Liaison Committees and other national organizations that specialize in these issues by creating agenda items on VAWA, U, & T issues for upcoming meetings and provides comments to proposed federal regulations and USCIS memoranda.
Investor (EB-5) Liaison Committee
The AILA EB-5 Liaison Committee works with USCIS on issues related to the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Where patterns of problematic adjudications arise, the committee acts proactively to raise these concerns with USCIS officials. The committee also works with key legislators in the House and Senate to develop and analyze needed reforms to the EB-5 program.
Verification & Documentation Liaison Committee
The AILA Verification & Documentation Liaison Committee liaises with various DHS and DOJ components on issues involving employment verification (including E-Verify), I-9 documentation requirements, ICE enforcement efforts, OCAHO, and more. The committee meets regularly with ICE worksite enforcement, USCIS Verification Division, and the DOJ Office of Special Counsel.
ICE Liaison Committee
The AILA ICE Liaison Committee meets with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to discuss issues that relate to interior enforcement, detention policy and conditions, removal proceedings, and more. The committee meets telephonically on a regular basis, prepares practice pointers, monitors the AILA Message Center to spot issues, tracks trends based on AILA member experiences, provides comments to proposed ICE regulations, and maintains regular communication with ICE on urgent issues that arise throughout the year.
EOIR Liaison Committee
The AILA EOIR Liaison Committee meets with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to discuss policy issues that relate to removal proceedings before immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. The committee meets telephonically on a regular basis, prepares practice pointers, monitors the Message Center to spot issues, tracks trends based on AILA member experiences, provides comments on announcements or policy changes affecting individuals in removal proceedings, and communicates with EOIR on urgent issues that arise throughout the year.
CBP Liaison Committee
The AILA CBP Liaison Committee meets with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and hosts teleconferences with CBP Field Operations to discuss matters relating to the entry and departure of individuals from the U.S. The committee also prepares practice pointers, monitors the AILA Message Center to spot issues, provides comments to proposed CBP regulations and proposals, and tracks trends based on AILA member experiences.
DOL Liaison Committee
The AILA DOL Liaison Committee meets with the Department of Labor (DOL) to discuss policy issues and trends. The committee also monitors the Message Center to spot emerging issues, tracks problems with both PERM and iCERT, and records trends based on AILA member experiences.
DOS Liaison Committee
The AILA DOS Liaison Committee meets with the Department of State Visa Office (VO) to discuss issues relating to consular processing, including issues arising at the National Visa Center, and Kentucky Consular Center. The committee also meets regularly by telephone, prepares practice pointers, monitors the Message Center to spot issues, tracks trends based on AILA member experiences, provides comments to proposed federal regulations, and maintains regular communication with the VO on urgent issues that arise throughout the year.
Transformation Liaison Committee
The AILA Transformation Liaison Committee works with USCIS’s Office of Transformation Coordination on issues related to the ELIS and Transformation. The committee also prepares practice pointers, monitors the AILA Message Center to spot issues, provides comments to proposed regulations and proposals, and tracks trends based on AILA member experiences.
PROFESSIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEES
The AILA Amicus Committee vets requests for AILA to participate as amicus curiae in cases of national or regional importance to the immigration community. The committee generally prepares and files amicus briefs in cases that will set or impact precedent before the circuit courts of appeals, the Supreme Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Administrative Appeals Office, the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals, and other bodies. The committee meets telephonically throughout the year, during which each committee member reports on the status of active cases in their circuit to identify litigation trends, and highlight other relevant issues.
National Pro Bono Services Committee
The AILA National Pro Bono Services Committee works with AILA's Practice & Professionalism Center staff to develop, support, and grow AILA pro bono initiatives at the national and chapter level. This committee produces the AILA Pro Bono Newsletter on a quarterly basis, helps to plan the Annual Conference Pro Bono Clinic, and collaborates with the Liaison Department to comment on issues related to pro bono and non-profit providers.
ISSUE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES
Access to Counsel Taskforce
The AILA Access to Counsel Taskforce works to identify, analyze, and address the issues impacting a client’s right to counsel in immigration-related proceedings, including proceedings before DHS, DOJ, and DOS. The committee meets regularly by telephone; assists AILA liaison committees by drafting liaison meeting agenda questions on access to counsel issues; and provides comments to proposed federal regulations, memoranda, and other guidance.
Business Immigration Committee
The AILA Business Immigration Committee works to address business immigration needs and concerns through a variety of outlets. The committee works closely with national staff to provide analysis, ideas, and recommendations to members of Congress working on business immigration issues. The committee also provides recommendations to various government agencies on ways to improve business immigration matters. The Business Committee often coordinates with AILA Liaison committees in carrying out its mandate.
CBP Border Issues Taskforce (New for 2014-2015)
The AILA Border Issues Taskforce holds telephonic meetings to discuss issues that relate to issues along the Northern and Southern borders, including issues pertaining to Border Patrol actions, enforcement efforts between ports of entry, due process concerns, expedited removal, and CBP use of force. The committee coordinates with AILA agency liaison committees on border-related agenda items, helps to comment on proposed policies affecting these issues, and writes related practice pointers.
The AILA Athletics, Culture, Entertainment, and Science (ACES) Committee addresses issues and identifies trends that are unique to the processing of O and P nonimmigrant visas, and EB-1/EB-2 immigrant petitions for aliens of extraordinary and exceptional ability. The ACES Committee coordinates closely with the USCIS Benefits (HQ) Committee and SCOPS Committee in carrying out its mandate.
Health Care Professionals/Physicians Committee
The AILA Healthcare Professionals/Physicians Committee works on issues unique to foreign-born physicians and other healthcare professionals. The committee assists various AILA committees by writing agenda items for upcoming meetings with government agencies, including the Waiver Review Division (WRD) of DOS. The committee also accepts WRD case inquiries, creates practice pointers, and provides support to attorneys who file petitions and applications for healthcare professionals.
The AILA SSA/DMV/SAVE Taskforce focuses on issues impacting the provision of non-immigration benefits to the immigrant community, with a particular focus on social security and drivers licenses. In addition to liaising with representatives from SSA and DMV, the committee also assists other AILA liaison committees on cross-agency issues, and provides input on relevant agenda items, proposed federal regulations, and USCIS memoranda where appropriate.
Student & Scholars Committee
The AILA Student and Scholars Committee works on issues affecting international students and scholars, including F, J, and M visas, SEVIS, PDSO, DSO, RO, ARO, change of status applications, and more. The committee assists AILA committees by preparing agenda items for meetings with government agencies, provides comments on proposed regulations and policy changes affecting international students, and drafts topical practice pointers.
LGBT Immigration Issues Working Group
The AILA Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Working Group follows emerging issues related to the LGBT immigrant community and prepares practice pointers and alerts to assist AILA members who represent LGBT clients. The working group also provides comments to proposed federal regulations and USCIS memoranda.
AILA MAP Task Force
The AILA MAP Task Force assists in guiding and evaluating the mission and program goals of the AILA Military Assistance Program (MAP). MAP supports the morale, welfare, and readiness of our country's Armed Services personnel and their families by providing pro bono immigration legal assistance. The AILA MAP Task Force helps develop and implement improvements to the program's design, volunteer involvement, and service delivery.
Media Advocacy Committee
Members of the AILA Media Advocacy Committee serve as national spokespeople for AILA on their specific areas of expertise. The committee promotes AILA's mission to advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, primarily through informing the public with media outreach. The committee establishes relationships with reporters, contributes to AILA's Leadership Blog, and provides input to the development of video news releases, educational videos, and print and radio public service announcements. The committee also assists in drafting talking points, resource guides, and other educational tools that help AILA members stay current on issues of national importance.
Annual Conference Committee
The Annual Conference Committee is a large committee that works in sub-groups to develop the Annual Conference program for the coming year. The committee reviews topic submissions, creates panels, and selects speakers. Most of this committee's work takes place during the summer - starting at the Annual Conference - and continues into the early fall.
Fall Conference Committee
The Fall Conference Committee works to develop the Fall Conference, which is held in conjunction with the Fall Board of Governors meeting and focuses on a specific theme or area of immigration law practice. The committee works with AILA staff to develop the theme of this conference, as well as its specific content. Attendance at this meeting is not required but is encouraged.
Topics Conference Committees
The Topics Conference Committees develops a two-day program on the fundamentals of immigration law geared toward newer practitioners.
Distance Learning Committee
The Distance Learning Committee focuses on developing the programs for AILA's 90 minute audio and web seminar programs held generally on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the year. The committee drafts the program topics and selects speakers for over 65 seminars and approximately 15-20 podcasts.
Midyear Conference Committee
The Midyear Conference Committee works on developing the Midyear Conference, which is held at an international location in conjunction with the Midyear Board of Governors meeting. The committee works with AILA staff to develop the theme and content of the conference. Attendance at this meeting is encouraged, but not required.
Spring Conference Committee
The Spring Conference Committee is comprised of the chairs of each AILA liaison committee that focuses on a major government agency or component, including USCIS, DOL, DOS, CBP, EOIR, and ICE. The chairs work together to develop an agenda that focuses on the latest government agency updates and issues.
EDUCATION AND INFORMATION COMMITTEES
Board of Publications
The Board of Publications is a working group of members who are produce articles for various periodicals and publications throughout the year and serve as peer reviewers of other submissions. Members are expected to submit individual articles or work together to produce content for VOICE and/or Inside Immigration Monographs, among other publications. Opportunities to serve as an editor on or submit an article for a book may also arise. Each member is expected to contribute, either through peer review or writing, at least once during the term.
ETHICS, PROFESSIONALISM, AND MEMBER SERVICES COMMITTEES
The Ethics Committee is a newly restructured committee that collaborates with AILA's Practice & Professionalism Center to provide substantive materials and resources on legal ethics issues AILA members face in today's immigration law practice. The committee works to improve accessibility to this member benefit and produces materials for AILA conferences and across multiple media platforms.
Practice Management Committee
This newly restructured committee collaborates to provide substantive content and materials on practice management issues, including marketing, finance, technology, and firm management. In conjunction with AILA's Practice & Professionalism Center, the committee develops resources designed to enhance/improve practice management and the overall delivery of legal services to the public. The committee works to improve accessibility to this member benefit and produces materials across multiple media platforms and for AILA conferences.
Consumer Protection & UPL Action Committee
The Consumer Protection and UPL Action Committee creates resources for and provides accessible avenues for redress to victims of the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL), as well as attorneys who are confronted with instances of notario fraud. The committee works to foster a national relationship with federal agencies to collaborate on targeted efforts to stop immigration scams, and provides support to local chapters on the coordination of pro bono clinics and educational events.
The Membership Committee reviews membership dues and eligibility waivers and makes recommendations to the Executive Committee. The committee works on all membership related issues or special projects that may be assigned by the Executive Committee. The committee meets as needed, usually 2-3 times per year via conference call.
Law Student Outreach Committee (New for 2014-2015)
The AILA Law Student Outreach Committee oversees the planning and development of AILA law student member programs, resources, and events at the national level; including the law student e-newsletter, podcasts, mentor directory, and summer intern matching program. The committee also works in conjunction with AILA chapter liaisons to plan programs and events at the local level.
FINANCE AND OPERATIONS COMMITTEES
The Finance Committee is responsible for engaging and directing AILA's audit firm on behalf of the Board of Governors, reviewing the audited financial statements annually, reviewing financial conflicts of interest, and monitoring AILA's financial policies and reporting. The committee meets telephonically 8 to 10 times per year and has one in-person meeting with AILA's audit firm during the Spring Conference. Attendance at the in-person meeting is not mandatory. Prior financial experience is not required, but committee members should be committed to reviewing AILA's financial reports and policies and providing input.
The Investment Committee is responsible for maintaining AILA's investment policy, monitoring the compliance of the investment portfolio with policy, and monitoring the performance of the portfolio and the investment consultants. The committee meets quarterly by teleconference, although impromptu meetings may be called by the chair in times of market volatility. Experience with investments and financial markets is helpful, but not necessary.
The Bylaws Committee reviews bylaws issues, including bylaws interpretation, that may arise throughout the year. The committee also assists with the drafting of new bylaws language in the event of a bylaws amendment.
New Member Division Steering Committee
The AILA New Members Division (NMD) Steering Committee oversees the planning and development of AILA New Members Division programs, resources, and events at the national level; including the NMD e-newsletter, podcasts, and practice advisories. The committee also works in conjunction with AILA chapter liaisons to plan programs and events at the local level and serves as mentors to chapter liaisons aspiring for leadership roles within the organization.
Litigation Section Steering Committee
The Litigation Section Steering Committee oversees the growth of the litigation section and provides litigators with a structured forum and means to share ideas and information and receive mentorship to improve their litigation knowledge and skills. The committee works to create programs and activities designed to assist members in providing the best representation for their clients, as well as providing networking opportunities for members in the area of federal litigation. The committee is responsible for selecting topics and setting agendas for section conference calls; recommending topics, discussion points, and speakers for seminars and podcasts; providing consulting expertise on federal litigation track at Annual Conference and FCLS Conference; and assisting with planning in-person networking opportunities at AILA events.
Global Migration Section Steering Committee
The Global Migration Section Steering Committee nurtures the growth of the global migration section and provides global practitioners with a structured forum and means to share ideas and information. The committee oversees the development of programs and activities designed to assist members in providing the best representation for their clients, as well as providing networking opportunities for practitioners around the world. The committee is responsible for encouraging the development of section conference calls, the Global Migration Digest, the GMS International Lawyer List, and planning of the Annual Global Forum.