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About AILA

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is the national bar association of attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit, voluntary bar association that provides continuing legal education, professional services, information, and expertise to more than 16,000 members through our 39 chapters and 50+ national committees.

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Since our founding in 1946, AILA has worked to enhance the professional development of our members, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, and promote justice.

Our Members

AILA members are part of a diverse and dynamic community that shares resources and information and advocates for immigration laws that make our communities and our country a better place. Members also help support AILA’s mission 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 our members.

Our members include lawyers, professors, international associates, and law students. They represent a wide variety of clients, including U.S. families seeking permanent residence for close family members, as well as U.S. businesses seeking talent from the global marketplace. AILA members also represent foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis.

Our Strategic Goals

  1. Increase member participation in advocacy before Congress, the Judiciary, the Federal Agencies, and the media, for immigration-related interests of our clients and society by:
    • Educating the public about the ways in which U.S. immigration law and policy serves the national interest by reuniting American families, protecting refugees, and providing U.S. employers with the specialized skills they need to remain globally competitive.
    • Enhancing respect for immigration law, and professional recognition of immigration lawyers, by government, the bar, and society.
    • Supporting the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center and educational programming.
    • Increasing the level of knowledge and professionalism, and fostering the professional responsibility, of our members.
  2. Enhance the litigation capabilities of the membership as an important option to ensure the just administration of our immigration laws by:
    • Assisting members in effectively and competently pursuing their law practice and enhancing their professional satisfaction.
    • Advancing the protection of the public by promoting consumer protection and authorized representation.
    • Promoting and supporting delivery of competent, ethical, and lawful immigration services by lawyers, authorized accredited representatives, and pro bono programs.
    • Encouraging and facilitating member participation in, and support for, pro bono services and programs.

Our History

AILA, originally called the Association of Immigration and Nationality Lawyers, was founded on October 14, 1946, by a group of 19 immigration lawyers and professionals in Manhattan. Twelve of the founders had recently worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service and recognized a need for a bar association devoted to representing immigrants in the United States.

The association’s certificate of incorporation was filed in New York on November 22, 1946, and Josh Koenigsberg became the organization’s first president. Gaspare Cusumano served as vice president, Anita Streep as secretary, and Daniel Caputi as treasurer.

AILA’s founders were deeply concerned with promoting the just administration and reform of immigration law in the United States. They also sought to elevate the professional standing and reputation of immigration practitioners appearing before the Immigration Service, as well as to enhance the spirit of community among immigration law practitioners.

Leadership and Governance

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Find information about AILA’s leadership and governance structure, including AILA’s Executive Committee, Board of Governors, elections, bylaws, and policies.


National Office and Staff

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Learn about the work of AILA’s National Office in Washington, D.C., and find contact information for staff.


Sponsors and Supporters

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Find out how you can become an AILA supporter or sponsor.