AILA Presents Mary E. Kramer with the 2015 Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award

Advocacy Award

Saturday, June 20, 2015

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will award Mary E. Kramer, of Miami, FL, with the 2015 Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award for excellence in advancing the practice of immigration law. She will receive the award today during AILA's Annual Conference in National Harbor, MD.

Mary Kramer has been in private practice in Miami, Florida for almost 25 years. The publication she is best known for is Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity: A Guide to Representing Foreign-Born Defendants. Now in its sixth edition, the book represents the culmination of Ms. Kramer's writing and speaking at seminars and conferences on various criminal-immigration topics, as well as her work with immigration clients and criminal defense attorneys. She was driven to write the book after hearing that many immigration clients made bad plea deals that with just a little tweaking could have saved a non-citizen from mandatory detention and deportation.

Through her writing, litigation, mentoring, speaking, and public service, Ms. Kramer has touched the lives of a multitude of advocates and immigrants. As an educator, she has an incredible schedule, constantly training the immigration bar, speaking at dozens of national and regional CLE conferences and webinars each year to high acclaim.

As a leader, she is a past president of the South Florida Chapter and has served on the South Florida Board of Directors for two decades. She is an active member in AILA liaison efforts, this year on the Department of State Liaison Committee and previously as a Chair of the ICE Liaison Committee. She served as chapter ERO Liaison Chair for many years, and has also worked hard on the chapter's Department of Motor Vehicle Committee. She has years of other committee service and serves as the unofficial leader of the South Florida Litigation Committee.

Ms. Kramer co-led the Stewart (GA) Detention Facility Taskforce, bringing together the four southeastern AILA Chapters for inter-agency liaison aimed at reforming the practices and standards at the facility. She also co-conceived an 11th Circuit litigation network, bringing together the Central Florida and South Florida Chapters at CLE conferences to develop common litigation strategy, and developing ties to the Georgia and Carolinas Chapters for advocacy in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

She has litigated cases before the BIA and the Eleventh Circuit, including co-counseling Matter of Kanga and Lanier v. U.S. Attorney General. She has provided and organized litigation support to colleagues, including amicus support, research and writing, in several important cases before the Eleventh Circuit.

In her "free" time, Mary serves as President of Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami, Inc., noted for its progressive work in immigration cases presenting mental incompetency and the representation of children. She and her now-departed colleague, Alsy Lomangino, received the Department of Justice Pro Bono Award in 2001 for establishing an AILA South Florida pro bono project. Following the Supreme Court's decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, Ms. Kramer travelled to various cities to teach immigration law to criminal defense lawyers for the Federal Public Defenders Office.

She tirelessly mentors other attorneys, whether experienced or beginner. A kind, down-to-earth, warm, and hilarious person, she is now training a second generation of aggressive litigators, who would all agree that her piercing Wisconsin accent has seared into their very essence both the nuances of the bedeviling "categorical approach" and the code of a defense attorney to creatively, zealously, and tirelessly fight for justice.

Immigration law is very important to Ms. Kramer. But it's not the most important thing in her life; her friends and family are. She acknowledges her parents, Don and Betty Kramer, for nourishing a sense of volunteerism, integrity, and compassion for the less fortunate and especially thanks and acknowledges her husband of 25 years, Jose Alvarez, who has always encouraged her. A great father, his time with the children gave her the opportunity to work on projects, like the book and committees. Yes, she gives a "shout out" to her amazing kids, Jose William and Elizabeth "Liz" Alvarez, who are so very dear to her and of whom she is very proud.

For her tireless energy, enthusiasm, and guidance over decades of intensive work, AILA is honored to present Ms. Kramer with the 2015 Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award for excellence in advancing the practice of immigration law.


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.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15062095.