AILA Presents Kathleen M. Vannucci and Sandra Feist with the 2016 Advocacy Award

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will award Kathleen M. Vannucci of Chicago, IL, and Sandra Feist, of Minneapolis, MN, with the 2016 Advocacy Award for outstanding efforts in support of AILA's legislative agenda. Ms. Vannucci and Ms. Feist will accept their awards this week during AILA's Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

The first awardee, Ms. Vannucci, currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee for the AILA Chicago Chapter and as a member of the chapter's ICE-ERO Committee. Her work focuses on family-based immigration, removal defense, and humanitarian immigration benefits. She was integrally involved in the successful participation of the Chicago chapter in AILA's National Day of Action this year. As part of her commitment to pro bono work, she served as a coordinator for the AILA Chicago Remote Bond Team that provided assistance for the detained women and children in Dilley, Texas, and continues to volunteer on a weekly basis in preparing and filing bond motions. In 2015, Ms. Vannucci was recognized by AILA as a Michael Maggio Pro Bono Honoree for her dedicated efforts to promote justice and provide access to counsel and her proven tenacity in the fight to end family detention.

The second awardee, Ms. Feist, served as AILA Minnesota-Dakotas Chapter Chair for the 2015-16 term and made advocacy efforts her highest priority. She led her chapter in a multi-faceted approach that included direct lobbying, speaking out through collective action, and cultivating contacts with print and electronic media outlets. The chapter leadership met with Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, as well as Minnesota Representatives Keith Ellison and Tim Walz, and with Ramsey County Sherriff Matt Bostrom. Throughout the past year, Ms. Feist mobilized her chapter to react and respond when Congress attempted to pass punitive, anti-immigration measures. Ms. Feist also personally accepted a remote CARA Pro Bono Project case and with her urging and assistance, the Project also recruited a number of dedicated volunteers from her chapter who took on time-sensitive cases of detained mothers.

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. 16062030.