AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Elects New Officers for 2018-2019

6/14/18 AILA Doc. No. 18061430.
George Tzamaras
Belle Woods


Thursday, June 14, 2018


AILA Elects New Officers

Anastasia Tonello to serve as president of association

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today elected new officers to its Executive Committee for the 2018-2019 term. The election results were announced at the official membership meeting during AILA's Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA. Anastasia Tonello was installed as AILA's President and the following officers were elected today: Marketa Lindt as President-Elect, Jennifer Minear as First Vice President, Allen Orr as Second Vice President, Jeremy McKinney as Treasurer, and Farshad Owji as Secretary.

Anastasia Tonello Installed as President of AILA

Anastasia Tonello, an immigration lawyer from New York, NY, was installed as the association's President for the 2018-2019 term. Ms. Tonello is Managing Partner of Laura Devine Attorneys in New York and is also a Partner of Laura Devine Solicitors in London. She was a charter member and officer of AILA's Rome District Chapter - Europe, Middle East, and Africa (RDC-EMEA) and served as the Chair of AILA's Department of State Committee.

Having spent the first decade of her career practicing U.S. law as an immigrant in London, Ms. Tonello has experienced many of the issues and obstacles immigrants in this country encounter-both personally and professionally.

Ms. Tonello joined AILA as a member in 1999. She is a frequent speaker on immigration issues, having spoken at professional conferences, the world's leading business schools in the U.S. and abroad, and in the media. She has been recognized in Who's Who Legal, Legal 500 (UK and US), Chambers (UK, Global and USA), SuperLawyers and Best Lawyers.

She received her B.A. from Indiana University and her J.D. from the University of Notre Dame.

Ms. Tonello is active on social media; her Twitter handle is @anastasianylon.

Marketa Lindt Elected President-Elect of AILA

Marketa Lindt, an immigration attorney from Chicago, IL, was elected as the association's President-Elect for the 2018-2019 term. Ms. Lindt is a partner at the Chicago office of Sidley Austin LLP, where she works with U.S. and multinational corporations to manage their business immigration visa programs to best attract and retain foreign national talent. She also leads her firm's I-9 compliance practice, where she assists employers with implementing best practices for worker verification, advises companies on immigration-related issues in mergers and acquisitions, and defends companies in administrative and criminal immigration-related proceedings.

In addition to her work in representing U.S. companies, Ms. Lindt is actively engaged in AILA and other networks, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to advocate for change in our immigration laws to better serve U.S. employers and immigrant communities. Ms. Lindt has also worked for a number of years in AILA's government liaison efforts to advocate for reasonable interpretations of the immigration laws.

Ms. Lindt has authored numerous articles for leading immigration texts, including AILA's Guide to Worksite Enforcement and Compliance, the Guide to PERM Labor Certification, and numerous annual editions of the Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook. She is a primary author of the immigration law and practice treatise Business Immigration Law - Strategies for Employing Foreign Nationals and has appeared a number of times on television, radio and in print regarding developments in immigration law.

Beyond her service to her clients and the immigration bar, Ms. Lindt is committed to pro bono work and providing access to counsel for underserved immigrants. For a number of years, she has served as a member of the Leadership Board of the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago. She also serves in an advisory capacity to several Chicago-area cultural institutions and to organizations that provide assistance to underserved immigrant communities.

Ms. Lindt is engaged on social media; her Twitter handle is @marketalindt.

Jennifer Minear Named First Vice President of AILA

Jennifer Minear, an immigration lawyer from Richmond, VA, was elected as the association's First Vice President for the 2018-2019 term.

Ms. Minear is a director in the Immigration Practice Group at McCandlish Holton in Richmond, VA, where her practice focuses on employment-based immigration, with a particular emphasis on the healthcare sector, including J-1 waiver and green card processing for foreign medical graduates.

She is the 2014 recipient of the Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award, in recognition of her outstanding service over a period of years in advancing the mission, development, and value of AILA for its members and the public it serves. Ms. Minear has served AILA as a volunteer in a wide range of capacities. She has been a member of, or chaired, liaison committees and conference program committees, spoken at numerous AILA conferences, and written for AILA publications. She was an elected member of the AILA Board of Governors from 2012 - 2015.

Ms. Minear received her B.A. from the University of Maryland and graduated cum laude from Cornell Law School. Her Twitter handle is @jenniferminear.

Allen Orr Named Second Vice President of AILA

Allen Orr, an immigration attorney from Washington, D.C., was elected as the association's Second Vice President for the 2018-2019 term.

Mr. Orr is the founder of Orr Immigration Law Firm PC, a minority-owned law firm based in Washington, D.C., focusing on U.S. corporate compliance as well as global corporate representation and assistance on immigration issues. He previously assisted in building one of the leading global immigration practices at a large global law firm, where he developed an international network of immigration practitioners, government officials and business leaders. Mr. Orr managed an I-9 compliance audit for a Fortune 10 company, which involved review and analysis of all immigration records relating to 250,000 employees. He met with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding the implementation of proposed immigration laws, such as the current U.S. labor certification system.

The recipient of the 2009 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award for contributions made in the immigration law field from AILA, Mr. Orr is listed in The International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers and The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers. He has served as the Immigration Section Chair for the National Bar Association and as an elected member of the AILA Board of Governors.

Mr. Orr is a frequent speaker on U.S. and global emerging business immigration issues. He is a Senior Editor of the Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook and an Associate Editor of AILA's Global Immigration Guide: A Country-by-Country Survey, April 2005.

Mr. Orr received a BA in Philosophy from Morehouse College and a JD from Howard University's School of Law. He is an active member of the D.C., Virginia, and National Bar Associations. His Twitter handle is @allenorresq.

Jeremy McKinney Named Treasurer of AILA

Jeremy L. McKinney, an immigration attorney from Greensboro, NC, was elected as the association's Treasurer for the 2018 - 2019 term.

Mr. McKinney has lived and worked in Greensboro for over twenty years, having founded McKinney Immigration Law firm, with offices in Greensboro, Wilmington, and Asheville. He is a North Carolina Board Certified Immigration Law Specialist and is admitted to practice law in North Carolina, the Middle, Eastern, and Western District Courts of North Carolina, along with the Fourth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He has proudly been an AILA member since 1997. During that time, Mr. McKinney has served various leadership roles including Secretary, Elected Director, Chair of AILA's Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) liaison committees, and Chair of the AILA Carolinas Chapter.

Mr. McKinney graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1993 and later received his Juris Doctorate from Campbell University School of Law in 1996. He has previously taught Immigration Law at Elon University School of Law as an Adjunct Professor, and served on the North Carolina State Bar's Specialization Committee.

He and his wife, Cynthia Ligon McKinney have been married 21 years, and are parents to Ethan, 17, and Sophia, 15. Mr. McKinney is active on Twitter; his handle is @McKJeremy.

Farshad Owji Elected Secretary of AILA

Farshad Owji, an immigration attorney whose practice is based in San Francisco, California, was elected as the association's Secretary for the 2018-2019 term. Mr. Owji is the managing attorney of Owji Law Group, a boutique firm in the Jackson Square historic district of downtown San Francisco that specializes in business immigration as well as family-based cases and removal defense. Mr. Owji's areas of expertise include investment visas, consular processing of family- and employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and business litigation. Specifically, he guides start-up companies to make intelligent immigration decisions for a firm's establishment and successful growth in the U.S.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Mr. Owji received a law degree from Ankara University in 1994, and directly after law school, accepted an internship, and soon after a position, at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Branch Office in Ankara, Turkey. Later he obtained his J.D. and LL.M. from University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 2000. Mr. Owji held a position as Senior International Associate at Deloitte, LLP and in 2002, he opened his immigration practice in the Financial District of San Francisco.

Mr. Owji is a current member of the Florida, Minnesota, and District of Columbia bars, as well as the Istanbul Bar Association in Turkey. He is also admitted to practice before the Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Federal Court for the Middle District of Florida. He was previously the AILA Northern California Chapter Chair and the Asylum and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) liaison, and currently serves as a member of both the AILA National Department of State Liaison Committee and the Future of Immigration Law Task Force. Mr. Owji is also an elected member of AILA's Board of Governors.


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.