AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Presents Palma Yanni with the 2023 Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award

6/16/23 AILA Doc. No. 23061501.

Friday, June 16, 2023

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recognizes Palma Yanni with the 2023 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.

Her nominators described the outsize impact she has had on AILA over her years of service, as president, as board member, and as mentor, additionally noting her “work in the areas of finance, governance and leadership, and member relations has, over many years, contributed to AILA’s success and laid the groundwork for future longevity and achievement.” She is lauded for “kicking open doors” and ensuring AILA membership and leadership are inclusive.

Palma Yanni discovered immigration law with passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. She became very active in AILA writing articles and speaking at conferences after the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990, which fundamentally changed immigration law, and has continued as a frequent author, editor, and presenter. She has served on innumerable AILA committees including liaison, conference planning, as well as bylaws, finance, governance, and membership. She has been a member of AILA’s Board of Governors from 1996 to the present (Emeritus after 2010) and served as AILA’s 2003-2004 President. She was a founding member of the American Immigration Law Foundation (now American Immigration Council)'s Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2002 and served on its Board of Directors from 2002 to 2005. She was recognized with AILA’s 2008 Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award for Excellence in Advancing the Practice of Immigration Law.

Ms. Yanni has a wide-ranging solo practice representing large and small businesses as well as individuals in employment and family-based immigration matters. She works with corporations in employment verification and work site enforcement matters, as well as with individuals on family-based applications and naturalization. One of the country's leading practitioners representing employees of international organizations and their dependents, she also handles matters involving physicians, scientific researchers, immigrant and non-immigrant investors, educators, athletes, entrepreneurs, ministers and religious workers, employees of international organizations and their dependents, skilled and essential workers, and students.

Ms. Yanni was born in Philadelphia and raised in Allentown, the third of seven siblings. Ms. Yanni graduated from Mount Holyoke College and then Northwestern Law School.

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.