AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Presents Sarah Owings and Ruby Powers with the 2017 Advocacy Award

6/19/17 AILA Doc. No. 17061905.
George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will recognize Sarah Weston Hayes Owings, of Atlanta, GA, and Ruby Lichte Powers, of Houston, TX, with the 2017 Advocacy Award for outstanding efforts in support of AILA's legislative agenda. They will accept their awards this week during AILA's Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA.

The first awardee, Sarah Weston Hayes Owings focuses primarily on removal defense. A Georgia State University College of Law graduate, Ms. Owings began practicing immigration law in 2007 and has been actively involved in AILA for her entire legal career. Ms. Owings was the Chapter Chair of the Georgia-Alabama Chapter of AILA for the 2016-2017 term and made it her mission to increase the capacity for immigration advocacy in Georgia, a historically problematic jurisdiction. Ms. Owings planned chapter activities that strengthened members' ability to be the voice of experience regarding immigration law and policy. She worked to increase collaboration with local and regional stakeholders and assisted in the creation of Atlanta's Center of Excellence, designed to improve asylum outcomes by teaching and supporting aggressive representation before hostile immigration courts. In December 2016, she testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, arguing that the United States is failing to uphold its international obligations by denying due process to asylum seekers. She also took part in the strategic planning of the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, a collaboration that will allow for pro bono representation of detained immigrants at the Stewart Detention Center. Additionally, she championed meaningful involvement in combatting anti-immigrant state legislation.

The second awardee, Ruby L. Powers, is the founder of Powers Law Group, P.C., a three-attorney firm based in Houston focusing on immigration law including waivers of inadmissibility, asylum, deportation, and family-based and employment-based immigration. As the AILA Texas Chapter Advocacy Chair/Co-Chair 2014-2017, she has energized the chapter and helped engage and strengthen networks in Texas and at the national level through active participation in AILA's National Day of Action. A University of North Carolina School of Law graduate, she is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, one of 164 such attorneys in Texas. She majored in government at the University of Texas at Austin and later interned for a U.S. Senator in Austin and Washington, DC. She worked for the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Homeland Security from 2002-2004.


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.