Friday, March 18, 2011

It's Good to Be an Immigration Lawyer

Last Friday was a great day. That evening, I rode the Amtrak from Portland to Seattle, heading back from the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Northwest Conference, newly invigorated from two days of classes crammed with the latest immigration law information. AILA conferences are truly a must for immigration lawyers who need to stay up-to-date on constantly changing and complex laws, policies, and practices. I attended the family-based immigration classes, which covered a wide array of topics, such as the latest in waivers and consular processing, international adoption, asylum and cancellation of removal.

David Leopold, president of AILA, gave a rousing speech during the conference lunch on Friday that was a call to arms for immigration attorneys and anyone who believes in protecting and fighting for the rights of immigrants to lobby for real immigration reform that is about actual solutions—not merely more enforcement. There was also promising mention of the so-called “Utah Solution,” which is a compromise plan that might pave the way for positive federal reform. One of the most effective things advocates can do, David suggested, is to talk around the dinner table, and to neighbors and friends about the need for solution-based reform since so many people, voters and politicians alike, simply don’t understand how existing immigration laws work, or, more accurately, don’t work.

The conference made me proud to be part of a knowledgeable group of lawyers from both the nonprofit and for-profit sector who are truly dedicated to working together to help unite families and make it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to help build our economy. It only reaffirmed my feeling lately that I have found my calling.