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American Immigration Lawyers Association

Southern California Chapter

Founded in 1946, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is a national bar association of attorneys who practice and teach immigration law. AILA Member attorneys represent tens of thousands of U.S. businesses and industries, foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis. AILA is an Affiliated Organization of the American Bar Association. 

The Southern California Chapter represents over 1050 member attorneys in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties. Our chapter maintains close contact with the government officials who have an important impact on our clients' lives. Chapter meetings feature prominent guest speakers from the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Justice, and Labor, and the Chapter is active in liaison and advocacy efforts. We are happy to share the latest updates with AILA members nationwide.

Executive Board 2014/2015 Term:

From left, Secretary Blake Miller, Chair Heather L. Poole, Treasurer Maggie Castillo, and Vice Chair Genevieve Kovacs-Perez

Officers:

Chair: Heather L. Poole, Esq.  of HEATHER L POOLE, PC, Prof. Law Corp. (Pasadena)

Vice Chair: Genevieve Kovacs Perez, Esq. of Law Offices of Genevieve Kovacs Perez (Los Angeles)

Treasurer: Maggie Castillo, Esq. of Law Offices of Gregory W. Moreno & Associates (Montebello)

Secretary: Blake Miller, Esq. of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Lowey, LLP (Irvine) 

Visit our Officers page for contact information.


Breaking News: 

Press Release 11.21.2014 

Immigration Lawyers Welcome President's Action, Caution Community Against Scammers


LOS ANGELES, CA- The Southern California chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomed President Obama's executive action which will offer some protections for vulnerable members of the community.

"This plan is a long time in coming," said AILA Chapter Chair Heather L. Poole. She continued, "As immigration attorneys, we see the results of our broken system every day and in the absence of Congressional action, the President had to act. While a lot of the details are still waiting to be filled in, we know that many of these changes will make a real impact.” . . . . 

Included in the far-ranging plan are some key items:

• Deferred Action for the parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children who have no criminal background and have been residing in the US for at least five years. This new measure would provide temporary relief from removal for these individuals - keeping families together and providing work authorization that will lead to more taxes being paid and a boost to the local and national economy.

• Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to remove the age cap and move the continuous presence date up to January 1, 2010. DACA will now be granted for 3 years (including those with pending renewal applications).

• Allowing spouses and children of lawful permanent residents to apply for unlawful presence waivers from within the U.S. and ensuring appropriate standards for adjudicating those waivers.

• Enabling families of individuals trying to enlist in the armed forces to utilize parole in place to ensure legal status.

• Changing the procedures for adjustment of status to allow legal immigrants caught in the immigration quota backlogs to register their applications and thus begin the final step of the process.

The chapter is extremely concerned that many immigrants will be taken advantage of by notarios and unlicensed operators – immigration consultants, document preparers, and paralegals who see a money-making opportunity, despite the potential damage that can be done by giving the wrong legal advice and taking money out of the pockets of the most vulnerable when no relief is available.

Chapter Chair Heather L. Poole concluded, “As lawyers, we see the havoc wreaked by unlicensed notarios and immigration consultants who are practicing law without a license. Immigration law is a lot more complicated than the public thinks – it’s not about just filling out forms. Immigration law is unforgiving – one small mistake and your chances of relief can be destroyed forever. Stay away from these individuals and watch out for scams. The reality is that no new application forms are available yet and the guidelines that will determine eligibility are not yet finalized. There is nothing to apply for yet. Watch out for scammers who promise eligibility now. Don't let someone ruin your chances for possible benefit; seek qualified counsel for these important decisions."

Read the Entire Press Release Here

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Breaking News:

 So Ca AILA Addresses Due Process Violations in 
Immigration Court Hearing Notifications 
7.28.2014 



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 Breaking News:

So Ca AILA Teams with LA County Bar's Legal Assistance Project to Host Training for Pro Bono Attorneys Willing to Assist Unaccompanied Minors in Humanitarian Crisis 
7.31.2014

In this packed training, AILA and LACBA volunteer attorneys will be trained on potential remedies available to Unaccompanied Children who have fled from their home country in this humanitarian crisis.The training, set for Friday, August 1, 2014 at LACBA's Headquarters in Los Angeles, is currently at max capacity. We encourage future volunteer attorneys to attend Catholic Charities - Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project's  Upcoming Asylum training set for August 15th

Press Release by  President pro Tem of the CA State Senate Darrell Steinberg's office about the training

For any other questions about volunteering, please contact us at Coordinator@socalaila.org



Benefits to So Ca AILA Membership

  • Monthly Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Programs for Immigration Lawyers on Cutting Edge Developments

  • Free Introductory CLE Programs for New Members and Those New to Immigration Law 

  • Access to Liaisons for Inquiries on Problem Cases (for a variety of areas including CIS Service Centers, CIS Field and Asylum Offices, Customs & Border Protection, ICE, and the Immigration Courts) 
  • Social Events: Receptions, Ski CLE Conference (the only one in AILA!)
  • Benefits for Future Lawyers - AILA Law MembersExposure to Immigration Practice and Employers 

  • Benefits for your downtime: Glen Ivy Massage Discounts, City Club of Los Angeles Special Membership Rates, and more!
  • 5th Grade Reading Contest
    5th Grade Reading Contest - Every year AILA Hosts an Awards Banquet for Student Awardees Who Submitted Essays on a Topic Embracing the American Dream. 
    State of the District
    "The State of the District" Meeting with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Los Angeles Field Office, an annual meeting with all the local CIS offices for our local AILA members
    Chirla Fundraiser 2013
    CHIRLA 2013 Fundraiser: Past Chair Cynthia Lucas with Robert Jacobs, Esq., an AILA member, and his spouse. AILA So Ca is an active part of the local community, often sponsoring fundraisers to promote immigration assistance to low-income or under-served communities.