AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATIONANNUAL CONFERENCE- AILA 2006 

Santosh Giri 

SESSIONS/EVENTS ATTENDEDWednesday5:00 PM- 8:30 PM RegistrationThursday9:00 AM- 10:00 AM Keynote Address10:00 AM- 11:00AM Agencies that Affect Immigration Lawyers11:00AM- 12:20 PM NIV Overview-Key Concepts1:00PM- 2:00 PM AILA Infonet Training/Searching2:00 PM – 3:20 PM Cutting Edge Issues in Asylum3:30PM-4:30 PM AILA Infonet Training/Basics7:30 PM- 10:00 PMPub CrawlFriday8:00 AM-9:15 AM Preparing I-129 petitions for Nonimmigrant Workers9:30 AM- 10:45 AM Non-employment based Immigrant Visas10:05 AM- 11:20 AM Athletes, Entertainers and Artists (Os & Ps)12:00 PM- 2:00 PM AILA Indian Sub-continent Interest Group Meeting2:00 PM-3:20 PM Consequences of Criminal Conduct3:00 PM- 4:15 PM Nuts and Bolts of PERM Application4:30 PM- 5:20 PM PERM StrategiesSaturday9:00 AM- 9:50 AM Study break: Keeping F-1 and M-1 students in Status10:00 AM- 10:55 AM L-1B-What’s so special About you?2:00 PM- 5:15 PM PERM workshop9:00 PM- 12:00 AM AILA Saturday Night Party 

  1. Agencies that Affect Immigration Lawyers

The session clarified about different agencies involved in the Immigration law and those which affect immigration lawyers. History of USCIS/DHS was explained and the transformations made so far. The most useful part about the session was about the website www.uscis.gov consisting of USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual-Redacted, Affirmative Asylum Procedures, and Handbook for Employers, NAFTA Handbook etc. The panelists explained about different service centers and the proper venues to file USCIS forms. The session briefly described about the E-filing procedures through the USCIS website.  

The other panelist from DOL explained about the embassies, consulates and their procedures. This session also explained about the visa bulletin, visa waiting times and the forms available online. Any comments, complaints and suggestions about different consulates can be sent to Legalnet@state.gov to override consul’s decisions, according to DOL representative. This was explained when number of participants complained about applicants being treated unfairly at different consulates abroad. Other panelists explained about LCA filing in Atlanta and Chicago, ETA, PERM, IRS, EIN, ITIN etc. 

  1. NIV Overview-Key Concepts

The session distinguished between a visa and a status e.g. period mentioned in the visa and status according to I-94. It also explained about the visa waiver program in 27 countries. Failure to maintain status and consequences were also explained. This session also described the difference between change of status and adjustment of status. This session also mentioned about B1/B2 entry to US and change of status in brief. Ten helpful hypotheses were presented before the panelists and explained in details.  

  1. AILA Infonet Training/Searching

The AILA Infonet Training/Searching provided me with an insight into the AILA resource regarding cases, memos etc. The site was user friendly and the instructor insisted that we should attend all three sessions being provided in the conference. 

  1. Cutting Edge Issues in Asylum

I attended this session to get an overview and general understanding of the asylum law and procedures in the US. The session was very informative in terms of red flags to be kept in mind as well as proper documentation of the case. The instructors were very much informative and provided clear information on each and every aspect of the Asylum law even though they only focused on South American Asylum and refugee matters. My expectation was about the South Asian asylees and their concerns. This session was more of a personal interest for me because of an Asylum related Research I had done. Asylum for social groups, gender, children and family was also explained.  

  1. AILA Infonet Training/Basics

This session was a basic level of training on AILA Infonet that I had attended earlier. The session was fruitful in terms of understanding the complex directories and links which I could not figure out in the earlier session. Due to conflict of time to attend the third session of AILA, I could not attend it. 

  1. Preparing I-129 petitions for Nonimmigrant Workers

This session was very helpful in terms of the presentation made. The panelists went through every sections of the I-129 in a very descriptive manner. They also answered to some of the questions put forth by the participants regarding different parts of the form. The only aspect lacking in this session was that, they did not describe details for the supplement forms. For me, as a newcomer in Immigration law, it was extremely helpful in terms of identifying red flags and cautions I have to keep track of. 

  1. Non-employment based Immigrant Visas

This session explained in brief about the non-employment based visas such as B-1, B-2, F-1, M-1, J-1, Q, K-1, K-3, K-4, V, S, U, and T VISAS. The session dealt with the 4 hypothesis provided in the handouts. 

  1. Athletes, Entertainers and Artists (Os & Ps)

This session was very interesting and resourceful. The panelists clearly differentiated between the extraordinary ability and general abilities through the examples they set forth. The examples included question such as if a Truck Driver carrying hazardous chemical from Canada to US possessed extraordinary capability or not? The other interesting issue raised was that If a cricketer was of extraordinary capability or not? Another interesting question was “If a reality show participant was of an extra-ordinary capability?” The session clearly distinguished 3 standards of O-1 category: (a) Science, Business, Mathematics; (b) Arts- High level of Achievement and (c) Motion Picture and Television. 

  1. AILA Indian Sub-continent Interest Group Meeting

This session was most interesting and problem focused session. The panelist was questioned about the mistreatment by different consuls abroad to the applicants. Examples such as application being torn in front of the applicant, forced requirement of signature to withdraw application and providing no reason for denial of visa were the primary concern of the session. The panelist from the government explained in details about every aspect and assured the South Asian Interest Group that appropriate action shall be initiated to minimize such unfortunate happenings! 

  1. Consequences of Criminal Conduct

The session started with tow different hypothesis. A Dominican sentenced for 4 days of community service on charges of crime of sale of marijuana, who leaves US and tries to return back and is eventually denied admission. Some case laws were provided to under NY law as to if the applicant can reenter or not? Another hypothesis was about a Pakistani national charged with improperly touching a 15 year old employee as endangering welfare of a minor under NJ law, who was placed in removal proceeding. The session explained how the removal proceeding was terminated with regards to some case laws. 

  1. Nuts and Bolts of PERM Application

This session dealt in details about PERM application, but did not go through the form physically. The importance of a worksheet/questionnaire was explained in this regard, the red flags such experience with the same employer, foreign language and alternative minimum requirements were also explained. Wage issues of OES, Affidavit, supporting documents, I-140, early registration benefits were explained too. The mandatory requirement of an employer themselves filing a PERM application was repeatedly mentioned! Pre and post cautions of PERM registration and confirmation or failure to register were briefly explained.  

  1. PERM Strategies

This is one of the best sessions I have attended so far! The 3 years bachelor’s degree problems, EB2 equivalency, EB3 and the common mistakes we make were explained. Five ad-hoc rules for EB2 and two for EB3 were explained.  

  1. Study break: Keeping F-1 and M-1 students in Status

This session explained about keeping students in status in general. The SEVIS, M-1, F-1, J-1, transfer, travel, work options, on-campus employment, severe economic hardship, special student relief program, CPT, OPT and reinstatement of out-of-status was briefly explained. 

  1. L-1B-What’s so special about you?

L-1B worker was explained as “a worker with special knowledge of the petitioning company’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in the international market OR an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organizations processes and procedures”.  The advantages, limitations, kinds of specialized knowledge, off-site placements were also explained. 

  1. PERM workshop

The PERM workshop, as its name reflects was very handy session for beginners like me. The session started with hypos and dealt every aspect of the PERM application. Though lengthy, it was very fruitful in terms of cautions one has to take while filing out the PERM application. 

Handouts were not distributed. AILA has provided us with books on Immigration Law and we received lots of freebies from the exhibitors! 

SAN AntonioThe city was beautiful and the famous RiverWalk was awesome. The food was simply great and the people friendly. The weather was the only issue for us. Alamo, River Center Mall, Tower of the Americas and the rich cultural display of International Cultural Dance Festival were great experience.