Message from the Chair
I am privileged to enter my second term as Chair of the Immigration Law Section. Since my first term in 2011-2012, we have more than doubled in membership. That is mainly a tribute to the energy and hard work of my successors—Ray Fasano, Judge Robin Feder, and Eileen Scofield. Each of them brought something special to the Section. Also contributing to the Section’s success has been our superb Board of Governors, some of the most distinguished attorneys and Immigration Judges in the country.
But there is always room for improvement. Our Board has been expanding rapidly along with the Section, and now totals 55. This number is simply unwieldy. Our conference calls have become chaotic, and it was often impossible to know who was speaking (or trying to speak). It is simply not efficient, and must be reduced in size.
The fact is that many of the Board members were not really interested in the minutia of budget, minutes, elections, and other internal Section matters; their interest was mainly in substantive immigration law and speaking at CLEs. However, being on the Board was effectively the only way in which they could fully participate in planning and presenting at our conferences.
My solution is to amend the Bylaws to limit the Board to no more than 24 (including the officers), with 12 members elected by judicial circuit, 3 elected at large, and a few appointed by the sitting Chair to help execute his/her plans and goals. So, the majority of the Board would be elected, either as officers for a one-year term, or as Board members for 3 years. This would give the Board continuity and stability, rather than be entirely dependent on the whims of the current Chair. This is, of course, subject to discussion and debate within the Board, as amendments to the Bylaws requires a 75% vote.
For the balance of our 2015-2016 Board, as well as other members who wish to become more active within the Section, I propose the creation of a new body, the Advisory Council, to serve as a pool of interested and active members to help plan and speak at the annual conference as well as regional CLEs. Other than receiving a lot of email, there are no particular duties or responsibilities for serving on the Advisory Council. Members may be as active as they wish.
If you would like to join the Advisory Council, just send me an email. Let me know in what areas of law you have expertise, whether you would like to speak at the annual conference, or would like to help organize regional conferences, such as the fine efforts we currently have in Chicago, DC, New York, and El Paso. I can’t guarantee that you will be selected to speak (we are rather selective, especially for the annual conference), but we will consider your assistance where it will do the most good.
We are also working on an expanded committee structure. It will not be necessary to be a member of the Board in order to participate on committees. The committee chairs will be announced on the Section’s website, as soon as they are appointed and confirmed by the Board.
Our next annual conference is scheduled for Denver, May 12-13, 2017. Make your plans now—I hope to make this one of the best. More information will be forthcoming soon as to details, special hotel rates, etc.
2016-2017 should be a great year for the Immigration Law Section. I hope that it will also be a great year for each of you, both personally and professionally.