“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
I extend a warm welcome to our many new members and greetings to all. Thanks to the efforts of Ray Fasano, past Section Chair, over the last several years, the Immigration Law Section has expanded its programming well beyond Memphis. This year, we have created opportunities for all of our members to participate in the Section's activities. In addition to our existing programming in Memphis, Washington, D.C. and Rome, you will now find opportunities in Boston, Chicago, El Paso and New York—with new initiatives and enough variety to entice anyone’s participation. If you would like to bring immigration programming to your state or city, let us know—we will partner with you to make that happen! Our Committees also offer educational, networking and leadership opportunities. I encourage all Section members, new and veteran alike, to participate on one or more.
This year, the Immigration Law Section is providing many opportunities to learn all across the country. "Look what a lot of things there are to learn."
In January, we sponsored the El Paso Chapter’s first Border Law Conference (January 30–31, 2015; Kristin Kimmelman, ILS Board member, Chair). The event was a smashing success, and will undoubtedly be repeated. This was a true FBA collaboration, in which the El Paso Chapter was supported by the FBA's Immigration Law, Federal Litigation, Criminal Law and International Law Sections, as well as the San Antonio and Tucson Chapters of the FBA. Congratulations to Kristin and her team.
In February, we partnered with the FBA’s Southern District of New York Chapter and presented an evening devoted to “Crimmigration" (February 18, 2015; Amy Gell, ILS Board member, Chair). Amy has more New York events in the works for this year. You will find the details on the ILS webpage, as the plans develop!
April brings a multitude of Section events, including our second Annual ILS Symposium at American University in Washington, DC, a full-day event (April 10, 2015; co-chaired by Mark Shmueli and Hon. Dorothy Harbeck, ILS Board members). This year, the Symposium consists of an in-depth focus on the intersection of criminal law, immigration law and detention. Several weeks later, we co-sponsor the Chicago Chapter’s Worksite Enforcement and Immigration Conference (April 28–29, 2015; Peggy McCormick, ILS Board member, and Marketa Lindt, Co-Chairs).
Our flagship ILS Annual Conference will once again be held in Memphis, Tennessee (May 14–16, 2015; Hon. Mimi Tsankov, Chair). The Memphis Conference, created, planned and chaired for many years by Barry Frager, ILS Board Member and Past Section Chair, will still retain Barry’s unmistakable and beloved imprint. Barry and his Committee put together this year’s compelling speaking program, which, as always, will cover a wide variety of hot topics and substantive law. This year, Barry opted for a self-contained program at the hotel, and included a happy hour for younger lawyers, who are participating in the Section and attending our conferences in increasing numbers. What will not change is the relatively small size of the event, ample opportunities to connect with speakers and colleagues, and the friendliness and hospitality of our hosts. For Section members, this is the place of our Section Annual Meeting--where you can learn more about the Section's business, meet the Section's leaders and fellow members, and get involved! The Conference will take place, by popular demand, during the Memphis in May International Barbecue Festival weekend. Since hotels fill quickly and there is limited space at the Conference, I encourage you to both register and make your hotel reservations as soon as possible! Conference registration information is available on the FBA website.
As with Memphis, all of our programs provide an opportunity to meet with your colleagues and to discuss the issues about which we are so passionate. Our various luncheon series, which we co-sponsor in DC, Chicago, and our newest addition of Boston, are great opportunities to learn with your colleagues in a relaxed setting. The upcoming lunch schedule includes:
March 3, 2015, Chicago Immigration Lunch Series: Karen Lundgren, Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, Speaker (Peggy McCormick, ILS board member, and Eileen Momblanco, Co-Chairs);
March 11, 2015, DC Leadership Luncheon Series: Kuyomars "Q" Golparvar, Chief, Immigration Law and Practice, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, Speaker (Prakash Khatri, ILS board member, Chair);
March 12, 2015, Boston Brown Bag Lunch Series: Representing Unaccompanied Minors in Immigration Court, Hon. Robin Feder and Hon. Brenda O'Malley, Speakers (Sara Ward, Esq. and Matthew Maiona, Esq., Co-Chairs);
April 8, 2015, DC Leadership Luncheon: Speaker TBD (Prakash Khatri, ILS board member, Chair);
April 21, 2015, Chicago Immigration Lunch Series: Going to Federal Court, Craig Oswald, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Justin Burton, Esq., Speakers (Peggy McCormick, ILS board member, and Eileen Momblanco, Co-Chairs).
In addition to our many learning and networking opportunities, we have undertaken several new initiatives this year. One of these is the Pro Bono Committee’s effort to increase the availability and effectiveness of pro bono representation in the immigration courts. The Committee (Kate Metcalf, Chair) is currently exploring a comprehensive study to better understand the current levels of legal representation in the immigration courts and the resources available to pro se litigants. The intents of the study are to bring to light underserved areas to target for outreach programs and to propose recommendations to bolster pro bono representation across the United States. If you are interested in participating or learning more about the Committee’s efforts, please let me know so that I can connect you with Kate.
Our Chapter and Section Liaison Committee (Mark Shmueli, Chair) is reaching out to FBA Chapters and is also the point of contact for Chapters looking for guidance or assistance in sponsoring immigration-related programming. This year alone, we have co-sponsored new and existing programming in Boston, Chicago, DC, El Paso and New York. The Chapter and Section Liaison Committee has also developed an application process for FBA Chapters and Sections in need of financial assistance for immigration programming. For the first time, the Section has earmarked funds for this purpose.
Our Law Student Division (Prof. Deborah Anker, Chair) mirrors the efforts of FBA National to involve law students in the Association. Law students’ first contact with the FBA might be with National or it might be with the ILS Law Student Division. We welcome all law students as members. In addition, we have our first ILS law student chapter at Harvard Law School (Prof. Deborah Anker, Chair). If you are interested in starting a law student chapter of the Immigration Law Section at your law school or alma mater, let me know so that I can connect you with Prof. Anker and her Committee. In the meantime, stay tuned as we develop this area of our membership.
Our Younger Lawyers Division, and our Diversity and Membership Committees, are chaired by Robin Trangsrud, Tina Goel and Derek Julius, respectively. These three dynamic Committee Chairs are collaborating because of the overlap they discovered in their efforts to reach out to the immigration law community. Robin, Tina and Derek, younger lawyers themselves (35 and under OR practicing 10 years or less), are collectively focused on recruiting and retaining a diverse group of younger lawyers, in addition to lawyers from the larger immigration bar. Younger lawyers, of course, are the future of our Section. Meeting their needs and interests is critical. The diversity we seek in our membership also merits special mention. Our bylaws require that the Section's officers represent at least three judicial circuits, but we hope to achieve diversity in the following areas, as well: public/private practice, pro bono/for profit/public interest, academic/government/private practice, and age/race/ethnicity/gender/SO. This talented trio is off to a great start. In less than 5 months, Section membership has increased by 13%. By way of comparison, the FBA goal at the National level is 3% growth per year. Of course, Section members who have encouraged others to join, and all of the programs organized and run by our Section, also deserve credit for the rapid expansion in our ranks.
This year, our Social Media Committee (Tara Lundstrom, Chair) has taken care to ensure that our programs are widely advertised and that we maintain a presence on social media, the FBA website, on which we have a dedicated Section webpage, and on Facebook. Please let me know If there is an event not listed on our calendar or one that needs wider exposure.
Our Bylaws Committee (Hon. Dorothy Harbeck, Chair) is tasked with reviewing and recommending changes to our bylaws which have been in place since 1997.
The Publications Committee (Larry Burman, Chair, Dr. Alicia Triche, Vice Chair) publishes our award-winning newsletter, the Green Card, and edits articles for publication in The Federal Lawyer. Dr. Triche is the current author of the the Section’s quarterly Immigration Update column in the Federal Lawyer and edits the Federal Lawyer issue devoted to immigration law. The Jan/Feb 2015 issue of the Federal Lawyer has Tara Lundstrom’s: “Lasting Lessons from the Border Surge: It’s Time We Fund an Immigration Court System,” and Dr. Triche’s Immigration update: “Detention, Judicial Review, and National Security.” Both are outstanding articles on the most timely issues. If you have an idea for a column for either the Green Card or the Federal Lawyer, or if you have any questions about how to proceed, feel free to reach out to Dr. Triche
If you are not yet involved in one or more Committees, please join us. There is much to do to make our growing Section even stronger and more vibrant. As always, I welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. Feel free to write to me or any Section officer at any time. Our addresses are on our webpage. You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. I look forward to hearing from you.
Robin E. Feder
Immigration Law Section