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Events

The American Heritage Awards is our annual gala where we celebrate the talents, contributions, and accomplishments of notable immigrants and their advocates. The gala is held during the American Immigration Lawyers Association's annual conference.

The American Immigration Council’s Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards is DC’s only annual event celebrating the remarkable accomplishments of immigrants and their advocates from around the country at an inspiring and thought-provoking awards ceremony. More than 300 immigrant attorneys, activists, advocates, members of Congress, Hill staff, administration and supporters of sensible, fair and smart immigration come together to celebrate the recipients of our Immigrant Achievement Award, Stephen K. Fischel Distinguished Public Service Award and Immigrant Youth Achievement Award.

We look forward to seeing you at our next event in 2017!

Tony Cook Memorial Golf Tournament

Every year the Council hosts a golf tournament at varying locations around the country in honor of Tony Cook. This tournament provides a great opportunity to relax, network, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The tournament is open to everyone, whether you’re a scratch golfer or haven’t hit the links in months. 

Each year, the American Immigration Council honors the remarkable accomplishments of immigrants and their advocates from around the country at our inspiring and thought-provoking award events.

Our distinguished honorees have come from politics, music, television, sports, education and many other professional fields. View a full list of many of the outstanding individuals and organizations we have honored over the years.

Contests

Congratulations to the 2016 AILA Super Chapters. You rocked it and stepped up to the challenge with 25% or more of your membership donating to the Council.

A heartfelt thank you to the AILA Super Chapter members, Chapter Chairs and Ambassadors. Your support allows us to continue fighting for fair immigration policies and achieve justice for immigrants.

The 2016 AILA Super Chapters are:

  • Carolinas
  • Chicago
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Minnesota/Dakotas
  • New England
  • New York
  • Wisconsin

Each Super Chapter will be recognized at our annual gala the American Heritage Awards and win a free Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook!

It is never too late to start preparing for the 2017 competition-keep in mind all donations made to the Council by Chapters members in that calendar year count towards the competition.

For questions or information, please contact Claudia Ornelas.  

The Celebrate America Creative Writing Contest challenges fifth graders across the country to reflect on and write about the theme “Why I Am Glad America Is a Nation of Immigrants.” The contest begins at the local level, with regional contests run by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) chapters. Each chapter sends its first place winning entry to the American Immigration Council for the national contest. The national winner reads his or her winning entry at the American Immigration Council’s American Heritage Awards in June.

Learn more about the contest.

 

Ambassadors are essential in maintaining a strong relationship with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) community and expanding the American Immigration Council’s reach among the diverse Chapters. Made up of AILA members from each Chapter, Ambassadors engage and inform their colleagues and their local community about the mission of the Council by:

  • Educating fellow members about the resources the Council has to offer in order to develop their practice;
  • Informing the Council of current immigration issues and news that are important within their AILA Chapter and community; and
  • Fostering new and creative ways for the Council and the AILA community to work together.

Through the American Immigration Council’s “Ambassador of the Year” award, we recognize Council Ambassadors who have gone above and beyond and have demonstrated extraordinary dedication, involvement and initiative to enhancing the partnership between their AILA Chapter and the American Immigration Council, AILA’s non-profit partner.

The “Ambassador of the Year” will receive:

  • Special recognition from the Council’s and AILA’s Executive Directors to the entire AILA community
  • One complimentary registration to AILA’s Annual Conference
  • One ticket to the Council’s American Heritage Awards taking place during AILA’s Annual Conference and a reserved seat at a VIP table
  • Special recognition at the American Heritage Awards

How to Nominate Your Candidate for the Council’s “Ambassador of the Year” Award:

  1. Fill out this form to nominate an Ambassador by February 28.
  2. Please submit the form to Nayeli Pelayo.

For questions or additional information, please contact Nayeli Pelayo. A list of all Chapter Ambassador is available here

Each year the American Immigration Council recognizes a young immigrant whose accomplishments are the embodiment of the immigrant spirit and show evidence of a commitment to making a positive impact in his or her community or the world around them.

We will launch the next contest in the winter 2017.

For Attorneys

To enhance communication between the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Chapters and the American Immigration Council, the Council created the Ambassador Program. Made up of AILA members from each Chapter, these Ambassadors help the Immigration Council share information, promote its events, distribute their research, and take the lead on community relation projects, among other tasks.

Alabama/Georgia

Zainab Alwan

zainab (at) solanofirm.com

Arizona

Fae Sowders

fsowders (at) sowderslaw.com

Bangkok District

Jeremy Weber

jwlawbkk (at) gmail.com

Canada

Eric Fleischmann

Ellen Kief

ericf (at) lkwvisa.com

ekief (at) kieflaw.com

Carolinas

Jorgelina Araneda

Laura Burton 

info (at) aranedalaw.com

laura.Burton (at) smithmoorelaw.com

Central Florida

Michael Mendez    

Courtney Rineer 

mmendez (at) colombohurd.com

crineer (at) gmail.com

Chicago

Ana Valenzuela

Jenny Ansay

avalenzuela (at) heartlandalliance.org

jenny.ansay (at) nijfon.org

Colorado

Katie Speer

kspeer (at) accimm.com

Connecticut

Norine Krasnogor

norine (at) krasnogor.com

Hawaii

Maile Hirota

maile.hirota (at) gmail.com

Idaho

Kate Evans

katee (at) uidaho.edu

Indiana

Lacy Panyard

lacy.panyard (at) gmail.com

Iowa/Nebraska

Roxana Cortes

Jessica Feinstein

roxana (at) jfon-ne.org

jessica.feinstein (at) jacksonlewis.com

Latin America and Caribbean

Xiomara Hernandez

xhernandez (at) xmhlaw.com

Michigan

Rami Fakhoury

rami (at) employmentimmigration.com

Mid-South

Ari Sauer

asauer (at) visalaw.com

Minnesota/Dakotas

Mai Neng Moua

mai (at) mnmoualaw.com

Missouri/Kansas

Kenneth Schmitt

kschmitt (at) us-legalsolutions.com

Nevada

Sylvia L. Esparza

sylviae (at) lv.rmci.net

New England

VacantVacant

New Jersey

Alan J. Pollack

apollack (at) njimmigration.net

New York

Yael Mizrahi

ymizrahi (at) fragomen.com

Northern California

David Palmer

david (at) jspvisa.com

Ohio

Karen D. Bradley

karen (at) karenlaw.com

Oregon

Nicole Nelson

nicole (at) visaoregon.com

Philadelphia

Katelyn M. Hufe

katelyn (at) gthpc.com

Pittsburgh

vacant

vacant

Puetro Rico

vacant

vacant

Rome District

vacant

vacant

San Diego

Diana Vellos Coker

diana (at) larrabee.com

Santa Clara

Mike Mehr

mmehr51 (at) gmail.com

Southern California

John Manley

jmanleylaw (at) gmail.com

South Florida

Angelina Castro

acastro.Esq (at) gmail.com

Texas

Rick Gump

rick (at) rickgump.com

Upstate New York

vacant

vacant

Utah

vacant

vacant

Washington State

Keaton H. Whitten

keaton (at) khwimmigration.com

Washington, D.C.

Brenda Oliver

Sonal Verma

boliver (at) Fragomen.com

sverma (at) nankin.com

Wisconsin

Jennifer Nissen

jnissen (at) hmrvisa.com

The American Immigration Council regularly partners with private firms and nonprofit organization on our litigation.  Please contact us to explore potential opportunities to collaborate.

The problem.

Access to legal counsel is a core American value and is the cornerstone of our justice system. But America has a deportation system that lacks fairness and basic due process, and every day the enforcement dragnet is widening. It detains immigrants in remote locations, limits their access to information and legal services, and yet expedites their deportation. At the same time, more than 80 percent of detained immigrants are unrepresented by counsel, and only about one-third of immigration attorneys practice deportation defense.

Our solution.

The Immigration Justice Campaign – a joint initiative between the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association – seeks to change the playing field by preparing lawyers to be cutting-edge defenders of and advocates for immigrants facing deportation. There are thousands of attorneys across the country, both inside and outside the immigration bar, who are looking for opportunities to be part of this effort. We need volunteers from all fields.

In collaboration with partners, the Immigration Justice Campaign will give lawyers access to new strategies designed to promote zealous deportation defense, expand our networks and build new capacity. We will train, mentor and engage more of the legal community – and in the process, recruit new allies to our effort to reform the system.

What we will do.

  • Train Lawyers to Use Aggressive Legal Tactics:

We will train attorneys to aggressively defend immigrants facing removal, upending many traditional practices in order to use every available tool to protect individual rights and challenge the growing deportation machinery.

  • Increase Capacity to Provide Removal Defense:

By creating innovative mentorship programs, training lawyers of all experience levels, and recruiting more attorneys to this work, we will strengthen a national network that can represent individuals throughout the removal process.

  • Coordinate Advocacy and Litigation:

We will amplify the impact of individual representation and the influence of our work by collecting data and stories, identifying trends, engaging in communications work, and coordinating with our partners to do advocacy and litigation nationally.

  • Build a Movement:

Representation can be a transformative act that leads to a deeper commitment to the broader movement. We will connect attorneys and others mobilized by the hateful rhetoric around immigration and harsh enforcement practices to immigration reform fights, building power to affect real change.

Building New Partnerships.

We will collaborate with many partners, including immigrant rights organizations, law firms, law school clinics, and bar associations to accomplish the work of the Justice Campaign.  Some of our partners include:

  • The American Immigrant Representation Project: AIRP is a newly created initiative to recruit and harness the power of large law firms for the important work of pro bono removal defense for detained immigrants, especially those with criminal convictions.

  • The Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative: Led by Southern Poverty Law Center, SIFI provides pro bono legal representation to immigrants detained in the southeastern United States. It will begin at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, in collaboration with AILA, the Council, AIRP and the Innovation Law Lab.

  • The Stand with Immigrants Campaign: SWI is a large-scale mobilization effort to activate lawyers and other professionals to protect and promote the rights of immigrants. It is a collaboration of AILA, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc, National Council of La Raza, Immigration Advocates Network, Pro Bono Net, and the Advocates for Human Rights.

What can I do to help?

If you are new to removal defense and want to get trained; if you want to volunteer to represent detained immigrants; or if you are an expert in removal defense or federal court litigation and want to mentor – then join our community of committed, fearless lawyers ready to stand as the last line of defense against deportation. Tell us who you are and what you want to do, and we’ll share updates, training, and more information. Go to www.ImmigrationJustice.us.

Contact Karen Lucas at klucas@immcouncil.org with additional questions about the Immigration Justice Campaign or to learn more about getting involved.

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