Author: Anastasia Tonello

Tearing Down the Wall and Building Bridges

This blog post is adapted from the president’s installation speech given by Anastasia Tonello, June 14, 2018 in San Francisco; she shares her message to AILA members and goals for her presidential year.

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Defending the Practice of Immigration Law in an Age of Falsehoods

In his October 12th remarks to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), Attorney General Jeff Sessions lamented the fact that those with a credible claim for asylum have in recent years more frequently exercised the rights and protections provided to them under the Immigration and Nationality Act.  He praised a Congress that “rationally passed legislation designed to create an efficient and fair procedure to properly admit persons and expedite the removal of aliens who enter the United States illegally,” while at the same time charging “smart attorneys” with exploiting “loopholes” in these rational, efficient, and fair laws. AG...

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Extraordinary Strength in Numbers: AILA Launches New Interest Group for ACES

AILA members – if you have an “ace” of a client, you have a new tool in your toolbox:  the ACES Interest Group. Previously a national committee focused on identifying trends in O, P, EB-1 and EB-2 adjudications, “ACES” has been relaunched as an interest group that any AILA member with clients seeking benefits based on their work in the entertainment, motion picture, television, sports, cultural or scientific industries can join. That’s right – if you haven’t guessed yet, ACES stands for athletics, culture, entertainment, and sciences. Though of course, ACES is so much more than that. What does...

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Wasting Money, One Interview at a Time

On August 28, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of October 1, 2017, employment-based adjustment of status applicants will be required to attend in-person interviews.  The notice references Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and states in-person interviews are “a part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.” The EO claims to keep America safe by requiring DHS to rigorously evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or denial of immigration benefits. That rhetoric...

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U.S. Immigration Law is Simultaneously Inscrutable, Strict, and Arbitrary

Welcome to a complex world. A world in which the President of the United States has to intervene to allow in a group of girls from Afghanistan seeking to participate in an international robotics competition. A world in which two French kids  were detained  and returned to France, unaware of the fact that a tourist visa was not the proper visa to come to the U.S. to learn about organic farming. A world in which a Holocaust historian was detained for hours at an airport without access to an attorney. A world in which an Administration focused on job...

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