Sunday, September 1, 2013
Thoughts on AILA - Regretably, Not the Beachwear
Some time ago, Madam wrote a very brief polemic on the subject of immigration attorneys. Today, for the benefit of some who were still living out there in the real world when the piece first wandered into the blogosphere, and who might be even slightly impressed or intimidated by folks who will write a single letter in six different fonts, and wear mid-priced suits that were actually altered to fit in America, she will take a moment to include here a slightly longer version that she hopes makes the same point:
With apologies to the half-dozen highly competent immigration attorneys that Madam knows -- what the heck is with the rest of them? Is there no test of competency or even basic knowledge before an 'immigration attorney' can hang a shingle?
At AILA conventions one can only be stunned by the incredibly clueless questions some attorneys ask, and the information they offer (or, to put it more vernacularly, the nonsense they try to sell. Loudly.). In panel presentations, it is not uncommon that many audience members are so ignorant of the law and so instantly hostile toward US consular representatives on the panel that their fellow attorneys have to shush them and drag them back into their seats.
Back in the office, one of these alleged attorneys might send a letter - in the various fonts alluded to above - that expresses high and mighty indignation about a case that hasn't been going his/her way and which - since the attorney can't be bothered to find relevant legal decisions (or since such decisions don't exist) quotes - at length - decisions that actually have no bearing on the case.
Those same - or other - letters might also and frequently quote - at length - from interviews that the attorney did not attend, punctuated by not-so-subtle insults and implications of consular incompetence.
Mes enfants, do not let them intimidate you.
Tales from within AILA's ranks has entertained and delighted Madam for a few years now - AILA spending nearly a million dollars a year to hire lobbyists to push or oppose certain state-level bills without polling the membership to determine what the majority believes their position should be; AILA attorneys desperately seeking from one another advice on how to present fraudulent applications so they will fool consular officers; AILA itself presenting only one candidate for its internal offices; AILA apparently holding board of governors' meetings - supposedly open to all members - in exotic places to which most members cannot afford to travel; AILA banning certain mouthy members who complain about the above activities from the group's internal message board - fun business, and, Madam hopes, sufficiently indicative of AILA's apparent skill and professionalism that consular officers will be able to successfully resist the temptation to feel in any way intimidated, troubled, or impressed when attorneys' letters and visits loom.
Read, listen, and think for yourself. Good job.