According to its website, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA): is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
Oh, My! In October 2021, I commented on a question I saw on AILA’s ListServe for the Washington, D.C. area. I said I was appalled that Applicants for Permanent Legal Residence had to be vaxxed while tens of thousands of illegal aliens were pouring across the borders, unvaxxed and likely bearing covid.
Here are some responses to my statement:
Ava Benach: … I cannot understand how anyone practicing immigration law can call people “illegals” and make such an idiotic remark as if people at the border are not subject to grounds of inadmissibility. I don’t know what your practice is like but I can tell that you barely tolerate a wide portion of immigrants and I hope that you retire or find a new line of work before too long.
Ana Zigel: Really Mr. Springman – you dare make this comment. I guess you get your “facts” from Fox News. This statement is outrageous and not becoming of an immigration lawyer. I agree with Ava – I think it’s time you find a new line of work.
To be sure, some sensible attorneys defended me and cited immigration law and U.S. Supreme Court decisions. And they made eminent sense.
However, … Afterwards, I found when I asked for help with two questions posed to me by clients, I got no real responses from the ListServe, except for Ava Benach’s post: I find that when I have tricky legal issues on immigration issues, I consult these books:
https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AJ.+Michael+Springmann&s=relevancerank&text=J.+Michael+Springmann&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_ (Link to my books on the sources of Islamic terrorism and the migrant wave rolling over Europe.)
A second post of the same questions got no results, not even from AILA’s management, to whom I had sent copies. The foregoing emails I received were examples of harassment, bullying, and incivility–all forbidden by AILA’s ethics code.
Backlisted? It is not unreasonable to assume that the various attacks on me may have been orchestrated by Ava Benach. Given Benach’s position at AILA, it would not be unreasonable to imagine that Ava has, in some way, gotten the organization to ensure that no one will respond to any of my questions on behalf of my clients. And my job as attorney is to promote and protect their interests.
Ava, shown above, displays claims on the firm’s website about receiving …the Edith B. Lowenstein Award for Excellence in Advancing the Practice of Immigration Law by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)… Ava currently serves on the Amicus Committee of the AILA helping to set nationwide litigation strategy for the organization…Ava served as Chair of the Litigation Committee and as Pro Bono Coordinator….
What’s Not Being Done. AILA appears to be more concerned with virtue signaling and refusing to enforce its ethics code. Moreover, the Association will not use its resources to sue the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for failing to do its job.
USCIS is delaying approval of simple applications. I have people who have been waiting two years for Adjustment of Status to Legal Permanent Resident. Without explanation. This used to be accomplished within six months from date of application. Others, asylum applicants with a credible objective and subjective fear of persecution, have been waiting for half a dozen years.
What’s AILA doing about this? Not a thing to the best of my knowledge. I even asked the ListServe about USCIS’ failure to do a background check on an Adjustment applicant—when that organization’s rentacop refused me admission with him to its Norfolk, Va. District Office. My Washington, D.C. driver’s license had expired—and could not possibly be renewed because of the virus. I received no response from the ListServe.
My View. AILA seems to be a very inbred, cliquish cult. It is also like every large organization in today’s America–dysfunctional. AILA ostensibly exists to make money from expensive membership dues and publications or other “advantages” of membership. It seems to be filled with time-serving hacks who hate the people their jobs require them to serve. This is often the result of overwork and underpay as well as boredom. (Cf. Why Nothing Works; Marvin Harris).
The first step towards a logical solution to the issue is to clean house, adding to America’s unemployment level. The second step is to provide real assistance and mentoring. (I well remember the last time I belonged to AILA and asked questions. The usual response was “Why are you requesting help? You should know the answer.”) The third step is for AILA to rigorously challenge USCIS for not fulfilling its mission—and not ask individual practitioners to sue for a court order commanding that the agency perform its duties—which costs the client a fortune in unreimbursable legal fees.
When I raised the foregoing problems with the Center for Immigration Studies, which bills itself as favoring low immigration while being pro-immigrant, the response was “Well, that’s AILA.”